Author: Rhys Bowen
Publisher: Lake Union
Release Date: February 20, 2018
Rating; 4 Stars
Reviewer: Jessica Higgins
Can a young woman uncover her estranged father’s mysterious past to find a brother she never knew?
In 1944, British pilot Hugo Langley is flying a doomed mission across the Italian countryside when his plane is hit by the Germans. Hugo parachutes to safety in a section of German control Tuscany. His leg has been shot and he must find food and shelter to survive. A young woman named Sofia Bartoli discovers him and gives him aid. They work together to hide him in the old monastery that has been bombed. As the days go by, Hugo and Sofia build a relationship and begin to develop feelings for one another, even though both are still married. As the Allies continue to push the Axis powers out of Italy, the Germans become more desperate to find the pilot that was missing in the plane wreckage. Will Hugo and Sofia be able to escape together? Or is their relationship doomed?
Twenty-nine years later in England, Hugo’s daughter Joanna, has returned to Langley Hall after word of her father’s death. Now a boarding school for girls, the headmistress is ready to have her father’s belongings gone from the property. While going through the items, Joanna discovers an unopened letter addressed to Sofia Bartoli in a remote village in Tuscany with a reference to having hidden their little boy where only she can find it. On a whim, Joanna decides to embark for the small village of San Salvatore to discover more about her father. But when she arrives, she discovers that digging around in the past does not always find a warm welcome.
This was a really interesting book to read that was set in two past time periods. The author did a great job setting the scene for each of these periods based on technology. Many times I find a slip up or too when authors try to do this, but Bowen did a masterful job. I enjoyed reading both story lines, but tend to find myself more drawn to Hugo and Sofia’s story. I really enjoy that time period and it kept the story moving fast for me. The Italian hospitality was a keen as it has ever been throughout this story. Lots of talk of food that often made my mouth water. Especially for polenta! Love that stuff.
There is very mild language at times in the book and a small sex scene, but nothing graphic at all. I recommend this book to readers that love a good story and those that enjoy WWII era novels.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.