An Italian Affair by Caroline Montague

Historical drama set in WWII Italy and England

My rating:  4 out of 5

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This is a beautifully written novel about a family whose London life in 1934 is changed for ever by one dramatic moment.   This results in Alessandra and her daughter moving from London to Tuscany, whilst her son stays behind studying in England.  

An Italian AffairThe story follows Alessandra as she learns the way of Tuscan farming,  and settles into her new, very different, life.   Her daughter finds love, but discovers the law will not allow her to marry her chosen one.   Then war approaches and with it the worries of how two British women in Italy will cope. 

Meanwhile Alessandra’s son  is discovering his own way in life, which will soon involve him in the thick of the war.

This is  compelling historical fiction, that follows Alessandra’s family through the ups and downs of their lives, where many things are not as they outwardly appear.    As the war develops so we are drawn into the lives of fighter pilots as well as the resistance fighters.  Amongst all this there is time for love and sadness, bravery and treachery.  The writing style makes the reader feel fully involved, as if they are really there.

This is quite a long book and just perfect for a holiday read.   There are wonderful moments, shocking moments and at the end I was racing to find out what would happen.   The places visited have been well researched, as has the detail about the lives Alessandra’s family find themselves thrust into.    The author’s Twitter page, @CMontagueAuthor , has some wonderful photos from her research travels. 

4 out of 5 stars for me.  I would recommend this to anyone who wishes to know more about the reality of life at this time in a fictional context.   I found some parts touching, other parts sent me to the internet for more information, and the whole a beautiful and involving read.    A book to treat yourself to, and then settle back to escape into.  Definitely a must read for anyone thinking of visiting Tuscany, or interested in the reality of WWII on ordinary lives. 

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