“THE ITALIAN WIFE, by Kate Furnival, is an exciting new novel set in Mussolini’s Italy.”
I’ve read novels before set in Italy during WW11. There are not nearly as many as there are ones set in France or Germany. I was really intrigued when I saw what area of Italy. I have a special affinity for the area between Rome and Positano. We caught the train from Rome to Naples, then the local train from Naples to Sorrento, a few years ago. It was the experience of a lifetime. To see the locals going about their business as usual, and then since the train was slow, being about to enjoy the passing fields and tiny towns…
So, where does this novel take place? The location is a totally fictitious town called Bellina, outside Rome. What is so special about this town is the way it’s being formed, and the reason why. It’s Mussolini’s pet project: to build a town full of great architecture and with outlying farms to become the breadbasket of Italy. Sounds amazing. Sounds healthy. But, it’s anything but.
Isabella Berotti is an architect who lives in Bellina with her father. She’s been widowed for ten years in a shooting which almost took her own life. It managed to take the life of her unborn baby as well as her husband, Luigi. One of her greatest accomplishments is the clock tower in the center of Bellina. You will find her sitting at a cafe overlooking the tower shortly into the book. Before you know it a woman is diving headfirst from her beloved tower. The same woman who just moments earlier left her young daughter with Isabella…
She is not the only person in the small town to witness the death. Roberto Falco, the town’s photographer, has also been on the scene. He works for the city in a profound way. Who he is and why he befriends Isabella makes for an unputdownable novel.
THE ITALIAN WIFE is a love story, for sure. It’s also a tragic mystery, but filled with historical information that is based on truth. I do love that.
Reading this novel took me back. Back to Italy. Back to the amazing two weeks we spent along the Amalfi Coast. In fact, I took the amazing photo that has become my header for this blog while on a yacht off the coast of the city of Amalfi. It was taken during a regatta which we were so lucky to have been involved with. Seeing the cities along the coast from Positano to Amalfi was one of the greatest thrills of my traveling. The camaraderie we experienced that day along with the sense of place was unbeatable. And the photos we have are priceless.
THE ITALIAN WIFE reads like a sophisticated mystery with edgy characters who will keep you reading far into the night.
I thank Berkley Publishing for my review copy. It was sent in exchange for an honest review. Totally enjoyable!