I never tire of reading about WWII and WWI war stories. This set in Florence detailing the lives of ordinary citizens in the face of fascist Italy is remarkable.
Freddie, Isabella and Oskar are friends at art school. That they are three different nationalities is of no consequence but it becomes very important when war breaks out. Oskar is Jewish, Freddie is English and only Isabella is Italian. It puts them all in very precarious positions and Isabella more than most. Freddie returns to England to fly for the RAF and Isabella is left alone to fend for herself in very trying and suspicious conditions. Oskar's life becomes a nightmare.
The day to day workings of life under a foreign invader, made much worse by the workings of your own neighbours and friends against you made life much harder. You never knew who was a spy, who was out to get you, sometimes just for spite nothing else. They just did not like your attitude, or what you stood for before hostilities started. It could have been that you had more money, you were popular or that you were pretty. You could get arrested, thrown into prison and after that never seen again.
Isabella had to work with all the above and still try to survive. She had to survive because she knew that Freddie was not dead and that she must be around to be with him when he returns. She also knew that she must survive to try to help out whoever she could, in whatever way she could. That this would endanger her life and put her under torture and imprisonment was to be expected.
This was a sad but a very good story well told.
Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Cheyne Walk.