You read the cover of the book and you know you are in for a treat, for whatever words will come must tell a complex tale of love and loss. One day in Rome during WW2 young Chiara Ravello was about to flee the war only to come upon a family being hoarded for concentration camps. In one life-changing moment, Chiara manages to save the 7-years-old little David from the fate awaiting his family by claiming he was her nephew, and from that moment on her journey with the little boy begins.
I personally thought the story would go on about how David, the little boy that was saved, manages to find his footing in the surrogate family that became his own and that much is true, but that’s not really the story. The plot flicks between past and present, between what happened and what is now happening. You want to read about David the little boy’s ordeal and how he came to terms with his situation in the dangerous circumstances of war. Then you are thrust into the present, where David is no longer in Chiara’s life for some reason but a little teenager, Maria, is trying to get hold of Chiara after finally discovering she was indeed David’s son. Chapter by chapter the story unfolds, and I have to say I was fighting the urger to sleep, forcing my eyes open just so I’d know what happens to David, to Maria, and of course to Chiara.
What didn’t I like about this book? The length. at only 300 something pages, it wasn’t enough to tell a complex story like that of Chiara’s and David. The ending, or the last chapter, somehow zoomed by and sentences were running after each other, each delivering a part of that could have been expanded on. I would have loved a few more chapters in between to tell the story more properly, sometimes there were too many descriptive details of surroundings but too few details regarding events. I’d also loved at least two more chapters in the end dedicated to what happened in the last two paragraphs, its what the story was leading to anyway. I am now hoping for a sequel, for I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the rich tale so much, I am left with the feeling of wanting to go back and reading more.
Would I recommend it? Of course I would, thankfully there isn’t much war details if that’s the thing that would puts you off a war-related novel. Its more of a tale that happens because of war and with a background of a war happening with less than a handful of war-related events in between. Its a story about sacrifice, dedication, and most importantly its the story about unconditional love which can arrive in the most unexpected way when you least expect it.
Somehow I seem to have been reading a lot of oldie and war-related novels lately. I didn’t mean to, but somehow this is how it came to be. I’m not sorry though, almost each novel I’ve read this year have been thoroughly enjoyable and worth being lost into. I might be looking for something different for the next book so if you have any recommendations you are more than welcome to share.
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