How did I get it?
It was a gift purchased as part of a reading year from Mr B’s Emporium.
Chiara Ravello is about to flee occupied Rome when she locks eyes with a woman being herded on to a truck with her family.
Claiming the woman’s son, Daniele, as her own nephew, Chiara demands his return; only as the trucks depart does she realize what she has done. She is twenty-seven, with a sister who needs her constant care, a hazardous journey ahead, and now a child in her charge.
Several decades later, Chiara lives alone in Rome, a self-contained woman working as a translator. Always in the background is the shadow of Daniele, whose absence and the havoc he wrought on Chiara’s world haunt her. Then she receives a phone call from a teenager claiming to be his daughter, and Chiara knows it is time to face up to the past.
This book was the first choice in my Mr B’s Reading Year subscription. I don’t think it’s a book I would have necessarily picked up by myself, but I’m thrilled that Emma, my bibliotherapist did. I thought it was an incredibly well written book which I devoured in next to no time.
I absolutely loved the beginning, where my heart was captured right from the start. It involves two women who have never come across each other before and a silent agreement. One of the women takes the others young boy. The book is set in 1943, where the Nazi’s were rounding up the Jews in Italy. Young Daniele Levi’s mother gives her son away in order to save them. He gives them to Chiara, a woman who is part of the resistance movement. I thought this book was going to be more about the Nazi/Jews but it really wasn’t. It was about a wonderful character.
The story continues and follows Daniele and Chiara’s life. Daniele is not an easy child. Firstly, he doesn’t speak and then in his teenage life he gives her a hard time. As an adult, Daniele struggles with drug addiction.
Chiara is a fantastic character and this story really is all about her life. We see her care for her ill sister and then experience her struggles with Daniele and the mess his drug addiction puts her in. It also involves a character called Maria, who finds out that Daniele is her biological father. Chiara and Maria connect whilst Maria tries to work out who she is.
This book surprised me. It gripped me from the start and made me feel for the characters. It’s a story about strength, identity, forgiveness and love. I couldn’t put it down!.
Would I recommend it?: