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The Italian Girl's Secret: An absolutely gripping and emotional WW2 historical fiction novel

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Italy, 1943. In the hills outside Naples, the silver moon shines brightly on a whitewashed farmhouse. An urgent knock on the door breaks the silence: and in that moment, one young woman’s act of incredible bravery changes the course of the war. For Carmela del Bosco, a farm girl in a remote Italian village, sheltering an English spy is the most dangerous thing she could do. Italy, 1943. In the hills outside Naples, the silver moon shines brightly on a whitewashed farmhouse. An urgent knock on the door breaks the silence: and in that moment, one young woman’s act of incredible bravery changes the course of the war. For Carmela del Bosco, a farm girl in a remote Italian village, sheltering an English spy is the most dangerous thing she could do. If she’s caught by the fascists it would be the end, especially for her beloved grandmother sleeping soundly upstairs. But taking in the pleading brown eyes of the man calling himself Sebastiano slumped at her door, and his terrible injuries inflicted by the Nazi occupiers, Carmela remembers how Nonna always taught her right from wrong. Risking everything, she hides him in a ruined tower on the edge of the farm. Each day Carmela tends his wounds, and the passion that kindles between them is a light in the darkest time. Sebastiano has information that could end the war, and needs her help to send it. But tracking down fellow members of the resistenza in the mountains means risking her life and bringing danger to everyone she knows. Carmela knows she must find the courage to do what’s right for her country. But if she leaves the farm, will she ever see her beloved nonna again? And will her sacrifice tear her away from the only man she’s ever loved, forever? An absolutely stunning and heartbreaking historical novel about the impossible choices people are forced to make in wartime. Fans of The Nightingale, All the Light We Cannot See and Rhys Bowen will be captivated.


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Italy, 1943. In the hills outside Naples, the silver moon shines brightly on a whitewashed farmhouse. An urgent knock on the door breaks the silence: and in that moment, one young woman’s act of incredible bravery changes the course of the war. For Carmela del Bosco, a farm girl in a remote Italian village, sheltering an English spy is the most dangerous thing she could do. Italy, 1943. In the hills outside Naples, the silver moon shines brightly on a whitewashed farmhouse. An urgent knock on the door breaks the silence: and in that moment, one young woman’s act of incredible bravery changes the course of the war. For Carmela del Bosco, a farm girl in a remote Italian village, sheltering an English spy is the most dangerous thing she could do. If she’s caught by the fascists it would be the end, especially for her beloved grandmother sleeping soundly upstairs. But taking in the pleading brown eyes of the man calling himself Sebastiano slumped at her door, and his terrible injuries inflicted by the Nazi occupiers, Carmela remembers how Nonna always taught her right from wrong. Risking everything, she hides him in a ruined tower on the edge of the farm. Each day Carmela tends his wounds, and the passion that kindles between them is a light in the darkest time. Sebastiano has information that could end the war, and needs her help to send it. But tracking down fellow members of the resistenza in the mountains means risking her life and bringing danger to everyone she knows. Carmela knows she must find the courage to do what’s right for her country. But if she leaves the farm, will she ever see her beloved nonna again? And will her sacrifice tear her away from the only man she’s ever loved, forever? An absolutely stunning and heartbreaking historical novel about the impossible choices people are forced to make in wartime. Fans of The Nightingale, All the Light We Cannot See and Rhys Bowen will be captivated.

30 review for The Italian Girl's Secret: An absolutely gripping and emotional WW2 historical fiction novel

  1. 4 out of 5

    Brenda

    Italy 1943, and Carmela del Bosco lived on their tomato farm with her Nonna, where it was situated not far from Naples. It was dark, late one night when she heard noises outside. Her brother had a badly wounded man he wanted her to hide – just one night he said. But that one night would be the beginning of a long and drawn-out list of terrifying events which would shape Carmela’s future. When Carmela’s cousin, Tino, one of the Blackshirts and a person she hated, discovered the stranger, it was sh Italy 1943, and Carmela del Bosco lived on their tomato farm with her Nonna, where it was situated not far from Naples. It was dark, late one night when she heard noises outside. Her brother had a badly wounded man he wanted her to hide – just one night he said. But that one night would be the beginning of a long and drawn-out list of terrifying events which would shape Carmela’s future. When Carmela’s cousin, Tino, one of the Blackshirts and a person she hated, discovered the stranger, it was sheer luck that Tino was injured, and the stranger escaped. Carmelo wondered if she’d see him again. But the loss of her beloved dog Renzo, was occupying her thoughts and when she discovered him starving and close to death at the back of Tino’s place she was furious. Rescuing Renzo led her to being ordered from the farm, abandoning Nonna and heading for Naples and her father. With the Germans on every corner, Naples wasn’t safe. But her father’s old retainer was still there, loyal as ever, her father the same, and a person who was sheltering from the Germans, Sebastiano, exhaustion covering his features, was also there. The next months would be the most dangerous in their lives with the Germans determined to murder everyone and the resistance determined to kill the Germans. What would happen to Carmela and Renzo? Would she ever see her Nonna again? Would the war ever end? The Italian Girl’s Secret is an exceptional historical fiction novel by Natalie Meg Evans which I loved. Full of action, with courage and bravery on show, the horrors of what the Germans delighted in doing, along with the selfless acts of daring, and the spur of the moment decisions that needed making, filled this book. Heartbreaking and heartwarming, The Italian Girl’s Secret is one I recommend highly. But be warned, the blurb is misleading and incorrect in places. With thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my digital ARC to read in exchange for an honest review.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Redhead Haze

