The Italian Villa: An emotional and absolutely gripping WW2 historical romance

· Bookouture
5 reviews

About this ebook

Callie, a lonely small-town waitress, is still reeling from the discovery that she’s adopted when she arrives in Montevino, Italy in search of answers – the keys to the stunning hillside villa she has just inherited clutched tightly in her hand. Inside the rusted gates, and through a large wooden front door dripping with sun-kissed flowers, Callie can’t decide if she’s more astonished by her new home or her first encounter with the mysterious young groundskeeper, Tommaso.

Wandering the villa barefoot at night, Callie finds a diary belonging to a woman named Elisa, wrapped in faded blue ribbon and hidden in her birthmother’s antique wardrobe. Page by page, Callie is swept away by its story of love, passion, heartbreak and betrayal as she reads how Elisa married her childhood sweetheart in secret before fleeing to the woods to join the resistance. They vowed to find each other again when the war was over, but history had other plans.

Callie is certain that her and Elisa’s lives are somehow connected, and that the truth about her family is hidden somewhere within the diary’s crinkled yellow pages. It gives her the courage to start asking questions around the close-knit village until, at long last, she feels her closed-off heart begin to open. Perhaps even enough to let someone in…

But when a devastating betrayal in the final pages of the diary unlocks a heart-breaking secret about who Callie’s mother really is, the chance for a new life shatters in front of her. Can she persuade the locals to forgive her past and accept the truth about her identity?

This unforgettable story of love, loss and secrets by the author of million-copy Amazon No 1. bestseller, Watch Over Me, is perfect for anyone who loves Fiona Valpy, Lily Graham, or The Letter by Kathryn Hughes.

Readers adore The Italian Villa:

‘Mesmerising! I was totally hooked absolutely perfect and just flowed endlessly with such ease. I really can't praise this OUTSTANDING book enough!’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

I fell in love with this book! It was beautiful and captivating from start to finishI loved Callie right from the beginning, she is such a relatable character. You laughed with her and cried for her throughout… Absolutely loved this entire book!’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

From the moment I opened this book I was hooked. This is a beautifully written story with characters that tug at your heartstrings from the second they’re introduced. You can’t help but fall in love with them and the tiny village in Italy where it takes place… you feel as though you’re really there... I devoured this book in no time you can’t wait to turn the page to find out what happens next...which is why I finished this book at 3 in the morning!... I was so enthralled from the very first page!’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

‘I really loved it… makes you want to curl up in a chair with a warm drink and read this slowly. I found myself not wanting to devour this, but to savour every page. It's emotional and empowering and the characters fill your mind completely long after you have finished the story.’ Crossroad Reviews

Truly amazing. The story had many heart-warming moments and a few heart-wrenching...I was completely charmed and transported…You will be as well if you choose to read it. So read it!’ One Page At A Time, 5 stars

Ratings and reviews

5 reviews
Gaele Hi
February 17, 2020
Two perspectives, two women whose lives have been full of challenge, and the one thread that brings them together as the story progresses. Starting with Callie, living in Texas and struggling with ‘finding her place’ in the world, particularly since the death of her parents and her placement in foster care as a pre-teen. Now just turned 21, she’s working all the hours she can, and saving money to go to university – direction still unknown. Out of the system for 3 years, and never ‘looking back’ or so she tells herself, receiving a call from her social worker who won’t take no for an answer is a shock – discovering a letter that explains she was adopted, and she was to meet with a lawyer only adds to her confusion and very understandable curiosity about her birth, parents, and why they never told her earlier. The lawyer’s office provides her with a few answers – the first, a bequest of a villa in a small mountainside Italian town, the second – a letter from her birth mother and a diary from another ancestor – set in the years just before and through World War II. Elisa shares the story of ‘wanting more’ than to work in the rice fields and become just another woman of the Stella line – a healer and midwife – she wants to go to medical school. Rare in the 1930’s – even rarer for a young woman from their little town. But she tells her hopes and dreams to the diary – and Callie is instantly engaged and enchanted. Off to Italy she goes, intending to meet with the Italian lawyers in charge of the will, see the villa, perhaps hope to find family members – and then return to Texas and the little, safe, methodical life she has created for herself. The story unfolds to bring Callie closer to her roots, with plenty of needed answers and a level of emotional connection to her personal history that, is necessarily, mostly because of proximity of the small town and it’s remote location, intertwined with people of the present day, and the histories that defined them, separated them, and once again helped to bring them together. With a lovely romance thread, plenty of answered questions and a chance at a new life that is defined with all that Callie hoped for as a child, including options and directions she never thought she would have. With history, present, imagery and emotion all wound together – with not a few moments of ‘high drama’ the story is wonderful to read and will fuel your desire for more historical fiction titles that mix actual events with fiction and leave you feeling more informed and enlightened. I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
1 person found this review helpful
Toby A. Smith
February 17, 2020
Full Disclosure: I received an advance copy of this book in exchange for writing an impartial review. What makes historical fiction my favorite literary genre is the ability to learn more about history while disappearing into a good story. And THE ITALIAN VILLA gave me both. Author Daniela Sacerdoti uses a structure I find many contemporary authors turn to these days -- telling two distinct stories of two characters from different time periods and only fully explaining how the two stories connect at the very end of the book: • The first story belongs to Callie, a self-reliant Texas waitress who grew up in foster care after her parents died, and is now trying to figure out what to do with her life • A second story is Elise's. She is an ambitious woman living in a small Italian village who wants to become a doctor at a time when women simply did not do that. And she makes that commitment on the brink of World War II. Her story is told through her diary, which suddenly comes into Callie's possession. I won't spoil the pleasure of discovering for yourselves how the lives of these two determined young women evolve -- but I will say their stories are compelling and will keep you turning page after page. (I read the book in 2 days). There are long-buried family secrets to be uncovered. Plenty of romance, even for reluctant lovers. You'll experience the slower pace of contemporary life in a small Italian village, where everyday gossip and interpersonal feuds sometimes originate in the history of families that have lived together for generations. And, of course, there's also the death, random violence, and uncertainly of living during wartime. My one criticism of the writing is a periodic tendency toward trite phrases. But I did not find that kept me from enjoying this novel overall.
2 people found this review helpful
Third-party review
A page-turning historical romance based on true events. The novel is beautifully written and transitions with ease between present-day when Callie, a young waitress learns on her 21st birthday that ...

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