- Title: The Italian Island
- Author: Daniela Sacerdoti
- Publisher: Bookouture
- Publication Day: January 11, 2022
- Where to buy:
- Amazon: https://bit.ly/3qOuXK2
- Genre: Women’s Fiction, Historical Fiction, Dual Timeline
- Would I recommend: Yes
My darling girl, don’t make the same mistakes as I did. Now that my life is coming to an end, take your grandmother’s bracelet, unlock the secret of our family history, and discover who you are…
As the hazy sun sets on golden sand, twenty-year-old Annie arrives on the stunning Sicilian island of Galatea, her father’s final wish playing heavy on her heart: she must solve the mystery of her grandmother who disappeared during World War Two. Her only clues are the delicate gold band around her wrist and directions to Villa Onda – House of the Waves – where her grandmother once lived.
As she climbs the winding road up to the cliffside villa, Annie’s path collides with handsome local fisherman, Salvo. His sea-blue eyes sparkle with recognition at her bracelet, and Annie can’t tell if it’s his warm touch or the sun-kissed villa’s vine-covered splendour that takes her breath away. Swept into the warm arms of Salvo’s family, it’s not long before she finds herself dancing the night away in the cobbled piazza and finally beginning to heal.
But one afternoon she finds an antique gramophone hidden beneath a dusty sheet in her grandmother’s bedroom. Setting the needle, she unlocks a long-buried secret… And, through Salvo’s mother, starts to unravel the truth about the bracelet and her grandmother’s heart-shattering wartime sacrifice.
With Salvo’s first kiss lingering on her lips, Annie knows she must dig deeper into the scars that haunt this beautiful island. But can her fragile new-found love with Salvo survive uncovering the truth? Will she ever be able to move on with her life until she does?
An absolutely heart-wrenching page-turner about how the catastrophic consequences of war can echo through generations, and the power that true love has to save us all. From the author of million-copy bestseller, Watch Over Me, and Amazon Number 1. bestseller, The Italian Villa, this is the perfect one-sitting read for anyone who adores Fiona Valpy, Victoria Hislop, or The Letter by Kathryn Hughes.
It was Annie’s father’s last wish that she discover her heritage, and a small scrap of paper directs her to go to Galatea, so she sets out to the Italian island. Does she speak Italian? Not really. Does she have any idea what to expect? Not really. But she knows she may find out more there about her grandmother Mira, who disappeared after World War II.
Annie wears a bracelet that belonged to Mira. Not only is it a physical object connected to Annie’s grandmother, but it also causes Annie to have visions. Mira’s story is told through Annie’s visions, and as Annie learns more about her grandmother, she also learns some unexpected things about herself.
The imagery in the book is wonderful! I can envision the island and its beauty, the creepy hillside cave that Annie and Salvo explore, the fishermen and the water and the cliffs. The writing is lyrical and easy to read, and since the book isn’t terribly long, it just flew by as I was reading. And the sea reads almost as a living being, vital to the events of both past and present.
The story has a little something for everyone. There is suspense and tension as we see Mira’s brother Gabriel bringing nothing good to the island, and as we wait to see if Annie will have the strength to break from her mother’s suffocating negativity. There’s romance – Mira and Lupo in the past, Annie and Salvo in the present. Annie and Salvo are just adorable. Annie’s connection to Mira through the bracelet brings a touch of the paranormal and mystical to the story, as does the special bond shared by the Ayala women (is Annie one of those women? Read and find out).
And it’s a dual timeline story! Y’all know I love those, and this one is nicely done. My only disappointment was that Mira’s story seemed to take up so much of Annie’s timeline. It felt like there was more to Annie than what we saw in between her visions of the past. But still, it was quite a good read, and the beauty of the words made up for me wishing I could have known more about Annie herself.
This is a solid four-star read, and it was nice to have a World War II historical fiction that didn’t focus almost exclusively on the war and the events thereof. That was an unexpected and refreshing twist!
Disclaimer: I received an advance reader copy of the book from NetGalley and Bookouture. All opinions are mine, and I don’t say nice things about books I don’t actually like.
Daniela Sacerdoti is the author of the bestselling Glen Avich series which has sold over one million copies in ebook to date, Sacerdoti’s debut novel Watch Over Me was named the eighth bestselling Kindle book of all time in 2015, when she was also ranked as the eleventh top-selling Kindle author. She lives in a small village in the middle of nowhere, with her Scottish husband, two children, a Cocker spaniel and a foundling kitten (who was definitely a witch in a past life).