    "I know. People in Naples will betray secrets for the price of a loaf of bread." "What is the price of a loaf of bread?" Don Gonzago asked Tomaso. "A good pair of shoes, an hour of rumpy-pumpy or a small Rembrandt, Signor. Our currency's gone to pot." Firstly, I'd like to thank NetGalley and Bookouture for sending me this ARC. It was the love story I needed without knowing and the historical fiction about World War Two that captured me entirely and gently, stealing my breath without breaking my he "I know. People in Naples will betray secrets for the price of a loaf of bread." "What is the price of a loaf of bread?" Don Gonzago asked Tomaso. "A good pair of shoes, an hour of rumpy-pumpy or a small Rembrandt, Signor. Our currency's gone to pot." Firstly, I'd like to thank NetGalley and Bookouture for sending me this ARC. It was the love story I needed without knowing and the historical fiction about World War Two that captured me entirely and gently, stealing my breath without breaking my heart. Sounds like a dreamlike love story, right? Well, that was exactly what me and this novel shared. "The sky told two stories. Far to the south, smoke and flame marked the theatre of violence but here, perching high above Naples Bay, the night was alive with stars." 》》The Plot 《《 The story follows Carmela, a young woman living with her Nonna in a town on the outskirts of Naples, tending to their farm and trying to survive the war. One night, Danielo, her half-brother, shows up with a severely wounded man, asking her to take him in and hide him. Despite the risks and her self-preservation instincts, Carmela agrees, thus changing the course of her life, exchanging the little safety provided by her country life for secrets, rebellious acts and the possibility of a better world. "How do you know I did?" "It's what women do. Interfere at crucial moments." 》》The Characters《《 The characters were wonderfully portrayed, with ease and patience, making them not only relatable and believable, but also lovable. Carmela, the kindness and bravery of the unknown hero, Sebastiano, a mystery waiting to be unrevealed and Danielo, the vivid image of the unshakable belief in freedom were the perfect recipe for heart-stealing protagonists. Adding side characters like Nonna, Zeffiro, Gio and Don Gonzago made the italian picture even more accentuate and the ever constant presence of Carmela's four-legged friends, Renzo and Nearco, brought sugar and spice and I enjoyed it immensely. "A street sweeper said you'd probably been executed in a prison courtyard." "This is Naples. Everyone has an opinion." Ever since I've read 'The Nightingale' and 'The Girl You Left Behind', I knew I was in love with historical fiction about WW2. Unlike the two books I have mentioned, this one puts the story into a new perspective, as it was very different from what I was expecting. Apart from the fact that I learned a few things about Italy and it's history, I was also delighted to discover a touching romance. This book wasn't focused so much on the hurt, the carnage, the battles that left a bloody trail on our history and this helped keep a somewhat light mood, even when the scenes were anything but happy. It was a wonderful love story intertwined with the events that led to the liberation of Naples during WW2, described in such a way that kept you utterly fascinated. "Who wants to care passionately for someone who is in so much peril? Still, it's the best aphrodisiac - don't ever let anyone fob you off with oysters." I loved the blooming romance, the fast paced writing style that didn’t bore with dead action but also did not rush things, the pitoresque of some side characters and the new angle on WW2 novels. I definitely recommend this to historical fiction fans and also to people who want to dive into this genre but are not prepared for the brutality and harsh truths of books like 'The Tattooist of Auschwitz'. "I want the Germans out of Italy." "As do I." "But I'm prepared to die for it. As are my friends." "I'm prepared to live, Danielo."

  3. 5 out of 5

    theliterateleprechaun

    Carmela del Bosco and her 72-year-old nonna, Roasaria Cortazzi, live on the family farm, La Casale, in the hills above Naples. Carmela is well aware of the toll the war has had on her village, Santa Maria della Vedetta. The hills around the farm are full of Italian troops who’ve deserted their units after hearing about Italy’s recent surrender to the Allies and Naples is crawling with Fascists and the German military. She knows to be vigilant, yet the moment she answers the door to her ½ brother Carmela del Bosco and her 72-year-old nonna, Roasaria Cortazzi, live on the family farm, La Casale, in the hills above Naples. Carmela is well aware of the toll the war has had on her village, Santa Maria della Vedetta. The hills around the farm are full of Italian troops who’ve deserted their units after hearing about Italy’s recent surrender to the Allies and Naples is crawling with Fascists and the German military. She knows to be vigilant, yet the moment she answers the door to her ½ brother, Danielo Vincenzo, in the middle of the night, she knows she’s made a mistake. Danielo is a partisan fighter and he’s brought an injured ‘friend,’ Sebastiano ‘Sebb’ Alonso, who needs to be hidden from the enemy. Although she’s only agreed to hiding him for one night, she’s well aware that it may cost her dearly. The price is high – she’s forced to leave La Casale when her Nazi supporting cousins, Tino and Santo Cortazzi, find out. The cousins, predatory Mussolini supporters who are high-ranking Blackshirts, take everything dear to her in one fell swoop and she heads for her father, Don Gonazgo’s, palazzo in Naples. It’s here that she meets up with an old friend and finds herself caught up in political intrigue and resistance activities against the Fascist regime. You’ll need to read to find out what happens to Carmela and see if her journey reunites her with the man she loves or if the war comes between them. What a gripping story! This immersive tale highlights the struggles of wartime and shows how lines are drawn within families, between friends and between neighbours depending on which side is supported. With amazing attention to detail, meticulous research and an obvious love of the era, Evans has shown the plight of the Italian people and the toll of wartime. She’s crafted characters who readers will care about and who will be in awe of their endurance, determination and courage as she takes them through the trials of living in a warzone. Carmella’s endearing devotion to her Nonna, to her dog, Renzo and to her donkey, Nearco is heartwarming. Sebastiano’s frustrating behaviour and tough exterior only mask his yearning for love and freedom. Evans reminds us that in wartime people live differently – intensely – because they are never sure if today is their last. Readers have to keep that in mind when considering the actions of the Neapolitans. They want the same things as the rest of us, they just go about it differently; both in their expression of their needs and in gaining what they want. I loved Carmela and Sebastian’s heart-stopping journey. It was gripping, captivating, addictive, full of intrigue, suspense, and twists…and I couldn’t set it down! Publishes September 10, 2021. I was gifted this advance copy by Natalie Meg Evans, Bookouture and NetGalley and was under no obligation to provide a review.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Tejomai (bible_and_books)

