Published: Feb 7th, 2012
Publisher: New American Library
Source: For review
In this stunning debut set in the summer of 1944 in Tuscany, Giovanna Bellini, the daughter of a wealthy aristocrat and vineyard owner, has just turned seventeen and is on the cusp of adulthood. War bears down on her peaceful little village after the Italians sign a separate peace with the Allies-transforming the Germans into an occupying army.
But when her brother joins the Resistance, he asks Giovanna to hide a badly wounded fighter who is Jewish. As she nurses him back to health, she falls helplessly in love with the brave and humble Marco, who comes from as ancient and noble an Italian family as she does.
There was just something in her voice that pulled me in and kept me interested, all while I had my heart in my throat. Because even if this was somewhat lighter, and dealing with the war from another point, it was still a time where she and the ones she loved could die at any moment. And I was scared.
I liked Giovanna's innocent because it was believable. She lived in a sheltered world, her mother was an aristocrat,and her father had worked his way to the top. She was rich, and perhaps a bit spoiled. The war had not really come to their door, she did not know about the horrible things going on. And there is where we meet her, the Germans come to town, and they are sure handsome in their uniforms. Which led me to my first oh no! moment. Which I shall not talk about any longer. But the war slowly comes into her life. Her brother fights with the resistance, and she learns, and she wants to help. To help takes courage in a time where anything can kill you. Especially when her brother asks her to hide a wounded fighter who is Jewish. Another thing that got me worried since I knew what would happen if anyone found him or her.
There is a light over this book that never makes it too violent. Everyone experiences war in different ways, depending on where you are and what you are. I liked the story here from Giovanna's point of view, because it was another POV from what I am used too. There is also romance in the book and a young's woman's struggle to grow up, and get out from under her parents' thumb.
I really liked this book. Romance, war and life. I'd like to read more books by her, and as it seems to be her first fiction book I hope she writes more.