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Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Spaghetti Bolognese | The Silent Fountain

Spaghetti Bolognese | The Silent Fountain
Spaghetti Bolognese | The Silent Fountain
Welcome to the TLC Book Tours stop for The Silent Fountain, the latest novel by author Victoria Fox. Chapter by chapter, The Silent Fountain ebbs and flows over a period of four decades, introducing the reader gradually to its two main characters, Vivien and Lucy. Both women experienced life-altering events growing up, and both find themselves in a less than ideal situations at some point in their young adult life.

Death, tragedy, abuse, addiction, and mental illness are all woven into the tapestry of this novel with a Gothic well as a reminder that escape and the promise of new adventure can, at times, have something more sinister lurking underneath.

Life has been non-stop this year, making it harder for me to carve out "me time" (aka reading time), but I did find that once I picked this one up, I didn't want to put it down. Depth, intrigue, and a plot that, while giving clues and glimpses at its outcome, didn't reveal itself too early.
Spaghetti Bolognese | The Silent Fountain
I became invested in the the lives of Vivien and Lucy, the actions and events that led them to being the women they were in 2016, as well as the haunted Italian Castillo, surrounded by fragrant lemon groves, that they both found themselves living in. As a  matter of fact, the story even made me cry at the very end. This is a new-to-me author, but I'm really looking forward to checking out more of Victoria Fox's work now.

With an eye towards the kitchen, there was all sorts of inspiration to be pulled from the pages (a good part of the novel does take place in Tuscany...and isn't that inspiration enough?). But there were two things that seemed to jump out at me above all else—Limoncello and Bolognese.

Since Castillo Barbarossa was the source of all the lemons in town, it also yields a fine Limoncello, which is mentioned several times throughout. But since I've shared how to make Limoncello before, I decided to go with another thing mentioned a couple of times, Sauce Bolognese.
Spaghetti Bolognese | The Silent Fountain
Bolognese was mentioned once early on, during Vivien's first official visit to her not-yet-husband's house to dine with his sister, and again very near the end of the book. Oddly enough, although both moments were pretty to Vivien, one to Lucy...neither Bolognese moment took place in Italy (one was in Hollywood, the other in London). But the Italian roots run deep in this story, and when you combine all of those things, the Bolognese felt like the perfect representation of The Silent Fountain.

I picked up Natasha's plate of pasta and emptied it over James's head. Tendrils of spaghetti dripped down the sides of his face, brown meat in his hair and an audible squelch as a pat of it landed in his YSL-suited lap.

The Silent Fountain by Victoria Fox

The Silent Fountain

author: Victoria Fox
publisher: MIRA (October 31, 2017)
genre: Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Gothic
paperback: 400 pages

"foodie" read: No, but a good amount of inspiration in the pages - we're back in Tuscany! (I seem to read a lot of novels set in Tuscany..or at least Italy.)

opening sentence: It was always the same dream, and every time she saw it coming.

teaser: Hollywood, 1978

Tragedy sends troubled film star Vivien Lockhart into the arms of Giovanni Moretti—and it seems her fortunes have finally changed. Until she meets his sister and learns that her new husband’s past holds dark secrets…

Tuscany, Present day

Lucy Whittaker needs to disappear. But her new home, the crumbling Castillo Barbarossa, is far from the secluded paradise it seemed. Strange sounds come from the attic. The owner of the house will never meet her in person.

The fountain in the courtyard is silent—but has never run dry.

Across the decades, Vivien and Lucy find themselves trapped in the idyllic Italian villa.

And if they are ever to truly escape its walls, they must first unearth its secrets…

about the author: Victoria Fox is a bestselling author in the UK. She used to work in publishing and is now the author of six novels. The Silent Fountain is her breakout novel in North America. She divides her time between Bristol and London.
author Victoria Fox

connect with the author: facebook | twitter

recipe inspired by the book: Spaghetti Bolognese


I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Yield: serves 8 (~1 quart sauce)
Spaghetti Bolognese recipe

Spaghetti Bolognese

prep time: 15 MINScook time: 3 hour and 15 MINStotal time: 3 hours and 30 mins
A slow-cooked meat-based pasta sauce recipe.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 ounces (6 tablespoons) salted butter, divided
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 large stalks celery,chopped
  • 2-3 medium-large carrots,chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 pound ground beef 85/15
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • kosher or sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 1/2 cups dry white wine
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 (28 ounce) can whole plum tomatoes
To serve:
  • 1 pound uncooked spaghetti
  • freshly grated Parmesan
  • chopped fresh parsley, basil, oregano (one or a mix)


  1. Put the olive oil and 2 ounces (4 tablespoons) of the butter in a large pot set over medium heat. When hot, add the onion; cook and stir until the onion has become translucent, 2-3 minutes. Add celery, carrot, garlic, and bay leaves; cook for ~2 minutes, stirring vegetables to coat.
  2. Add ground meats, a large pinch each of salt and pepper. Stir and crumble meat with a fork or spoon until no longer raw, ~5 minutes.
  3. Add the milk and let it simmer gently, stirring often, until it has mostly evaporated. Add wine and nutmeg; let it simmer until mostly evaporated again, then add the tomatoes, squishing them between your fingers as you add them, and any juices; stir until all ingredients are well combined. (If neither seem to be evaporating after 5 minutes of vigorous bubbling, go ahead and move on to next step. It'll eventually evaporate during the 3 hour cooking process.)
  4. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a gentle simmer and cook, uncovered for at least 3 hours, stirring occasionally. If the sauce looks like it's getting too dry during the cooking process, add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water, as needed to keep it saucy enough (mine is usually fine until the very end, then I stir in a enough pasta cooking water to make it loose, but still thick). Discard bay leaves. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Cook the pasta until al dente, then drain and toss with sauce and remaining 2 tablespoons of butter immediately. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and herbs.
Created using The Recipes Generator

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