The longer her imprisonment went on, the more she cast her mind back to the stolen hours they had spent together. His love had blown in like an unexpected breath of warm summer air, giving her the promise of life and joy. But now they had been torn apart and she was tormented by the thought that they might never be reunited.
Italy, 1938: When Stella arrives in Florence, it’s love at first sight. She is wowed by the rolling hills dotted with olive trees, the buttermilk villas with shuttered windows and terracotta roofs that glow gloriously in the sunlight. Even the breeze holds the scent of freedom – freedom from England, where the shadow of her past haunted her.
Then there is Ted, an American journalist who is wild and mischievous, with an arrogance bordering on rude. Stella is infuriated by him – but she cannot deny the lure of the danger and excitement he promises.
But there is something dark under the bright surface of this beautiful country, with unspeakable tragedies just around the corner. When the Nazis take control of Italy, Stella and Ted – and whatever dreams the future held for them – are ripped apart. As bombs descend, destroying everything in their wake, there is nothing to do but sit in darkness, praying to see tomorrow.
And it seems that even in Italy, Stella’s past has found her. Somewhere in the winding streets of Florence there is a letter that could change the course of her fate. Unknown to her, it holds a secret with the power to rewrite her past, and everything she has been running away from. But will she live to find it? And with the odds stacked against her, will she ever see Ted again?
What does TWG think?
Novels set during wartime are my most favourite historical fiction to read, and thankfully Clara Benson kept that momentum going.
Set in Italy in 1938, Stella can’t help but be excited for her promising new life in her beautiful new surroundings. However, unfinished business has a way of catching up with people when they expect it to, and soon enough Stella’s new life takes a turn that looks set to be a lot darker than she anticipated.
Stella is such a memorable character to read about and get to know. I felt a lot of empathy towards her because of how she had to mature a lot faster than nature intended her to. I think she surprised herself, and the readers, by flourishing the way that she did. Whilst I applauded her strength and courage, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of loss for her and the roads she wasnt able to go down because of certain choices that were made.
‘The Stolen Letter’ really is a heartwarming read, one which reminded me so much of author Kathryn Hughes ‘The Letter’! If you’re after a well balanced, detailed and blossoming read, then I highly recommend you get a hold of this.