The Italian Chapel is a story of forbidden love, lifelong friendships torn apart, despair and hope, set against the backdrop of the creation of a symbol that is known around the world.
Amidst strikes, conflicts and untold hardships, the Italian prisoners of war sent to a tiny Orkney island during World War II create a monument to the human spirit’s ability to lift itself above great adversity. One artist falls in love with a local Orkney woman and leaves a token of his love in the chapel. It is still there today and, until now, no-one has ever known its true meaning.
I loved this book, beautifully read by David Rintoul. First of all, it gives you an insight into what it was like to be an Italian POW sent to 'the end of the world' (as it appeared to them) , , , and a very cold wet one at that! More importantly, however, it tells of the endurance and ingenuity of the human spirit and the desire to create something meaningful and beautiful even when life seems very desolate. It tells of love, friendship and a growing understanding and respect not only between the POWs but also between the POWs and their guards or the Orcadians. I wanted to know what happened to the different characters after the war and was so glad that there was information about some of them. At the end, you just want to go and visit the Chapel which is now one of Orkneys favourite tourist sites. What better recommendation can their be for this little gem of a book.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
I loved every minute of it. Really fascinating story with engaging characters and well narrated.
I high recommend this audio book.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
The resilience and ingenuity of human beings is celebrated in this novel closely based on the true history of the construction of the Italian Chapel, from Nissen huts and anything to hand - mostly concrete, barbed wire and "up cycling", by Italian POWs captured in N Africa, then transported to an Orkney winter. The survival and preservation of the chapel when everything was demolished, and when similar ad hoc chapels were flattened, seems symbolic of human hope in adversity, much needed in ours, and every age.
The chapel is still to be found in Orkney today. It is beautiful and appears unexpectedly, in the place where it stood in 1945. A proud achievement of the Italian artists who created it. The story is well told here and any who have visited can feel the emotions of the story created by Philip Paris.
Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
I strongly recommended this medium-sized book.
It is very well read, by David Rintoul, who happens to be one of my favourites narrators.
The story is fascinating in its own right, has an interesting historical side but also is relaxing and very good for a late-night listen.
So nice to listen to book which has themes of friendship, ingenuity and building. Ironically the story takes place during the Second World War.
What did you like best about this story?
What about David Rintoul’s performance did you like?
He's a great narrator and was very well cast in this particular book
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
It's a little bit long for that
Any additional comments?