It takes place in Italy during WWII. Italy has been taken over by Nazis. The heroine, Giovanna, is spending her teen years under German rule and has even had to give up most of her home to German soldiers. Her brother has failed to report for duty with Italian/German army and has run off to be a resistance fighter/partisan. Her father is angry as he is a devoted Fascist. (Actually, he's on the winning side whoever they may be.)
In the beginning, Gia (I'm shortening it as that's quite a bit to type over and over) is a normal teenage girl with feelings of desire. She's left with nothing but Nazis to focus her new found feelings on and she develops a crush on Hans. He's married, but that doesn't stop her...but before it goes too far, Gia realizes she's in the wrong. This botched affair leads to so many things...Gia begins to change for one thing.
She begins aiding the resistance, providing supplies, medical care, starts to ask questions. She goes from being a naive school girl ogling older, married men to a young woman with a mind of her own that believes in doing all she can to help her country and the Jews within it.
There were times I thought Gia was disappointing and stupid, but her narrative, all first person POV, was so brutally honest.. it was as though she was admitting to her own flaws. I felt as though she was speaking to me, saying, "Look what I did. Yes, I did that. Can you believe how stupid I was?" Somehow, it worked, it drew me in, and it made the heroine "real."
The ending. Wow. I didn't see that coming... to live with that knowledge the rest of one's life. Yikes. Something else in the book that had a huge impact on me was when the Allies came to town and ran out the Germans. The military higher ups sit there and talk smack about their very own Buffalo soldiers and Gia thinks...
"The irony of all this was eating away at me: the American military, so much the "white horse" for all of us in this war, felt to me like a weak echo of the Nazis' own prejudices and hostilities."
Really, too many good points for me to bring up. Loved this one. Love the narrative, the realness, the history, the drama, and except for her father who I never came to like, the characters.
Five stars and I got this ARC from Amazon Vine.