' 'This is deft writing indeed, as Stephen Hale juggles themes of loyalty, romance, treachery and redemption in this compelling tale of war and its aftermath - a remarkable achievement for a debut novelist taking on a work of such scope.
Author: Stephen Hale
Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
"An accomplished, absorbing and superbly structured novel of love and war." Amazon reviewer, Canada "A poignant and vibrant exploration of love, betrayal, remorse and joy." Amazon reviewer, UK Two inter-twined love stories, separated by half a century. A gripping wartime saga of soldiers and their girlfriends, devotion and betrayal, heroism and treachery. A stirring contemporary single-dad romance about mothers and their sons, loneliness and longing, family secrets and lies... During one of Europe's darkest hours, the brutal occupation of Fascist Italy in 1944-5, nineteen-year-old Siegfried 'Sigi' Brandt is stationed with the German army in the spectacularly remote village of Madonna del Bosco, far from the front line of battle. Sigi falls for alluring local beauty Tiziana, a descendant of witches. Secretive about her family's affiliations, wary of accusations of collaboration, Tiziana meets Sigi furtively in the old coven's den up on the hillside. From the mountains, as she casts her seductive spell on the German boy, the Resistance threatens the tiny garrison and the villagers must make painful choices. 65 years later, Sigi's English grandson, single-dad Ben, abandons London with his five-year-old son to live the simple life in the same quaint village, now a hippy haven. Old Siegfried, aged and infirm, arrives from Hamburg to visit his family and to revisit his past. Whilst wooing his own Italian girl under sunny skies - feisty, childless, unhappily married Antonella - Ben unearths a disturbing secret about his grandfather's wartime romance. With its brave cast of female characters and its moving tale of love and war, this family saga - about mothers and their sons, grandfathers and their grandsons, lovers and their adultery - will appeal broadly. Readers of literary fiction will enjoy the novel's sensual imagery and its time-shifting chronology. Fans of war-time fiction will be hooked by its suspenseful treatment of Nazi oppression and Resistance. Devotees of literary romance will take pleasure in the joys, and suffer the pains, of the book's two paramours, Sigi and Ben, each under the spell of his own Italian amica. 'The shifts between past and present, together with their associated themes of romance, treachery, loneliness and lust, give the novel a powerful momentum.' 'This is deft writing indeed, as Stephen Hale juggles themes of loyalty, romance, treachery and redemption in this compelling tale of war and its aftermath - a remarkable achievement for a debut novelist taking on a work of such scope.' For those who enjoyed 'Captain Corelli's Mandolin', 'The English Patient' and 'Birdsong', this story of passion and courage in the face of war will entertain, enthral and intrigue.