It’s hard to lose a parent. It is ten times harder to lose that parent during war, when death and destruction are the new normal.
Anita Abriel‘s new novel, A Girl During the War: A Novel, takes place in Italy during World War II. Marina Tozzi is a young lady living in Rome with her widowed father in 1943. After he is killed for sheltering a Jewish artist, she escapes to a villa in Florence owned by a family friend. The city has become known for a homegrown rebellion against its German occupiers. Trained in art history, Marina uses her skills to help the partisans save her country and protect/hide artistic works from being taken to Germany. She also falls for Carlos, who lives next door to her.
When he disappears, she believes that their future life together was just a dream. Believing him to be dead, Marina moves halfway around the world once peace has been declared. Then she runs into Carlos and everything she knew turns upside down once more.
I loved this book. Abriel, as she did with her previous novels, takes both the readers and the characters on a heart-pounding journey. I was immediately drawn into this world and taken by the hand into a story of a young woman who comes of age in a time that would test the toughest of souls. In a sense, her survival and her fight are ours as well. It is a reminder that we can fight against fascism and hate. We just need to heart, the brains, and the balls to do so.
Do I recommend it? Absolutely.
A Girl During the War: A Novel is available wherever books are sold.