Thursday 1 October 2020

The Italian Girls by Debbie Rix BLOG TOUR @debbierix #BooksOnTour @bookouture #TheItalianGirls #BookReview


The sun hung low in the sky, casting pink light all over the city. A faint breeze blew over the rooftops, as flocks of starlings swirled above her, swooping and diving in unison. It seemed unimaginable that, even now, German soldiers were marching along the streets below. It was time, she decided, for direct action. It was time to fight back.

Each morning Livia Moretti makes her way from an apartment overlooking Florence’s famous Duomo to a nearby café, where she drinks espresso and reads the newspaper. To the crowds of tourists who pass by, snapping selfies, nothing about Livia will be memorable. She is simply an old lady. They walk on without knowing the part she played in ensuring the future of this beautiful city. And to Livia now, those dark days feel very far away too.

But today, when she opens the paper, she sees a name she has not heard for a long time. A name that will bring memories flooding back of Nazi troops marching through the city and the dangers she faced as a young woman, carrying out secret missions for the resistance.

Isabella Bellucci.

A siren of the silver screen, Isabella cultivated all the right connections to ensure her rise to stardom. But when Rome falls to the Nazis, Isabella is suddenly faced with the choice between protecting herself, and all she has worked for, or sacrificing everything to save the man she loves.

As the war rages across Europe, a terrible misunderstanding causes the fates of Isabella and Livia to become forever intertwined. And each woman must decide what they’re willing to risk, to protect the ones they hold dear from a brutal enemy.

Inspired by the incredible true stories of two women in wartime Italy, this is a heart-wrenching and unforgettable tale of love, resistance, betrayal and hope. Fans of Kate Furnivall, Fiona Valpy and My Name is Eva will be absolutely gripped by this sweeping Second World War novel.

The Italian Girls by Debbie Rix was published by Bookoutre on 28 September 2020. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review and who invited me to take part on this Blog Tour. 

The Italian Girls is the first book that I've read by this author, and I'm really happy to have discovered her writing. The story kept me quite intrigued throughout. The start of the novel is fairly slow but enables the author to introduce her characters and the beautiful setting to the reader. 

I'm a huge fan of a prologue. I really enjoy the way the the reader's interest is snared with a short look at one of the characters. In this case, the reader is introduced to Livia Moretti in modern-day Florence before being thrust back into the World War II era. 

This is the story of Livia and Isabella. Two very different women, from contrasting backgrounds whose lives become woven together because of the War and the roles that they play in it, despite never actaully meeting face-to-face. The author has based her story upon real-life events and the amount of research involved must have been vast. Every scene, every setting, every conversation, is so well put together, there's a sense of danger running through the story that makes the heart beat a little faster as the pages are turned.

The Italian Girls is a rich and evocative novel that captures the absolute power held by Mussolini and his facist party during the war years. The suffering of the people who lived there, the ever increasing danger and most importantly, the bravery of those who stood up for what they believed in. 

An ambitious, but extremely well written story of courage and hope. I loved the characters, I enjoyed how the author didn't create a bias toward one woman, and I really enjoyed the drama.

Historical fiction fans will lap this up! 

Debbie spends a lot of time in Italy and the setting of the novels reflects her knowledge and passion for the country. She lives in the Kent countryside with her journalist husband, children, sheep, chickens and cats. When not writing, she is usually to be found in the vegetable garden. She began her career with the BBC- initially as the news reader on Breakfast Time, thereafter appearing as a presenter and reporter on a variety of factual and light entertainment television series. She had a spell as an Agony Aunt, and has also written about gardens and gardening - one of her private passions.

Twitter @debbierix

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