I am avid reader of Daniela Sacerdoti’s books and have read all her Glen Avich and Seal Island series. As you can see by that beautiful cover, her latest book is a departure from her Scottish based series and is set instead in Italy. It’s a dual time line story and begins when Callie gets a letter on her 21st birthday which changes all she thought she knew about her family. Callie lives in Texas and has spent most of her life in care after her parents died in a house fire when she was young. Despite having a difficult time, she has managed to become an independent young woman, has a job she enjoys, has her own small apartment and is saving to go to college. But the contents of the letter send her instead to a small village in Italy, Montevino.
Throughout the book Daniela Sacerdoti brought Italy vividly to life. It’s not surprising considering that she was born and brought up in Italy but the sense of place was just brilliantly done. The churches, cafes, village squares, old towns and mountain hamlets were so beautifully described. This is something I feel the author has a real talent for as that sense of place was so evident in her Glen Avich and Seal Island books too.
As well as the modern day story, there is a bit of a mystery from the past to be solved as Callie has been given a journal written by a female Italian doctor during the Second World War. Although she knows the name of the writer of the journal, Elisa, she does not know how she was connected to Callie’s family although she’s sure she must have been. Callie feels lots of connections to the past whether it’s through the old clothes she finds which belonged to the Stella women, or the people in the diary having similar dilemmas and feelings to her. There were lots of secrets to be uncovered from the diary, about Callie’s family and right into the present day with the villagers she meets and comes to know. It was lovely to read about her beginning to feel a real sense of belonging and of having found her place in Montevino and joining a long line of strong Stella women.
The part of the story set in World War Two was based on a real events and inspired by the author’s grandmother’s own memories of the war. Daniela Sacerdoti has woven the historical and contemporary strands of her story together beautifully. The result is a book with emotionally satisfying romances both in the past and present.
My thanks to Kim Nash at Bookouture for inviting me to take part in the tour and for my review copy via Netgalley. The Italian Villa is published today in paperback and ebook formats. You can order a copy online here: The Italian Villa
From the back of the book
Italy, 1938 – Elisa clings to Leo in the shadow of the Montevino mountains, the call to war ringing in her ears. They hatch a plan to wed in secret before Leo flees to the woods to join the resistance, and vow to find each other again when the war is over. But history has other plans…
Texas, present day – Callie Di Giacomo, a small-town waitress, is still reeling from the discovery that she’s adopted when she arrives in Montevino in search of answers about her real family – the keys to the stunning hillside villa she has just inherited clutched tightly in her hand. In her birthmother’s wardrobe grief-stricken Callie finds a diary belonging to a woman named Elisa Stella, one of Italy’s first ever female doctors, wrapped in pale blue ribbon.
Page by page, Callie is swept away by Elisa’s story, increasingly certain that their lives – and their fates – are somehow connected, and that the truth about her family is hidden somewhere within the crinkled yellow pages. But just when all the pieces look like they are falling into place, a devastating betrayal in the diary unlocks a heart-breaking secret about who Callie’s mother really is. Can Callie, like Elisa, find the light in her darkest moment and use it to spark a new future?
About the author
Daniela Sacerdoti is a phenomenon. Over one million copies of her novels have been sold in eBook, her debut novel Watch Over Me was the eighth bestselling Kindle book of all time in 2015 and she was also ranked as the eleventh top-selling Kindle author.
Daniela writes beautiful, haunting and bestselling fiction for adults (the Glen Avich series), young adults (the Sarah Midnight trilogy) and children. Her novels have been translated in twelve languages.
Daniela was born and raised in Italy. She studied Classics, then lived in Scotland for fourteen years, where she married and taught in a primary school. Daniela’s children’s book Really WeirdRemovals.Com was shortlisted for the Scottish Children’s Book Awards. She has also written for the BBC.
Daniela, her husband and their two sons make their home in a tiny village in the Alps. To discover more about Daniela and her world, visit http://www.danielasacerdoti.com