The Girl from Bologna by Siobhan Daiko
Bologna, Italy, 1944, and the streets are crawling with German soldiers. Nineteen-year-old Leila Venturi is shocked into joining the Resistance after her beloved best friend Rebecca, the daughter of a prominent Jewish businessman, is ruthlessly deported to a concentration camp.
In the spring of 1981, exchange student Rhiannon Hughes arrives in Bologna to study at the university. There, she rents a room from Leila, who is now middle-aged and infirm. Leila’s nephew, Gianluca, offers to show Rhiannon around but Leila warns her off him.
Soon Rhiannon finds herself being drawn into a web of intrigue. What is Gianluca’s interest in a far-right group? And how is the nefarious leader of this group connected to Leila? As dark secrets emerge from the past, Rhiannon is faced with a terrible choice. Will she take her courage into both hands and risk everything?
The year is 1981. A young lady from Wales is in Italy to continue her Italian studies. She has found a room at a reasonable fee with a widower named Leila. They get along fabulously and she settles in for the coming semester. Leila’s nephew Gianluca takes care of his aunt and Leila and Gianluca become a couple.
World War II split Italy into factions; those who side with the Nazi’s and those who are opposed to them. The opposition is called the partisans and they do everything they can to disrupt the Nazi war machine. When caught, the partisans are immediately put in front of a firing squad. There is no trial, just a quick death.
The Germans offer substantial rewards, extra food and benefits to those who turn on their fellow citizens. Torture is applied to the captured partisans with promises of freedom if they will disclose their compatriots. The society becomes very fearful because you have no idea who you can trust.
Now 35 years after the end of WWII, distrust and hate are still rampant in Italy! Leila is trying to write down her experiences during the war. She was widowed when her husband was captured by the Nazi’s and executed. She will not forgive and cannot forget. The student, Rhiannon, is thrust into a society rampant with intrigue and acts of terror and vengeance against both sides. A bomb destroyed the west wing of the Bologna train station! Leila’s failing health spurs her to write her memoirs.
Siobhan Daiko has written a very engaging story of love, vengeance and hate in this gripping novel of a survivor of the occupation. Sabotage and disruption of supply lines to the Germans by the resistance caused quick retribution and killings nearly every day. The Nazi’s showed no mercy to the Italian people after they surrendered and withdrew from the war in 1943.
This book is very engaging and evokes sympathy for the people trapped in a war from which they wanted to withdraw. The characters are well developed and powerful in their beliefs. Enjoy the adventure! 4.5 stars – CE Williams
Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with the opportunity to read and review this book.
Rosepoint Publishing: Four point Five Stars
Genre: Historical Italian Fiction, Historical German Fiction, Historical European Fiction
Publisher: Asolando Books
Print Length: 360 pages
Publication Date: June 29, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: The Girl from Bologna [Amazon]
The Author: Siobhan Daiko is an international bestselling historical romantic fiction author. A lover of all things Italian, she lives in the Veneto region of northern Italy with her husband, a Havanese dog and two rescued cats. After a life of romance and adventure in Hong Kong, Australia and the UK, Siobhan now spends her time writing and living her best life near Venice.
You can find her on Facebook: Asolando Books, Twitter: @siobhandaiko and email: firstname.lastname@example.org
©2022 CE Williams – V Williams