Firstly I must rave about Caroline Lee as narrator, she's amazing! Her command of Italian names and phrases wowed me with each such word spoken. She has the incredible talent of speaking with the voices of all the characters with such credibility that the narrator disappears and the characters come alive. The best narrator I have ever heard.
The accounts of Italy under Mussolini and during WW II were chilling. I wanted to know more and did some research on my own. We have heard so little of Italy's involvement during the war. This was quite an eye opener.
The scene with Luciano in the tunnel moved me the most. What an incredible story.
The title belies the breadth and depth of the book, but i like its subtlety.
This is by far the best audible experience that I have had and the best book I have every 'read'.
yes, loved listening. couldn't wait to start listening again.
When Luchiano sacrificed himself to save Rosa
no, it took a couple of weeks while commuting in my car. Made the trip faster.
No. The reviews were misleading and I did not expect this kind of a story and will certainly avoid this author in the future. The narration was good, but I could not finish this weepy, predictible story. It was boring and offers nothing new.
I would never have read the book. Caroline Lee is the only thing worth while about this story
Worst choice I ever made.
The story has a promising beginning, however disappoints in many ways. Many predictable turns in it. Unrealistic in the naivety of the main character who at the same time has abundant knowledge of the world having grown up in a sheltered community of the Monastery with nuns as the only contact.
It attempts at conveying historical events of the Italian involvement in the second world war, but somehow does not ring true.
It is unnecessarily long and boring at times.
I had read 2 other books of this author White gardenia and Wild Lavender. This book has disappointed me in comparison. Lacks the atmosphere of the others.
I read so I can write
Ms. Alexander has provided a very personal look at the history of the lives of Italians during the era of Mussolini and Hitler. It is a realistic look at what war does to individuals. Well written and well narrated, the story while long, is never boring. I wanted to finish it but at the same time didn't want it to end. Excellent work!
Say something about yourself!
I wish I had saved this book for the long winter days. But I bought it on sale and I love Caroline Lee's narration. It is such a wonderfully written, with time appropriate horrors....I normally cannot enjoy a book in which women can be treated badly but the heroine in this book is truly that. I cannot imagine the amount of research that went into this book. I applaud this writer. Belinda Alexandra wrote an indepth interesting book that kept you in it. I didn't "love" everything in this book but it was the horror of that time and it made the gentle, the beauty stand out that much more. That grain of God that shows itself in the development of a baby, a girl, a woman, a mother. Man's inhumanity to man is appalling, disgusting but she wrote a book you can know it, read it, and still pray for these characters to make it thru. Wow, it was just so well done. For me, a listener, only Kate Morton, maybe Ann Patchett have written books with this detail. For me it is like watching a movie it plays in my head with this fabulous narrator. Also, it has that touch of the magical. I didn't mean to leave that out. She truly was a Tuscan Rose but this title belies the depth and scope of the book.
I love Caroline Lee as a narrator -- she's one of my faves! I picked this book because I had listened to The Silver Wattle and found it to be an interesting book. Yes, Belinda Alexandra is a talented writer, but I couldn't get past the "in your face" animal rights/vegetarian agenda. Give me a break! I constantly found myself rolling my eyes. It was a prominent theme in The Silver Wattle, but in this story it's just ridiculous. I stopped listening after hearing the line, "I'm seeing the spirits that have been killed to satisfy people's vanity and gluttony... the church taught that animals didn't have souls or personalities, which is why Christians didn't have any qualms about killing them."
Give me a break. Humans were meant to eat meat -- the reason we have incisor teeth. A few lines here and there or a statement as part of the dialog is one thing. But the book has too much of this crap. I won't be listening to a Belinda Alexandra again. I listen for enjoyment, not to be swayed by a political or social agenda.
I will, however, be looking for other Caroline Lee narrated novels...
Of course! I really loved it. I think it is interesting to read a book that is set in Mussolini's Italy and the characters and their relationships between them is beautifully described. I was sad when the book ended.
I liked that it was set in Italy before and during the war. I am a history teacher, and thus very interested in history. This story told about an era that has been described in many books, but I have never read one from Mussolini's Italy.
Yes! More than one, but I can't reveal them because it would reveal too much of the story and parts of the ending. But this is a story set in times of war, and many of the main characters are partisans. It goes without saying that they experience both dramatic and sad moments.
This book absolutely captivated and broke my heart all at the same time. We have all learned the history of dictatorships in school but I think it's rather eye opening to put a more personal spin on how an average person may have lived under the regime of one. This book explores Italy in the time of Mussolini with strong heroine who struggles as an orphan raised in a convent, enemy of the state, unwed mother, war nurse, and freedom fighter... Her character is so well thought out and developed that you can't help to walk the journey she is on even though at times, it's devastating. The historic facts well researched all seem so plausible which I think is what makes the book so heavy. Also, it fascinates me to understand how other countries were impacted by world events such as WWII. There was some mysticism to the book as well that was not over the top and kind of cool.
My only complaints were that the narrator was reading somewhere near a train and you often heard it's horn which was distracting. I also didn't like one of the plot twists about the mother of our heroine, i just didn't think it was necessary.