Saturday, September 20, 2014

Villa Triste

Villa Triste
Lucretia Grindle

Villa Triste

Genre: Historical Fiction

Summary (from the publisher): Florence, 1943. Two sisters, Isabella and Caterina Cammaccio, find themselves surrounded by terror and death; and with Italy trapped under the heel of a brutal Nazi occupation, bands of Partisans rise up.

Soon Isabella and Caterina will test their wits and deepest beliefs as never before. As the winter grinds on, they will be forced to make the most important decisions of their lives. Their choices will reverberate for decades.

In the present day, Alessandro Pallioti, a senior policeman agrees to oversee a murder investigation, after it emerges the victim was once a Partisan hero. When the case begins to unravel, Pallioti finds himself working to uncover a crime lost in the twilight of war, the consequences of which are as deadly today as they were over sixty years ago.

Review:  Despite getting off to a somewhat slow start, I found myself engrossed in this fascinating novel that's part contemporary mystery and part historical fiction.  I've read quite a few novels set during World War II, but this is the first one that has been set in Nazi-occupied Italy, and I appreciated the chance to learn about how the Italian partisans fought against both the Nazis and the Fascists.  The writing was beautifully descriptive, and the dialogue was smooth and believable.  My favorite parts were the journal entries that described the events in 1943 and 1944 in Florence, but I was also caught up in the present day mystery that Inspector Pallioti is attempting to solve.  My only complaint is that I would have liked the focus to be a little more on the historical side and a little less on the present, because some of the current day sections got a little long and tedious.  This is the best book I've read in quite a while, and I'm glad I kept reading through the slow beginning and wasn't put off by the length (and weight!) of the book.

Rating: 5 stars

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