Montefiore, Santa 1970-
Montefiore, Santa 1970-
Born February 2, 1970, in England; daughter of Charles (a farmer and former ski instructor) and Patricia Palmer-Tomkinson; married Simon Sebag Montefiore (a writer and historian); children: Lily and Sasha. Education: Attended Exeter University.
Home—London, England. E-mail—[email protected]
Writer. Taught English for a year on an Argentine estancia.
Ribble Valley Ladies' Luncheon Club (president, c. 2006); White Rose Ladies' Club (president, c. 2006).
Meet Me under the Ombu Tree, Hodder & Stoughton (London, England), 2001.
The Butterfly Box, Hodder & Stoughton (London, England), 2002.
The Forget-Me-Not Sonata, Hodder & Stoughton (London, England), 2003.
The Swallow and the Hummingbird, Hodder & Stoughton (London, England), 2004.
Last Voyage of the Valentina, Touchstone Books (New York, NY), 2006.
The Gypsy Madonna, Touchstone Books (New York, NY), 2007.
Sea of Lost Love, Hodder & Stoughton (London, England), 2007.
Contributor to anthologies, including Ladies' Night, edited by Jessica Adams.
Santa Montefiore is a well-known novelist in England who says she writes "page turners about love and romance," according to a quote in the Europe Intelligence Wire. Many of her books are set in Argentina, where the author once worked for year. For example, in her first novel, Meet Me under the Ombu Tree, Montefiore tells the story of Sofia Solanas, who grows up on a well-to-do ranch in Argentina and embarks on a love affair that shames her family, resulting in her exile to Europe and separation from her lover for two decades until she returns home to Argentina. The Butterfly Box tells the story of Federica Campione, who is separated from her beloved father when her parents' marriage falls apart. As a result of the separation, she eventually seeks the comfort she once knew with her father by falling for the suave Torquil Jensen, which leads to a less-than-perfect marriage. In The Forget-Me-Not Sonata, the story once again takes place in Argentina and in Dorset, England, as the author follows the life of Audrey Garnet over two generations. Audrey marries an Englishman who comes to Argentina seeking his fortune, but she is really in love with the man's partner.
The Swallow and the Hummingbird tells the tale of George Bolton, who returns to England in 1945 following World War II. Intending to marry his childhood sweetheart, Rita Fairweather, Bolton is restless and emotionally scarred and cannot commit. As a result, he decides to go to the family ranch in Argentina for a year, promising to return and marry Rita. However, Bolton meets and falls in love with Susan, a physically scarred woman. Lizzie Guilfoyle, writing on the IndieLondon Web site, commented: "The Swallow and the Hummingbird is beautifully written and, in an uncomplicated and wonderfully descriptive text, captures the essence of two completely contrasting worlds." Guilfoyle also referred to the novel as "the sort of book that's hard to put down."
Montefiore presents an historical romance combined with a modern story in her book Last Voyage of the Valentina. The story revolves around Alba Arbuckle, a twenty-six-year-old woman whose Italian mother, Valentina, died while giving birth to Alba. Although brought up by her English father, Alba decides to investigate her mother's heritage in hopes of establishing more stability in her life, which has been marked by promiscuity and a lack of purpose. A visit to the village where her mother grew up leads to Alba uncovering the secret of her mother's death and establishing her true identity. The parallel story focuses on Alba's father, Thomas, as he recalls his meeting and falling in love with Valentina during World War II. A Kirkus Reviews contributor called Last Voyage of the Valentina an "old-fashioned, sentimental melodrama, written with finesse and page-turning energy." Emily Melton, writing in Booklist, called the story "a sweeping saga of wartime romance, family secrets, lost loves, and murder."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, April 1, 2006, Emily Melton, review of Last Voyage of the Valentina, p. 19.
Europe Intelligence Wire, February 17, 2006, "Well-Connected Writer Is Club's President"; March 8, 2006, "Top Celebrity Author Named New President"; April 28, 2006, "The Many Gifts of a Lady Named Santa."
Independent (London, England), February 7, 2005, "The World According To … Santa Montefiore."
Kirkus Reviews, May 1, 2006, review of Last Voyage of the Valentina, p. 433.
Library Journal, April 15, 2006, Laurie A. Cavanaugh, review of Last Voyage of the Valentina, p. 67.
Pubishers Weekly, April 17, 2006, review of Last Voyage of the Valentina, p. 167.
Fantastic Fiction,http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/ (November 26, 2006), brief profile of author.
IndieLondon,http://www.indielondon.co.uk/ (November 26, 2006), Lizzie Guilfoyle, review of The Swallow and the Hummingbird.
Santa Montefiore Home Page,http://www.santamontefiore.co.uk (November 26, 2006).*