    Truly, this book was so so good... It's an enthralling enigma until you know all that's going to happen and you really don't know what's going to happen next ... I was so deeply drawn from the first page to the last that I Haven't even got up to eat 😂 This wartime story and romance gripped me so much... It shows 🔹how every single decision matters 🔹How you can't trust anyone and have to trust the right ones to survive & save 🔹 It's constant pace of moving made it a fast read but still there's so muc Truly, this book was so so good... It's an enthralling enigma until you know all that's going to happen and you really don't know what's going to happen next ... I was so deeply drawn from the first page to the last that I Haven't even got up to eat 😂 This wartime story and romance gripped me so much... It shows 🔹how every single decision matters 🔹How you can't trust anyone and have to trust the right ones to survive & save 🔹 It's constant pace of moving made it a fast read but still there's so much you have learn and so many secret rules you have to follow to act normal This book takes you through the story of an Italian girl Caramela and an English Spy Sebestian who tries to save the allied soldiers . Oh my!! The anticipation just got into me as I started reading it... The characters have true depth , the story line was amazing , the turn of events and decisions was so well written ... The romance and another chance at true love was endearing watching all that the characters went through in life individually, this book also shows you how important family is and sometimes how hard it is. I really enjoyed this book, I highly recommend this book to everyone .. it's absolutely gripping and worth the read Specially recommende for historical fiction and WW2 fiction readers

  5. 4 out of 5

    Robin Loves Reading

    It is Italy, 1943, and the world is in the grips of World War II. Carmela is living a quiet life on her nonna's tomato farm when asked by illegitimate half-brother Danielo to hide a fugitive named Sebastiano. Carmela reluctantly agrees, despite knowing that the Germans will kill anyone in their path considered an enemy. There is now change at every turn for Carmela, including the cruel and vengeful attention from her second cousin Tino. So, not only must Carmela hide Sebastiano from the Germans, It is Italy, 1943, and the world is in the grips of World War II. Carmela is living a quiet life on her nonna's tomato farm when asked by illegitimate half-brother Danielo to hide a fugitive named Sebastiano. Carmela reluctantly agrees, despite knowing that the Germans will kill anyone in their path considered an enemy. There is now change at every turn for Carmela, including the cruel and vengeful attention from her second cousin Tino. So, not only must Carmela hide Sebastiano from the Germans, but from Tino as well. Soon Sebastiano escapes and then Carmela is forced to flee to Naples to the home of her estranged father. It is in her father's home that Carmela again meets Sebastiano. In this riveting story of the resistance in Italy, there is danger facing Carmela and Sebastiano. His work as a spy is more dangerous than ever, and Carmela finds herself fighting as best she can, despite times when betrayal plays a cruel hand. Carmela is a fabulous character, and her love for her dog Renzo all but broke my heart. Of course her donkey Nearco was impressive as well, and played a small role when it came to their safety. Sebastiano was incredibly strong, despite bearing many wounds and a betrayal that floored him. The Nazi occupation was awful for anyone concerned. The level of cruelty was so heartbreaking, but the level of bravery shown in this story was incredible. The fact that Carmela and Sebastiano could find love amidst the darkness was incredibly touching. Borne of war and many of its devastating effects, The Italian Girl's Secret is a touching story of a war-time romance. However, it is far, far more. This is a story of bravery, sadness, horror and death. Many thanks to Bookouture and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Shirley McAllister

    Somewhere in Italy The time is 1943, the place is a small village in Italy on a tomato farm in the country. A young Italian girl , Carmela , answers a knock on the door. She finds her brother and an injured soldier that speaks English. Risking everything she hides him in an abandoned watchtower on the farm. This is how the story starts, it is not how it ends. When a member of her family betrays them to the German's they must risk their lives to escape. This is a story of the resistance in Italy. G Somewhere in Italy The time is 1943, the place is a small village in Italy on a tomato farm in the country. A young Italian girl , Carmela , answers a knock on the door. She finds her brother and an injured soldier that speaks English. Risking everything she hides him in an abandoned watchtower on the farm. This is how the story starts, it is not how it ends. When a member of her family betrays them to the German's they must risk their lives to escape. This is a story of the resistance in Italy. Groups of young men determined to oust the German's from their country. One feisty Italian girl and one S.O.E. soldier named Sebastiano. The soldier has a message that needs to be sent to help win the war against the German's. He needs to find the resistance to help send the message. Carmela vows to help. The travels, the hiding, the near escapes are nothing but breathtaking. Then as the moment arrives to send the message Carmela realizes that the message could destroy her village and the life she knows. Will she help send it ? I love the story and the characters, the dog Renzo, the donkey and the family members that helped and the ones that betrayed. They all played a part in the story. It is a story of Love and hate and war. A story of family a fight for a country they all loved. A story of a proud people and a brutal Nazi occupation that they vowed to overthrow at all costs. Tragedy and loss come with love and understanding. You will laugh and cry and hold your breath reading this book. I hope you enjoy the book as much as I did. I recommend this book. Thanks to Natalie Meg Evans, Bookouture, and NetGalley for allowing me to read a complimentary copy of the book for my honest review.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Nicola

