Italy, 1945: as British and American troops attempt to bring order to the devastated cities, its population fights each other to survive. Caterina Lombardi is desperate – her mother has abandoned them already and her brother is being drawn into the mafia. Early one morning, among the ruins of the bombed Naples streets, she is forced to go to extreme lengths to protect her family and in doing so forges a future very different to the one she expected. But will the secrets of her family’s past be her downfall? This epic novel is an unforgettably powerful story of love, loss and the long shadow of war.
Set in Italy at the end of WWII, The Liberation unfolds against a backdrop of savagery and desolation. Rarely have I come across a book that depicts the full devastation of war so intricately. Italy, at the end of WWII, was a country destroyed, ruled by corruption, fear, and poverty. Kate Furnivall gives us an insight into this with one woman’s fight to keep her family safe while finding out the truth about her father.
This was an excellent novel, rich in historic detail with vivid depictions of scene and character lending weight to its believability. There was a toughness to the Italians in this story that begs admiration but also generates great sorrow. While romance is present, it is by no means a sweeping tale of an officer and a peasant girl. Yet it does showcase love, in amongst all of the savagery, and honour runs deep throughout the entire novel, both on a personal level for the characters as well as a national notion for all of Italy’s people.
I enjoyed this book and recommend it highly to anyone who likes novels about WWII, even though it is set at its conclusion. The Liberation gives a voice to a dark period of Italy’s history and sheds a light on what it must have been like to live in an occupied country with swinging political ideologies during a time of world wide conflict.