Plot summary

Tally’s Blood is set in Italy and Scotland between 1936 and 1955. Events take place before, during and after World War Two. The story centres on the Pedreschi family who run a café in Glasgow.

Rosinella and Massimo become guardians to their niece, Lucia, after her mother dies.

As Lucia grows up, Massimo gives Hughie Devlin a job in the café and encourages him to help Lucia with her English. Their early dislike for each other changes to friendship.

Massimo’s brother Franco is in a relationship with Bridget Devlin. Rosinella disapproves and tries to drive them apart.

When World War Two breaks out, Franco joins the British army. Bridget discovers she is pregnant with his child. She believes Rosinella when she suggests that Franco does not love her and decides to have an abortion.

Italy declares war with Britain. The Pedreschis’ shop is attacked and Massimo is arrested as an enemy alien. His father dies when the ship transporting him is torpedoed. Franco too dies in the war. At the end of Act One, Massimo is released and the Pedreschis are reunited.

Act Two takes place in 1955. Hughie has fallen in love with Lucia, but he struggles to tell her. Rosinella attempts to keep Hughie and Lucia apart.

Lucia is called back to Italy to live with her father, Luigi. Bridget confronts Rosinella about keeping Hughie and Lucia apart. She blames Rosinella for her abortion. Rosinella and Massimo argue, and he accuses her of selfish behaviour. She is comforted by Hughie and apologises to him.

To save Lucia from an arranged marriage, Rosinella takes Hughie to Italy and helps them to elope together. She and Massimo are reunited in love.