    The time frame is 1943. The Italian Girl’s Secret is a heartbreaking and heartwarming war story about the resistance movement in Italy. Camela, a young Italian woman, is the main character. She lives in a small village where her family has a tomato farm as well as cows, chickens and goats. When she is forced into helping the resistance, she is unsure if it is the smartest thing to do. Will it cause problems for her Nonna and her? A story of tragedy… A story of overcoming adversity… A story of find The time frame is 1943. The Italian Girl’s Secret is a heartbreaking and heartwarming war story about the resistance movement in Italy. Camela, a young Italian woman, is the main character. She lives in a small village where her family has a tomato farm as well as cows, chickens and goats. When she is forced into helping the resistance, she is unsure if it is the smartest thing to do. Will it cause problems for her Nonna and her? A story of tragedy… A story of overcoming adversity… A story of finding true love… Highly recommend reading for historical fiction readers. Many thanks to NetGalley, the publisher and author for the opportunity to read this book for my honest opinion. All opinions expressed are my own.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Emma Crowley

    I’ve read a spate of books recently set in Italy during World War Two and I have to say The Italian Girls Secret by Natalie Meg Evans has definitely been the best of them by a mile. Right from the get go the author brings the reader straight into the action. There was no pointless preamble with a long drawn out introduction not relevant to the plot instead what needed to be explained was done as the story progressed and it worked very well. The plot was exceedingly well developed and executed wi I’ve read a spate of books recently set in Italy during World War Two and I have to say The Italian Girls Secret by Natalie Meg Evans has definitely been the best of them by a mile. Right from the get go the author brings the reader straight into the action. There was no pointless preamble with a long drawn out introduction not relevant to the plot instead what needed to be explained was done as the story progressed and it worked very well. The plot was exceedingly well developed and executed with a real strong opening, middle and end. There were no points at which the story dragged or became staid. Instead everything moved along at a fluid pace and my interest was held throughout and rose with each turn of the page as the intensity and sense of danger and urgency increased the more I delved deeper into the book. A tense and moving prologue sets the tone for the entire story and instantly the reader is on alert for what is about to unfold. The consequences of one man’s betrayal sets in motion a chain of events that makes for a very good read. Your heart is in your mouth as the prologue ends on a cliff-hanger and then we are taken to the countryside and hills outside of Naples where Carmela Del Bosco resides on a farm with her grandmother Rosario. Carmela has her own secret that is kept very tightly to her chest and just the right of information is supplied as to what the roots of her secret are. To be honest I could guess from the clues what said secret was and why she did what she did but it didn’t matter in the slightest that I guessed fairly early on. Carmela’s secret is something she is haunted by and she hasn’t moved on from it but it’s not the main focus of the story. It may form the title of this book but I felt it was there to explain what motivates her and why she feels a certain way and how its exposure would affect the general family dynamic rather be the overall dominant plot of the book as a whole. Family and upholding one’s reputation was everything in Italy and to go against the grain for whatever reason was severely frowned upon as was shown by the actions of Carmela’s cousin Tino who was an utter horror of a character. Carmela awakes one night as she hears a noise. Her half brother Danielo arrives with a person who needs refuge. Under the cover of darkness Sebastiano is taken to a tower on the farm. He is injured due to a betrayal and he has barely escaped with his life. Sebastiano works for the SOE and he has vital information that needs to be passed on but with no wireless operator nearby he has to set another plan in motion. He knows so many lives are at stake but he is determined said information will get through to those that need to hear it. Carmela is torn in two as to what to do as she knows if he is discovered than the repercussions for everyone will be severe. But Carmela has such strength and determination and she wants to do her best to help in any way she can. Over the course of the book she becomes aware as to what has been going on around her and more specifically in Naples where her father and Danielo reside. A bigger game is at play that she soon becomes a part of and Sebastiano takes her on an exhilarating and terrifying journey but I thought she was more than able for it. At times I felt people were trying to keep her out of the loop in order to protect her but I don’t think they always valued her worth. Rather they saw her as a woman who couldn’t do much but when Sebastiano is discovered, and they are forced to flee to Naples, the story became even more exciting and I was loving every minute of it. As I was reading I found Sebastiano to be a frustrating character because he was so elusive. I felt we never got to know him and his inner workings but on reflection he played his role brilliantly never giving anything away for to do so could endanger so many. I did feel the passion that developed between himself and Carmela but the overall driving force of trying to find the right source in order to pass on vital information was what drove the book on. All the other subplots flowed around it magnificently and the author had each strand of the story so carefully plotted and had everything come together in an amazing way that had me hooked. The setting whether it be at the farmhouse and the local village or in the city of Naples dominated by Germans and its residents living on a knife edge were so brilliantly described. I felt I was right there alongside Carmela and co as they forged ever onwards in the face of so much horror, brutality and of course a certain someone who wanted to think he held so much power over the overall situation. I cant’ fail to mention Renzo the dog and Nearco the donkey, so wonderfully apt for the story. It could have been laughable to feature a dog and a donkey but my god did it work well. I really enjoyed the fact that there wasn’t an awful lot of characters to keep track of. Whoever was mentioned was utilised so well and it was easy to understand what was going on. The secondary characters were well placed and valued and weren’t surplus to requirements as can often be the case. Every person had an important role to play and in the bigger web that was being woven they each played that role to perfection. Carmela, Sebastiano and all the others that featured were engaged in a battle of good against evil and were determined in any way possible to achieve this. Lives were constantly put on the line and no one gave a second thought to do this because they were all in it together with one aim in mind. To bring about the downfall of the Germans and have their country back again and to live in peace. The fact that romance does feature too only added to the story, it wasn’t too in your face. It didn’t need to be, it was evident what was unfolding but other more urgent matters took over but I was glad how this aspect of the story resolved itself. The Italian Girl's Secret in my mind sees Natalie Meg Evans return to the form of some of her earlier books which I thoroughly enjoyed. You could tell how much she enjoyed researching and writing this story. The reader is taken on an incredible journey with twists and turns, mystery, intrigue, danger and lots more and it’s definitely a book that I would recommend.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Annette

