I have the most beautifully written book for your today. It may be based in a fictional village I bet you wish existed by the end.
The Tears of Monterini by Amanda Weinberg
Monterini, Italy. 1921. Yacobo Levi, an intellectual dreamer, works in the family bookshop. Angelo Ghione, a contadino, makes good wine by singing to the grapes. Lifetime best friends, their Jewish and Catholic families live side by side amidst a backdrop of village communal life, Etruscan tales and the growth of Benito Mussolini. Born on the same day, their children grow up and fall in love. When the 1938 racial laws are passed, the love between Bella and Rico thrives amidst and perhaps because of the fear and uncertainty. When Angelo discovers their liaison he suggests they marry but life is complicated and tensions simmer beneath the surface of love and friendship. When war is declared on the day of Bella’s wedding to Michele a fellow Jew, the peaceful village they live in is torn apart, and the Levis find themselves displaced and fighting for their lives. Will life ever be the same again?
The Tears of Monterini is a story of love and betrayal, loyalty and friendship. Inspired by true events in Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna, this beautifully written debut will appeal to readers interested in history, Italy, romance, family dynamics and conflict.
I absolutely fell in love with The Tears of Monterini. I’ve read a lot of WWII books lately and it’s true they can become repetitive, especially those that base themselves around a romance. But there was something about The Tears of Monterini that was very special. I think there was two things that made me feel this way. The first was the stunning descriptions of the village. I perfectly visualised Monterini in my head; it may be a fictional village but it felt real for me. The second aspect that made the book special for me was the romance between Bella and Rico. It’s been a long time since I read a love story that swept me away. Even now while writing this review I can feel the emotion between the two bubbling up inside me. Their account of their relationship had the perfect balance between the highs and the lows and I loved it.
But The Tears of Monterini is more than a love story. It is also a story of strength. Bella is a feisty lead character who is determined not to be downtrodden on by a changing Italy. She strives to get what she wants – and for the most part gets it. Bella’s stepmother Lea, although a minor character, is also to be hailed as a strong female. She is/was a single mother raising two young daughters and a schoolteacher determined to see the Jewish children of the community with an education.
Of course, The Tears of Monterini is not without its struggles. The strong sense of community within the village is a way to protect friends and colleagues who are being discriminated against. This sense of protecting oneself can also cause hard, as readers will see with the friendship of Jacobo and Angelo.
Overall, The Tears of Monterini is a wonderful book. I truly enjoyed reading it and hope you all will too.
The Tears of Monterini is available to buy now from Red Door Press.
I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.