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Publisher's Summary

Set against the rich backdrop of World War II Italy, Garden of Letters captures the hope, suspense, and romance of an uncertain era, in an epic intertwining story of first love, great tragedy, and spectacular bravery.

Portofino, Italy, 1943. A young woman steps off a boat in a scenic coastal village. Although she knows how to disappear in a crowd, Elodie is too terrified to slip by the German officers while carrying her poorly forged identity papers. She is frozen until a man she's never met before claims to know her. In desperate need of shelter, Elodie follows him back to his home on the cliffs of Portofino.

Only months before, Elodie Bertolotti was a cello prodigy in Verona, unconcerned with world events. But when Mussolini's Fascist regime strikes her family, Elodie is drawn into the burgeoning resistance movement by Luca, a young and impassioned bookseller. As the occupation looms, she discovers that her unique musical talents, and her courage, have the power to save lives.

In Portofino, young doctor Angelo Rosselli gives the frightened and exhausted girl sanctuary. He is a man with painful secrets of his own, haunted by guilt and remorse. But Elodie's arrival has the power to awaken a sense of hope and joy that Angelo thought was lost to him forever.

©2014 Alyson Richman (P)2014 Penguin Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

My thoughts

This story went above my expectations. The narrator was absolutely wonderful, and my most memorable moment was when she failed the mission.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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Lovely

Although it started a bit slow I am happy I kept on with it. Beautiful story

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Eh, so so

Would you try another book from Alyson Richman and/or Elizabeth Sastre and Alyson Richman ?

Elizabeth Sastre is an excellent narrator.

Would you be willing to try another book from Alyson Richman? Why or why not?

Yeeeeeeaaaaaahhhh....I guess. I'd want to give her another chance. The story had potential, then sort of just fell apart at the end.

Any additional comments?

This book started off well. It was interesting, good character development. Towards the end it just fell apart, I didn't like the ending at all. I don't know, it kind of just left me wanting more. One thing I hated the entire book was her overuse of descriptive descriptions (if that makes any sense). It left one feeling unrelatable to the characters sometimes, because things were often just not described in a realistic way. Like, "he could see her reflection in her eyes." While you technically can, you're not seeing your own expression in someone else's eyes.

And, while the story should have only been spoken by the two main characters, she would jump to over to the person the main character was talking to and briefly describe the situation from their side of it, or explore how they were feeling, and then jump back to the main character.

There was lots of eye rolling from me throughout the book, but it wasn't irritating enough for me stop listening. The narration was excellent, and really saved the story.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Garden of Letters

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Definitely, first the novel was beautiful, second, the narrators were awesome.

What did you like best about this story?

The room of letters and how it's transformed in the end.

What about Elizabeth Sastre and Alyson Richman ’s performance did you like?

Both of them were so realistic, at times you could swear there was also a male narrator.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I DID! BEAUTIFUL BOOK!!!!!

Any additional comments?

This is a novel that you want to sit and savor.....

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A favorite!

I loved this tender work of heart! The author and narrator took me away to this time and place, and I loved every minute of it.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Words that make magical descriptions

I have read or listened to all of Alyson Richman's books but she has certainly topped herself with this one. Her descriptions are breathtaking and make every word come alive. The way Alyson is able to entwine beautiful music, true history of one of the world's most despicable times, together with love stories is unbelievable. The writing together with Elizabeth Sastre's narration make this a book that you don't want to put down.

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  • Janet
  • CASEY, IL, United States
  • 02-16-16

One of the best books I have read.

I really enjoyed this book. The characters really captivated me. Would highly recommend to everyone.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

fantastic

Love this author, and this book makes me love her more! wonderful story.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic Storyline. Ending Resolution Needs...

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

This left me hungry to learn more about the Italian perspective to WWII and their involvement. The love story was beautiful. Plot beautiful. Love scenes droned on and on and took way too much time on the love than tying up loose ends.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Garden of Letters?

The best memories are Husband's bond with his belated wife (extended family dissapeared after baby and mom dies...), african adopted child (what happened?) Viola and musical pieces were fantastic. Classic Book store. Chuck full of good stuff. stay in vienna was foggy and got lost for me.

Which scene was your favorite?

My favorite 'scene' is wrapping up the beginning scene and tying it into where it was in the book. (am I weird or what?).

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

I wanted more resolution. This left me with a sense of wanting to know: where's mom? How did she 'bounce back' so quickly to fall in love with the doctor (count days on the calendar to drop true love off the list and move over to a doctor).

Any additional comments?

I am glad the doctor never came off as a 'hero', but a servant of healing inside and out, that he was shrewd, but tender hearted. time to heal. Italian bookstore was fun!
Ditch the long steamy scenes; they took extra time from the plot.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Too slow

The story might be good...I don't know. It was very slowly paced and by 1/4 of the way through I realized unfortunately that I just didn't care enough to keep going. Sorry but I don't recommend this one.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Petra 🤗📚📓🖋📮
  • 01-22-16

a heart wrenching read

What made the experience of listening to The Garden of Letters the most enjoyable?

The story of the main characters was told in separate time lines, as you follow the main character you find out what brings Elodie on her journey from her home in Verona to Portofino where she meets the one man she has to trust with her life.

What other book might you compare The Garden of Letters to, and why?

There is no book I could compare it too, as it really has a story of its own. This for me was a new look at the Second World War, I loved how Elodie's love of music was the main strength of the main story.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

I loved the whole book, mainly because of the narrator as she brought Italy to me as a listener I missed nothing of the main story. I loved how the author through her vivid and wonderful writing I was able to hear Elodie playing her cello as the descriptions were simply perfect.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Breathtaking!

Any additional comments?

This is a story which truly brought the Second World War alive though this showed Italy through the war. The cruelty of the Nazis was evident but yet the bravery of the characters was so much more.