Italy, 1945. ‘Where am I?’ The young man wakes, bewildered. He sees olive trees against a bright blue sky. A soft voice soothes him. ‘We saw you fall from your plane. The parachute saved you.’ He remembers nothing of his life, or the war that has torn the world apart… but where does he belong?
England, present day. Antique-shop-owner Susannah wipes away a tear as she tidies her grandmother’s belongings. Elsie’s memories are fading, and every day Susannah feels further away from her only remaining family. But everything changes when she stumbles across a yellowed postcard of a beautiful Italian stone farmhouse, tucked away in Elsie’s dressing table. A message dated from World War 2 speaks of a secret love. Could her grandmother, who never talked about the past, have fallen for someone in Italy all those years ago?
With Elsie unable to answer her questions, Susannah becomes determined to track down the house and find a distraction from her grief. Arriving at what is now a crumbling hotel by the sparkling Italian sea, she feels strangely at home. And after an unexpected encounter with handsome wine waiter Giacomo, she can’t tell if it’s his dark eyes or his offer to help solve her mystery that makes her heart race.
Together they find a dusty chest tucked in a forgotten corner of the building. The white silk of a World War 2 parachute spills out. And the Royal Air Force identity tag nestled in the folds bears a familiar name…
With Giacomo by her side, and before it’s too late for her grandmother, can Susannah discover the truth behind a shocking wartime secret at the heart of her family? Or will it tear her apart?
An absolutely stunning page-turner that will sweep you away to the olive groves and majestic views of the Italian coast. Perfect for fans of Kathryn Hughes, Fiona Valpy and Victoria Hislop.
Full of family secrets, mystery, and lies, Postcard from Italy takes us to the beautiful Italian seaside towards the end of World War II. A young man wakes with no memories of who he is, and by the time he discovers the truth, it is too late. He has fallen completely in love. When his former life calls him back and his memories return, what does he do? In the present day, Susannah chases a family mystery from England to Italy and finds a lot more than she bargained for.
I enjoyed the description of the Italian seaside and definitely felt transported there. The concept of forgetting your old life and embracing a life that is not yours is compelling. The conundrum of regaining memories and then having to choose between the former life and the new is intriguing and does not disappoint here. There is also another element in memory loss: As a young man loses his memories temporarily, an elderly gentleman’s recollections are fading away forever. The character development in the 1945 timeline is very strong. Overall, this is compelling, heart-breaking, family-based historical fiction. It’s about navigating a no-win situation the best way you possibly can. And it’s about how an accident can change a family forever.
I received a free copy of this book via Bookouture. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Angela Petch is an award-winning writer of fiction – and the occasional poem.
Every summer she moves to Tuscany for six months where she and her husband own a renovated watermill which they let out. When not exploring their unspoiled corner of the Apennines, she disappears to her writing desk at the top of a converted stable. In her Italian handbag or hiking rucksack, she always makes sure to store a notebook and pen to jot down ideas.
The winter months are spent in Sussex where most of her family live. When Angela’s not helping out with grandchildren, she catches up with writer friends.
Angela’s gripping, WWII, Tuscan novels are published by Bookouture. While her novel, Mavis and Dot, was self-published and tells of the frolics and foibles of two best friends who live by the seaside. Angela also writes short stories published in Prima and People’s Friend.
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