Of all the books I have read and reviewed this year, this is outstanding and I think, the best.
It is without a doubt a novel of epic proportions. It spans three generations of two families on the opposite sides of the world.
It begins with a terminal ill lawyer going to confront his past in and around Venice. He is accompanied by his recently separated and about to be divorced daughter. She knows little of his past and almost nothing of the time he spent in Italy after the Second World War.
We follow the trail from Venice in 2014, to two New Zealand servicemen caught up in the Second World War in Italy in 1945, where we are introduced to two farming families, to a love that lasts and increases over the decades, to the lawyer’s sojourn in the small village in the hills of southern Italy, to the daughter of the lawyer and a nephew of the Italian family.
This is a story that goes far beyond the activities of these 2 servicemen, strangers initially but coming from the far away land of New Zealand to find themselves caught Italy and having to rely on each other to exist. A friendship of sorts, perhaps originally, but now they hold a secret that was kept hidden throughout the generations.
The story covers 350 pages and I started reading it and can honestly say I couldn’t put it down. In fact, I read it into the wee small hours yesterday and finished it this morning before doing anything else.
I strongly recommend this book to you. Buy it, borrow it, perhaps don’t steal it, but read it.