Ciao Bella by Gina Buonaguro and Janice Kirk

For Graziella, the quiet, cultured life she lived in Venice with her musician husband, Ugo, was everything she could have hoped for. But when Italy allied itself with Nazi Germany in 1940, her world changed forever. Ugo, trading in his violin for a gun, joined the Resistance, while Graziella was forced to seek refuge at his family’s farm in the nearby Euganean Hills. “Just until the war is over,” Ugo had promised, but it has been months now since the Nazis retreated, and no one has seen him since.

With Ugo gone, it seems as if she will be trapped forever on this remote farm with her lost husband’s difficult family. So when an American soldier named Frank is stranded on the mountain, Graziella embraces this unexpected chance at being happy again. But as tempting as it is to leave behind this war-torn country and her painful memories for a new life in America, can she go without learning her husband’s fate? [borrowed from]

Where to start with this one? I actually enjoyed it - although I did have a hard time getting into it at first. I found the beginning a bit slow and I was having a hard time memorizing the names and associating them with who they were and how they were associated with Graziella. Once I got past this though, I could not help but falling in love with this quirky Italian family. Graziella and Ugo's story is quite touching - they were in love and the war came between them. The love that grows between Frank and Graziella was done so well... in very short increments. It felt real, something that grew gradually, until it just was. It wasn't sporadic or something that caught you off guard. I really liked the "real-ness" feeling to it. I also loved reading about Italy and the effects the war had on its residents.

All in all, I was happy with this one. It leaves you with a smile on your face and a warm feeling in your heart. With it's zany characters and wonderful writing - this is definitely one you won't want to miss out on.


Meg said...

I'm smitten with anything set in Italy -- and stories about families, and romance, always grab me! Sounds like something I would really enjoy... I'll just be on the look-out for the slow start and try to push through :) Great review!

Juju at Tales of said...

I'm with Meg. I love all things set in Italy.

Great review as usual :)

miss cindy :) said...

This sounds like such a nice book to read...great review :)

kay - Infinite Shelf said...

I hadn't heard of this, but the setting sounds so intriguing, I would definitely give it a try. Thanks!

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