Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Garden of Letters by Alyson Richman


Back Cover Blurb

NEW FROM THE AUTHOR OF THE LOST WIFE

Written in dazzling prose and set against the rich backdrop of World War II Italy, Garden of Letters captures the hope, suspense, and romance of an uncertain era, in an epic intertwining story of first love, great tragedy, and spectacular bravery.

Portofino, Italy, 1943. A young woman steps off a boat in a scenic coastal village. Although she knows how to disappear in a crowd, Elodie is too terrified to slip by the German officers while carrying her poorly forged identity papers. She is frozen until a man she’s never met before claims to know her. In desperate need of shelter, Elodie follows him back to his home on the cliffs of Portofino.

Only months before, Elodie Bertolotti was a cello prodigy in Verona, unconcerned with world events. But when Mussolini’s Fascist regime strikes her family, Elodie is drawn into the burgeoning resistance movement by Luca, a young and impassioned bookseller. As the occupation looms, she discovers that her unique musical talents, and her courage, have the power to save lives.

In Portofino, young doctor Angelo Rosselli gives the frightened and exhausted girl sanctuary. He is a man with painful secrets of his own, haunted by guilt and remorse. But Elodie’s arrival has the power to awaken a sense of hope and joy that Angelo thought was lost to him forever.

Review
by

The Garden of Letters is a real joy to read. What I enjoyed most about the novel was that it portrays the perspective of the Italian people who fell under the fascist influence of Hitler and Mussolini. An innocent young woman, Elodie, and also an aspiring cellist, unwittingly becomes an integral part of the Italian Resistance Movement. Through her eyes, we see the fear, the struggles, the heart-wrenching devastation of World War II. When she flees for her own safety, she is saved by a man named Angelo Roselli who has a poignant history of his own. And between these two characters, what unfolds is a tale so poignant, so lush, it left me nearly breathless with satisfaction. 
The prose of this richly layered is beautiful in its simplicity, brilliant in its creativity, and the characters unforgettably real. This is one book sure to please. The memory will linger for a long time afterward. I can't rave enough about how much I enjoyed this splendid novel.