    This is a heartwarming love story set in and around Naples during World War 2. Carmela del Bosco lives with her Grandmother on a farm outside a small village. Between them they manage to keep it going despite the difficult wartime situation. One day Danielo, Carmela’s half- brother, brings an injured man to the farm and asks Carmela to hide him until he can be picked up by the resistance. It soon becomes clear that Sebastiano is not all he seems as, dosed up with morphine, he begins to speak Engl This is a heartwarming love story set in and around Naples during World War 2. Carmela del Bosco lives with her Grandmother on a farm outside a small village. Between them they manage to keep it going despite the difficult wartime situation. One day Danielo, Carmela’s half- brother, brings an injured man to the farm and asks Carmela to hide him until he can be picked up by the resistance. It soon becomes clear that Sebastiano is not all he seems as, dosed up with morphine, he begins to speak English. He is obviously an English agent which puts Carmela’s life in extreme danger, particularly with a fascist cousin and Nazis all around. Sebastiano has important information which he needs to send to the allies as they advance towards Italy and gradually, as Carmela is drawn to him and his mission, she tries to help. Estranged from her father she is eventually reunited with him when she is forced to flee the farm and as the story progresses she learns more about his life in Naples whilst they all face the scourge of the Nazis. I thought that the author portrayed the time period and the setting of Naples very well. It felt as if she knew the area and the people personally. She had definitely done her research. I loved Carmela, a strong woman, underestimated by her family who comes through time after time in the course of the novel. I could see the love story slowly developing, emphasised even more by the extreme danger the characters found themselves in and I was really hoping that they would both survive and that there would be a happy ending. Sebastiano could be infuriating at times but he was living under an assumed name in incredibly difficult circumstances so it was understandable. I even loved the animals in the book including Carmela’s dog Renzo and Nearco, the donkey who manages to pull them out of some sticky situations! This was an enjoyable read that both entertained me and transported me to another place and time. Definitely five stars and recommended. Thanks to NetGalley and Bookouture for my arc in exchange for an honest review.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    A knock on the door disturbs Carmela's quiet life with her Grandmother in their village near Naples. The war has literally arrived on her doorstep. Does she have the courage to join in the war effort...? Carmela hides a dark and bitter secret, and she is in danger from her Fascist cousins. Her half-brother requests her to hide an injured man, but who is he and what are his secrets? Carmela's agreement to hide him takes her on a gripping journey which requires all the bravery that she can muster, A knock on the door disturbs Carmela's quiet life with her Grandmother in their village near Naples. The war has literally arrived on her doorstep. Does she have the courage to join in the war effort...? Carmela hides a dark and bitter secret, and she is in danger from her Fascist cousins. Her half-brother requests her to hide an injured man, but who is he and what are his secrets? Carmela's agreement to hide him takes her on a gripping journey which requires all the bravery that she can muster, but does she also have the strength of character to welcome love? This book grips from the very first moment. Every time I stopped reading, I wondered how Carmela was getting on, and what she was doing in her race to help defeat the Nazis, and whether she would fall in love! I was so sorry to finish it. I received this free ebook from NetGalley in return for an honest review.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Hannah

    WHOA! this book literally had me on the edge of my seat the entire time. there is not a chapter in this book that is boring or ‘calm’. the war theme is very prevalent in this book so if you don’t like that then don’t bother but for me it made this story amazing! the little bit of romance meant it was well balanced. i really can’t recommend this book enough there isn’t one fault with it if i could give it 100 stars i would!!!!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Renita D'Silva

    Beautiful. Poignant. Heart breaking. Heart warming. Thought provoking. So beautifully written. This author is a master storyteller.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Charlotte Haigh

    Slow start but the second half of the book was quite gripping. Good characterisation and lots of sub plots and story lines as the main plot unravelled. I would recommend reading. It is not an average war story, rather focusing on those affected by war away from the front line fighting.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Joanna Park

