The Girl with the Scarlet Ribbon: An emotional and gripping World War 2 historical novel

· Bookouture
14 reviews

About this ebook

Wow what a book. I am still sitting thinking about this book even though I finished it a few days ago. I cannot write a review to do this book justice. I was hooked from the first page.’ Avid Reader, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


Florence, 1943. A beautiful war-scarred city. A missing painting. A brave young girl on a black bicycle risking her life for the country she loved…


As the bells toll and arrogant soldiers torment her family, fourteen-year-old Gabriella is determined to act. She seeks out her old friend Stefanina, an unlikely member of the Italian resistance with her dark curls and scarlet ribbon. Soon the two girls are criss-crossing the river with deadly information in their bicycle baskets. But then one terrible day Stefanina disappears…


London 2019. Sofia is mourning the loss of her father, a famous painter. Desperate to feel closer to him, she begins to go through his paintings of wartime Florence, a time in his life he would never talk about. But then she realises one is missing and travels to Florence, the place of his tortured memories to find it.


Her search takes her to her aunt Gabriella, an elegant old woman living in a palazzo filled with roses, who shows her the missing painting, a tiny picture of beautiful Stefanina, the girl with a scarlet ribbon. Gabriella tells her niece the story of Stefanina, a girl who captured her father’s heart, who rode her black bicycle into enemy territory. But will understanding the tragic story of the girl her father couldn’t forget, bring Sofia peace or further heartbreak?


A completely compelling and heartbreaking story of a beautiful city, a violent war and a young woman’s daring. Fans of The Alice Network, The Nightingale and My Name is Eva will be captivated by The Girl with the Scarlet Ribbon.


What everyone is saying about The Girl with the Scarlet Ribbon:


‘This is such a beautiful book and told with such feeling, I can't praise it enough.’ Redheaded Book Lady, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

‘Historical fiction at the top of its gameThe pages turn quickly from the first to the last page. I could not put this book down as I cried for Gabrielle and cheered for her and held my breath every step of the way. Suzanne Goldring writes mesmerizing stories that have you feeling like you are right there in the midst of it all… a captivating read that taught me so much.’ Goodreads reviewer, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

‘This was a beautiful read that was well written… It was an emotive and gripping read, I really enjoyed it.’ Goodreads reviewer, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

‘The story is beautifully written and is an emotional tale of the effects of the war as viewed from an Italian point of view which at times had me in tears and trying to read through them to see where the story was going. Suzanne Goldring did an exceptional job wrapping up the two timelines and pulling everything together.’ Beaches and Books, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

‘A compelling, powerful and heart-breaking World War II novel… I highly recommend this novel but you may need to take breaks while reading it and keep a box of tissues close by! 5 Stars… This was my first Suzanne Goldring reading but I just bought one of her earlier books and know I will love it, too. She knows how to jar the soul.’ Cindy L. Spear, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

14 reviews
Shirley McAllister
February 25, 2022
I loved this story of Sophie and Isobel traveling together from London, England to the beautiful city of Florence , Italy to find out about their famous artist Father and Husband's history growing up during the war from his sister Gabrielle. Sophie and Isobel have often wondered about Riccardo's paintings and where he got his inspiration for them. Why they were numbered but had no titles. Sophie desperately wanted to know about her distant and talented father. The story of Riccardo and Gabrielle during WWII in Italy was sad and heartbreaking. What was a game between the siblings became a great betrayal. The experiences they went through during the war kept them apart but it was also the inspiration for the artistic ability of Riccardo. The story of Sophie and Isobel is heartwarming as the mother and daughter not only grow closer during the trip to Florence planned by Riccardo before his death, but they finally understand the father and husband they have never fully understood. I love the descriptions of Riccardo's paintings and the inspiration for them and how he expressed his feelings and his experiences though his artwork. I especially enjoyed the beautiful descriptions of the beautiful city of Florence Italy, the food, the buildings and the scenery. It was like traveling there myself. This was an enjoyable book to read, a bit sad in parts but very interesting. I would recommend it. Thanks to Suzanne Goldring for writing another enjoyable book, to Bookouture for publishing it and to NetGalley for making it available to me.
Did you find this helpful?
Vicki Hardman
February 26, 2022
The Girl with the Scarlet Ribbon is a dual timeline story. The first timeline is Italy 1943 during WWII, the second timeline is 2019. Italy 1943, follows Riccardo and his sister Gabrielle during very confusing and desperate times during the war. Riccardo finds he has a talent for painting and starts expressing himself through his paintings as a young boy. His sister Gabrielle has made friends with two sisters that are able to provide her food to take her family as well as developing a crush on the two girls cousin. Switch over to 2019, Sophie, Ricardo’s daughter and her mother Isobel, travel to Italy on a trip that was planned before Ricardo’s passing. Sophie wanting to try and understand her father and his paintings, her mother frustrated that her husband is still directing things from beyond the grave. The story is beautifully written and is an emotional tale of the effects of the war as viewed from an Italian point of view which at times had me in tears and trying to read through them to see where the story was going. Suzanne Goldring did an exceptional job wrapping up the two timelines and pulling everything together. Thank you to #netgalley and #bookouture for allowing the opportunity to read the ARC of this book. All opinions expressed above are my own,
Did you find this helpful?
Samantha Markham
February 25, 2022
The Girl with the Scarlet Ribbon is a story set within a dual timeline, full of passion, anger, cruelty and patriotism. We begin in 1943 when we are coming towards the end of the Second World War. Gabriella and her brother Riccardo are living with their parents in Florence, Italy, where they are becoming anxious about the German invasion. In 2019, Riccardo has recently passed away and his wife Isobel and daughter Sofia are organising an exhibition of his artwork. Neither is sure of the meanings behind his paintings, but with a little help from Riccardo, they set out to discover why he painted what he did. I enjoyed how Gabrielle played her own role in the war, offering her services to the Resistance and doing her best to help save the city that she’s living in. Suzanne Goldring writes about such great community spirit and camaraderie amongst the inhabitants of Florence and how they lived through the war with the help and support of each other. Riccardo was a troubled young lad, living with the after-effects of polio and unable to attend school. He entertained himself and often got into trouble along the way. He expressed his unhappiness in his paintings and as we discover the significance behind them, my heart went out to the boy who suffered so much. I love historical fiction, and so much research has gone into The Girl with the Scarlet Ribbon, discovering how Italians dealt with the German invasion and the removal of Jews from their society. The book is heartbreaking but thought-provoking and we are reminded that life was often difficult during these times. So many people suffered so much loss and hardship, we all need to be aware of how different countries managed during wartime. Suzanne draws the reader into the story with her writing and as she describes the beautiful smells of the herbs and the rose garden and the awful stench of places where people are locked away, we can almost imagine ourselves there too. If you enjoy historical fiction with an element of fact included, then check out The Girl with the Scarlet Ribbon. It’s educational and captivating and you won’t want to put it down. I am lucky enough to be a part of Books on Tour for this, so thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture for the opportunity to read and review an ARC of The Girl with the Scarlet Ribbon by Suzanne Goldring.
Did you find this helpful?

Rate this book

Tell us what you think.

Reading information

Smartphones and tablets
Install the Google Play Books app for Android and iPad/iPhone. It syncs automatically with your account and allows you to read online or offline wherever you are.
Laptops and computers
You can listen to audiobooks purchased on Google Play using your computer's web browser.
eReaders and other devices
To read on e-ink devices like Kobo eReaders, you'll need to download a file and transfer it to your device. Follow the detailed Help Center instructions to transfer the files to supported eReaders.