As I sit down and type this review, I struggle to find something to say, to make this a real review. I just want to scream, "I loved this book!" from the top of...well, a mountain--a mountain that I can reach the top of without using one of those horrid sky boxes and that has a real bathroom.
I loved it. I am so glad I finally picked up a "five-star" read. The writing is solid. The setting is realistic, the characters real and likable, as well as relatable. The romance is fast, but considering the situation, it felt perfect too. But this is not a romance book. It's the story of occupied Italy during the war and unlike most WWII occupied-type tales, it's not about rebels or anything like that. It's about plain ole' life. About a girl becoming a woman while her home is under German rule, about seeing the evils of war and becoming stronger for it.
While the Italian men run off to hide in the mountains, the women stay behind and face the Germans down. They cook for them, withstand abuse, possibly rape. They dream. They hide pigs. They keep their husbands' and fathers' whereabouts a secret, take care of their children and siblings, make sure the Germans' presence doesn't harm their children's health.
I loved this heroine. She's not OTT brave, but speaks her mind when it's necessary, stands up for those she loves, cares for others, and yet at the same time, learns to accept help. She finds love in the middle of madness, putting her "beau" in his place too. And the ending...OMG, the ending. LOVED it. That's all I'm going to say about that.
She faces so much, so very much--from the death of a friend to the possible loss of her father to feeding and hiding the pig. And everything that happens shows us a brave side of her, a strong side.
I think I forgot the 411. Benedetta is a motherless Italian girl living with her father when the Italians arrive during WWII, wanting the occupy the area for its height. From the mountains, the Germans can see all coming and going. Eventually, it's just Benedetta, her two siblings, and a helping woman taking care of the Germans staying (not by invitation) under her roof. There's fear, discomfort, secrets, and loss.
I'm very impressed with the prose. It's not too much of anything, not too little. Really, I have nothing bad to say about this one. Superb. I will be watching for more historical fiction from this author.
I received this via Netgalley.