    4.5 stars I’m a huge fan of this author’s books so when I was given an opportunity to read her latest book I was incredibly excited. The Italian Girl’s Secret was an immersive, gripping read that I thoroughly enjoyed. I have always enjoyed books that are set in the second world war, especially as there are always new areas to explore and new things to learn. This book was no exception and I enjoyed learning more about events that helped lead to the liberation of Naples. One of the things I most l 4.5 stars I’m a huge fan of this author’s books so when I was given an opportunity to read her latest book I was incredibly excited. The Italian Girl’s Secret was an immersive, gripping read that I thoroughly enjoyed. I have always enjoyed books that are set in the second world war, especially as there are always new areas to explore and new things to learn. This book was no exception and I enjoyed learning more about events that helped lead to the liberation of Naples. One of the things I most liked about this book is that it isn’t just full of the more heartbreaking moments of the war and instead focuses on the ordinary citizens daily struggles and their bravery which was great to read about. It was interesting to learn more about what daily life was like for Italian citizens and how family and neighbours where often on different sides of the conflict which I hadn’t really considered before. The two main characters Carmela and Sebastiano were great main characters who I enjoyed following throughout the book. I loved how the author spent time letting the reader get to know the characters, so that they started to feel like old friends. This help them seem very realistic but also helped ensure I was firmly on their side. The love story between Carmela and Sebastiano was absolutely beautiful to watch unfold and I found I had to keep reading to find out what happens between them. Overall I really enjoyed this book and found the book very hard to put down. I think I went through every emotion as I read sadness, horror at what was happening and huge admiration for the amazing bravery of the resistance and the everyday citizens. There was lots of twists that kept me reading and the descriptions where so vivid that I felt like I was actually there watching everything unfold. I lost track of time whilst reading as I was so caught up in everything that was happening. Huge thanks to Noelle from Bookouture for inviting me onto the blog tour and for my copy of this book via netgalley.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Samadhee Ismail

    Checklist Is the historical fiction based on WWII? Check Is it based about the brave women during WWII? Check Did I enjoy the novel? Absolutely check! Set in Naples in 1943, the story starts with a girl named Carmela who hides an English spy named Sebastiano who happened to be the half brother of Danielo. Italy is a fascist country and a firm Nazi supporter so if Carmela is caught, she will be sentenced to death. The story talks about this brave woman, who risked her own life to help the English spy Checklist Is the historical fiction based on WWII? Check Is it based about the brave women during WWII? Check Did I enjoy the novel? Absolutely check! Set in Naples in 1943, the story starts with a girl named Carmela who hides an English spy named Sebastiano who happened to be the half brother of Danielo. Italy is a fascist country and a firm Nazi supporter so if Carmela is caught, she will be sentenced to death. The story talks about this brave woman, who risked her own life to help the English spy . I have to say, I really like the author's style of writing. The vivid descriptions of the places in Naples and around Italy makes me as a reader feel like I am in the part of this story with Carmella. I really like the plot of the story and it always amazed me these brave young women like Carmella would risk their own lives to fight against the Nazis. As a result, the author did a good job writing this story beautifully. I do like the names of the dog and donkey--Renzo the dog. Overall, this story is captivating, emotional that will draw you the reader to the story! Another thing I liked about this book is the slow budding romance between Carmella and Sebastiano. If you want to read a book based on WWII, I would highly recommend this book--will not leave you disappointed! Thank you Netgalley and Bookouture for the ARC. The review is based on my honest opinion only.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Caroline|Page~Turners

    It’s 1943 and the war rages on through Europe. Carmela del Bosco lives a quiet life at her grandmother’s remote farmhouse. Carmela is asked by her brother Danielo to hide a fugitive Sebastiano at her house. Reluctantly she agrees even though she knows that the Germans will kill anyone that they think is an enemy. She takes the risk and everyday Carmela tends to Sebastiano’s injuries while keeping him rested, fed, clothed and bathed. As she and Sebastiano develop friendship and a bond, she knows It’s 1943 and the war rages on through Europe. Carmela del Bosco lives a quiet life at her grandmother’s remote farmhouse. Carmela is asked by her brother Danielo to hide a fugitive Sebastiano at her house. Reluctantly she agrees even though she knows that the Germans will kill anyone that they think is an enemy. She takes the risk and everyday Carmela tends to Sebastiano’s injuries while keeping him rested, fed, clothed and bathed. As she and Sebastiano develop friendship and a bond, she knows that they are each other’s hope to make it through the darkest days of their lives. When Sebastiano escapes Carmela is forced to run away to Naples to live in her estranged father’s home. This story was absolutely amazing, beautiful and gave a wonderful example of people helping each other when they need it the most. I enjoyed the character of Carmela so much. She was like an old friend that I’ve known for years. There was such a connection with storyline, the author pulls you into the story at the very first page. Thank you Natalie Meg Evans for such a heartbreaking and riveting story. I felt as if I wanted to reach out and walk side by side with the characters. The hope that the people had during those horrible times was so amazing. I had such compassion for them. This phenomenal story is a must read and I highly recommend this book.

