Many thanks to Bookouture for inviting me to take part in the blog tour for ‘The Italian Villa’, and for the ARC. Here is my review:
Italy, 1938 – Elisa clings to Leo in the shadow of the Montevino mountains, the call to war ringing in her ears. They hatch a plan to wed in secret before Leo flees to the woods to join the resistance, and vow to find each other again when the war is over. But history has other plans…
Texas, present day – Callie Di Giacomo, a small-town waitress, is still reeling from the discovery that she’s adopted when she arrives in Montevino in search of answers about her real family – the keys to the stunning hillside villa she has just inherited clutched tightly in her hand. In her birthmother’s wardrobe grief-stricken Callie finds a diary belonging to a woman named Elisa Stella, one of Italy’s first ever female doctors, wrapped in pale blue ribbon.
Page by page, Callie is swept away by Elisa’s story, increasingly certain that their lives – and their fates – are somehow connected, and that the truth about her family is hidden somewhere within the crinkled yellow pages. But just when all the pieces look like they are falling into place, a devastating betrayal in the diary unlocks a heart-breaking secret about who Callie’s mother really is. Can Callie, like Elisa, find the light in her darkest moment and use it to spark a new future?
What does TWG think?
There was something just so humbling about the storyline behind ‘The Italian Villa, and the fact that it had some references to real life events really emphasised the importance of family bonds. It was heartbreaking to learn about what Italians went through during the war because of religion. I cant even begin to imagine what families went through during that time, and that’s merely my thoughts after reading about it!
I loved how the storyline was a dual timeline read, switching between the ‘present’ with Callie’s journey as she tries to find out where she came from, and the past via the diary written by Elisa. For a recently turned 21 year old, Callie had such an old head on young shoulders and her actions throughout the story didnt quite seem to match with the way her character was being portrayed. I’m not saying that that is a bad thing, however it left me feeling as though the overall storyline wasnt as seamless as it probably should have been.
‘The Italian Villa’ is such a picturesque, humbling novel which gives Italy the time in the spotlight to shine..and not just because of the beautiful sounding location. Callie’s story was both thought provoking and emotive, and overall I really enjoyed getting to know her and following her on her journey of self discovery.