WWII romances are so my thing, but this book was so much more than just another romance. It’s story about family, loss, children, and life choices. It’s not very often that I find a book set during WWII that is set in some place other than England or France but this was that unique and rare occasion.
In 1944, British bomber pilot Hugo Langley parachuted from his stricken plane into the verdant fields of German-occupied Tuscany. Badly wounded, he found refuge in a ruined monastery and in the arms of Sofia Bartoli. But the love that kindled between them was shaken by an irreversible betrayal.
Nearly thirty years later, Hugo’s estranged daughter, Joanna, has returned home to the English countryside to arrange her father’s funeral. Among his personal effects is an unopened letter addressed to Sofia. In it is a startling revelation.
Still dealing with the emotional wounds of her own personal trauma, Joanna embarks on a healing journey to Tuscany to understand her father’s history—and maybe come to understand herself as well. Joanna soon discovers that some would prefer the past be left undisturbed, but she has come too far to let go of her father’s secrets now (summary from Goodreads).
Rhys Bowen is an experienced author with a couple of impressive mystery series under her belt. I have been lucky enough to read a few of the Molly Murphy mysteries in the past and have grown to love her prose and abilities. Recently Bowen has started writing some stand alone novels set in WWII, I read her first one In Farleigh Field a few months ago and while it had a few technical flaws, I liked that she was trying to make a stand alone book for fans of the historical era.
This book sounded similar the In Farleigh Field novel, but different enough to grab my attention and read it. I loved the the novel was set some place other than England or France and I think that the freshness of the location added a lot to the narrative. I loved her descriptions of the locations and landscape. I loved how much of the story took place in the Italian countryside. I haven’t been to Italy but the way that Bowen describes the countryside was exactly how I would imagine it in my mind. I want to visit there even more so than I did before reading this novel. I could almost feel the sun on my skin and all the glorious Italian food mentioned.
Another thing that stood out to me was the intricate plot. I wouldn’t say that it was overly complex or twisted, but delicately intricate. I never felt rushed in the plot nor did I feel that it was too drawn out. I loved how the ‘modern’ (1970s) side of the plot fit right into the ‘historical’ (1940s) part of the plot. The relationship between Hugo and his daughter (or lack there of) was dynamic and made the plot more interesting and so much more than just another ‘war romance’. I thought that it added depth and value to the characters. The romance, setting and intertwining past/present stories made the book so moody and a pleasure to read and it hit me in the all the feels.
While this book had a lot of romance and romantic elements, I thought it had more than just love and a boy meets girl plot. It had family secrets, a great location with vivid descriptions, likable characters, history, and of course love. It had a so much to like and I think readers looking for something to escape into that isn’t frivolous or over done will find a lot t enjoy with this book.
Kindle Edition, 329 pagesExpected publication: February 20th 2018 by Lake Union Publishing
- Review copy provided by: Author/Publisher in exchange for an honest review.
This book counts toward: NA
- Hosted by: NA
- Books for Challenge Completed: NA
Recommendation: 4 out of 5
Genre: Historical fiction, Romance, WWII, war romance
Memorable lines/quotes: NA