  17. 4 out of 5

    April

    It all began with a knock on the door, and Carmela del Bosco’s half-brother, Danielo, seeking her help in hiding someone for just one night, Sebastiano. When it is discovered that Carmela is hiding someone, not only is Sebastiano’s life in danger, but so is Carmela’s and her nonna’s. After Carmela makes sure her nonna is in a safe place, she takes off for Naples and refuge with her father. Not long after her arrival, she learns that her father is acquainted with Sebastiano and is helping the under It all began with a knock on the door, and Carmela del Bosco’s half-brother, Danielo, seeking her help in hiding someone for just one night, Sebastiano. When it is discovered that Carmela is hiding someone, not only is Sebastiano’s life in danger, but so is Carmela’s and her nonna’s. After Carmela makes sure her nonna is in a safe place, she takes off for Naples and refuge with her father. Not long after her arrival, she learns that her father is acquainted with Sebastiano and is helping the underground fighters try to defeat the Germans. What transpires during the rest of this novel is an amazing example of how determined the Italian people were to not give up and to keep Germany from completely taking over their beloved country. The sacrifices made by Carmela and her father in an effort to protect Sebastiano’s identity and aid his fellow fighters left me speechless. I found myself completely absorbed as this novel took me to various locations in the countryside of Italy and gave me an idea of what Italy faced during WWII. This setting is not one often explored during this time period and I am so glad to have gotten the chance to read this book. I highly recommend this book to people who love historical fiction set in WWII and who are curious about what things were like in Italy. Thank you to NetGalley, Bookouture, and author Natalie Meg Evans for a copy of this book in exchange for a review. All opinions expressed here are my own.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Desiree

    a couple of months ago I read another story set in Naples during September / October 1943 when the inhabitants op Naples liberated themselves from the Germans. So when Netgalley offered me an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review I didn't need long to think about it. This book tells the story of Carmela del Bosco, a 27 year old woman who has returned to her grandmothers farm when her English fiancé had died before the start of the second World War. Carmela tries to keep the farm worki a couple of months ago I read another story set in Naples during September / October 1943 when the inhabitants op Naples liberated themselves from the Germans. So when Netgalley offered me an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review I didn't need long to think about it. This book tells the story of Carmela del Bosco, a 27 year old woman who has returned to her grandmothers farm when her English fiancé had died before the start of the second World War. Carmela tries to keep the farm working but has to struggle against the opposition of her fascist cousins. When she hides Sebastiano, a spy that has been brought to the farm by her half-brother, she gets into deep trouble and eventually has to flee to her fathers house in Naples, leaving her grandmother with an aunt and the farm in the clutches of her cousins. In Naples she meets Sebastiano again and she starts helping the partisans and, together with the "Scrugnitzi", the Neapolitan street rascals, they play an important role during the liberation of Naples. This book kept me enthralled during it's 300+ pages and I found it very difficult to put down. Loved the characters, even-though I found Carmel a bit overly naive at times. Well written en easy to read, but also well documented. I highly recommend it.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Laurie

    Thoroughly enjoyed this book – a WWII story told from the perspective of a young woman Carmela, who lives with her grandmother in the Italian countryside just outside of Naples. They work the land, as they try to hang onto the family farm, even though Carmela’s Fascist cousins have made it clear that they want and deserve the land. Late one night Carmela’s half-brother brings a wounded friend to the house to shelter for the night. Soon Carmela realizes the wounded friend, Sebastiano “Sebbe” is Thoroughly enjoyed this book – a WWII story told from the perspective of a young woman Carmela, who lives with her grandmother in the Italian countryside just outside of Naples. They work the land, as they try to hang onto the family farm, even though Carmela’s Fascist cousins have made it clear that they want and deserve the land. Late one night Carmela’s half-brother brings a wounded friend to the house to shelter for the night. Soon Carmela realizes the wounded friend, Sebastiano “Sebbe” is working for the resistance with the wire operators, providing the allies with much needed information. As she becomes more involved in the resistance operations, she must leave the relative safety of the farm, and step into the unknown. At the heart of the story is a young woman learning what it means to live in the present without giving up her past that shaped her into the person she is and finding the courage to set a new path for herself. A compelling book- I look forward to reading more from this author.

  20. 5 out of 5

    J_McA 251

    I am a huge fan of this author’s work (see links to my reviews for previous books at the end of this review). She always manages to create wholly realized scenes that make it seem as if the reader is watching a movie. She also has a unique writing style that makes it possible to smell and feel the same things as the characters. This book is no exception. I thought the story was a good one. It captured the urgency of the time (and the mission) but also allowed the reader to fully embrace the Ital I am a huge fan of this author’s work (see links to my reviews for previous books at the end of this review). She always manages to create wholly realized scenes that make it seem as if the reader is watching a movie. She also has a unique writing style that makes it possible to smell and feel the same things as the characters. This book is no exception. I thought the story was a good one. It captured the urgency of the time (and the mission) but also allowed the reader to fully embrace the Italian countryside. Descriptions like that of a bubbling pot of tomato sauce that fills a kitchen with the scents of garlic and basil are easy for readers to imagine which in turn makes it easy to put themselves right in the action. It also conveys the simplicity of life that did continue even during the fraught days of 1943 WWII Italy. Highly recommend. For more details, please visit Fireflies and Free Kicks. This review was written based on a digital copy of the book from Bookouture.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Stacey Miller

    I’m a sucker for a WW2 novel. The fact that this one was set in Italy and dealt with a bit of a different piece of the history was an added bonus. The ever shifting balance of power between the Germans and the Black shirts and the added level of fear and pressure it placed on the Italian people is not something often talked about but an important piece of history. The beauty of this novel was in the characters. Each on played a role, different yet crucial to the war story being told. Natalie Meg I’m a sucker for a WW2 novel. The fact that this one was set in Italy and dealt with a bit of a different piece of the history was an added bonus. The ever shifting balance of power between the Germans and the Black shirts and the added level of fear and pressure it placed on the Italian people is not something often talked about but an important piece of history. The beauty of this novel was in the characters. Each on played a role, different yet crucial to the war story being told. Natalie Meg Evans did an excellent job of bringing the characters to life, showing us what they were thinking and feeling and how each wrestled with the decisions they made along the way. A story of love and humanity, of fear and hope, I would recommend this book to all historical fiction readers. Thanks to NetGalley for my advanced copy!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

