Eighteen-year-old Marianna De'Angelis has grown up on her father's fishing boat off the picturesque coast of Sicily, Italy. She traverses the nearby countryside on horseback and bicycle and works alongside her mother selling fish at market. It is a simple, happy life. But when WWII erupts and the Nazis overtake the country, Marianna's peaceful world is shattered.
In the midst of chaos, Marianna encounters a handsome, young Italian soldier named Massimo Scalvone. Though she tries to keep her distance, Marianna finds herself powerfully drawn to Massimo. Yet all the while, the man she is growing to love conceals a deadly secret—a secret that ensures that in a world now ruled by politics and greed, Massimo is not free to give his heart. Devastated, Marianna immerses herself in helping her family and neighbors survive the war. But soon, merely helping is not enough, and the young woman undertakes increasingly dangerous missions for the resistance. Although Marianna and Massimo each harbor secrets, their only hope of survival is to trust each other with the truth of who they really are.
This book's setting is during the final two tears of World War 11. A time when mistrust of one another was prevalent. Italian men and older boys were being forced into becoming and serving the Nazi party. Many Italians had formed a Resistance group, feeling betrayed by Mussolini. Even some family members could not be trusted.
Many, more affluent, Italians tried to continue in their birthday and Holiday traditions although most of the eligible young men were gone to war. This was the situation when eighteen-year-old Marianna's older brother would soon be departing, leaving his pregnant, young wife and family behind. The De`Angelo family were making the most of their time together before he had to leave.
As Marianna was walking home from Market, she noticed a very attractive young man working in her elderly neighbor's field. As she peeked over the wall at him, he caught her and spoke to her on a friendly voice. Embarrassed, she fled.
Massimo discovered a beautiful angel face peeking over the wall at him When he spoke to her, she quickly fled. He was on leave at his grandparents house for the Summer to help them. When accepting a Sunday dinner with his grandparents, little did he know that he would once again see that "angel face:"... a face he must try to avoid, yet could not.
This is a very interesting tale of the difficult times in Italy - as with many countries - where the Nazis invaded and of the cruelness even the allies had to endure. It is a story of family closeness and of the difficulties the youth had to endure. Young love was hard to find and hold onto. Families and communities were torn apart with mistrust and sorrow.
I was impressed with the story of two very strong youth willing to sacrifice all for love as their world crumbled around them.
The characters were very well developed and personable. The scenes were equally portrayed in a way they were easily visualized. The author aptly "drew the reader into" the tale. It "flowed" very smoothly, with plenty of actin, drama and suspense.
The Title and Book Cover were attractive and "fitting".
I offer a Four and a Half Stars rating.
* This book was gifted me with no request for a positive review. This is my honest review.