    Such a great story of how WW2 changed so many lives. What you take for granted is taken and you have to learn to stay safe, be resilient, and survive so much. In this story, Carmela is living on her grandparents farm with her grandmother. A half brother calls on her to help an injured man. This all begins a story of living in Italy while the Germans begin to infiltrate the country. Carmela is a very determined, strong women who follows her heart and helps during this war. I felt immersed in this Such a great story of how WW2 changed so many lives. What you take for granted is taken and you have to learn to stay safe, be resilient, and survive so much. In this story, Carmela is living on her grandparents farm with her grandmother. A half brother calls on her to help an injured man. This all begins a story of living in Italy while the Germans begin to infiltrate the country. Carmela is a very determined, strong women who follows her heart and helps during this war. I felt immersed in this story and enjoyed Carmela’s character. I couldn’t put the book down. It grabbed me from the beginning and had some history, romance, tragedy, and real life lessons. A great read!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Joanne Wisniewski

    Historical Fiction that feels real This story made me remember a book I read with middle school boys, Street Boys. The young urchins of Naples took to the streets and sewers to fight the German soldiers. So often the exploits in The Italian Girl’s Secret made me remember it. Carmela was an amazing woman who felt strongly about her grandmother and was confused about how her father felt about her after her mother died. Put the stresses of war on top of that, add an injured undercover soldier who ne Historical Fiction that feels real This story made me remember a book I read with middle school boys, Street Boys. The young urchins of Naples took to the streets and sewers to fight the German soldiers. So often the exploits in The Italian Girl’s Secret made me remember it. Carmela was an amazing woman who felt strongly about her grandmother and was confused about how her father felt about her after her mother died. Put the stresses of war on top of that, add an injured undercover soldier who needs help and a young woman with a caring heart and you have an excellent read. Enjoy!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Ronald

    An interesting story This is an interesting story, offering a different perspective on World war II, and how the war affected the characters in the story. The story is based in France during the war and involves a well-to-do family affected by the war and in particular, the daughter of the family who has a very personal secret she strives to hide, but one that affects her deeply throughout the story. She finds herself involved with a British spy who has been injured, and the resistance efforts. T An interesting story This is an interesting story, offering a different perspective on World war II, and how the war affected the characters in the story. The story is based in France during the war and involves a well-to-do family affected by the war and in particular, the daughter of the family who has a very personal secret she strives to hide, but one that affects her deeply throughout the story. She finds herself involved with a British spy who has been injured, and the resistance efforts. There are many facets to the story, some romance, much loss and tragedy, mistakes, and attempts to find answers or help out in the ongoing stresses and losses of war. Be prepared for a variety of feelings and emotions as you read this novel.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kelsey Bollinger

    DNF @ 46% I set this one down since it was not holding my attention. I normally love WWII stories so I am not sure what is preventing me from loving this one. It has a ton of great reviews so I do believe that this is a "me" thing. The pacing is just very odd and overall I just didn't like any of the main characters. If the synopsis sounds interesting to you, pick it up because I know I am in the minority. DNF @ 46% I set this one down since it was not holding my attention. I normally love WWII stories so I am not sure what is preventing me from loving this one. It has a ton of great reviews so I do believe that this is a "me" thing. The pacing is just very odd and overall I just didn't like any of the main characters. If the synopsis sounds interesting to you, pick it up because I know I am in the minority.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Natalie

    This is a fantastic book! This is the first book that I've read that is about the resistance movement in Italy. It had me so intrigued and entertained that I went and brought this in paperback version to have a personal copy of my own. The writing, the setting and Just everything about this book is so amazing that you won't regret reading this. Highly recommend This is a fantastic book! This is the first book that I've read that is about the resistance movement in Italy. It had me so intrigued and entertained that I went and brought this in paperback version to have a personal copy of my own. The writing, the setting and Just everything about this book is so amazing that you won't regret reading this. Highly recommend

  27. 4 out of 5

    Maison Clarke

    Love story to end all love stories. Carmella and Sebastiano's story kept me wondering right up to the end if they would ever survive the horrors of WWII. In the end I was not disappointed, but a few of my questions remained unanswered. As it should be, left to my imagination. Excellent read! Love story to end all love stories. Carmella and Sebastiano's story kept me wondering right up to the end if they would ever survive the horrors of WWII. In the end I was not disappointed, but a few of my questions remained unanswered. As it should be, left to my imagination. Excellent read!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Francesca McInerney

    True to life in Italy during Ww2. Excellent depiction of partisans , Naples and southern Italy. I am amazed how the authors can write about WW2 so accurately without living through it. It as truly the greatest generation

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jillian

    Very well described wartime book I really enjoyed this book and reading about war form Naples, My father fought in the army in this part of Italy which made the story all the more interesting to me.

  30. 5 out of 5

    peter walton

    A remarkable book & story that from the very first page showed both friendship and betrayal , but by whom ? It also allowed love, hate, hardship & fear to be not too far away on each and every page - the HORRORS of war. A very good read !

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