Why we love it: A heady blend of historical fiction, crime and romance, The Liberation is a page-turning read that’ll transport you to the post-war streets of 1940s Italy.
It’s 1945 Italy, the war has ended and Caterina Lombardi is struggling, like many Italians, to survive in a country ravaged by Mussolini’s dictatorship, his unholy alliance with Hitler and the horrors of World War 2. As allied forces attempt to restore law and order to this beautiful part of southern Italy the residents of Sorrento and Naples must force themselves to rebuild their lives and their country.
Caterina’s father was killed in an explosion in the war, thought to have been caused by a rogue allied bomb, and her mother ran away years before with another man. Now Caterina must look after her 11-year-old brother and her blind grandfather, attempting to survive when food is scarce and people would kill for a loaf of bread. Her beloved father was a fine craftsman, whose intricate woodwork was legendary in the area. Caterina had worked with him and learned his craft too but when confronted by British and American officers, on the hunt for Italy’s missing precious artworks and artefacts, she faces some uncomfortable truths about her family and friends – was her father part of an underground group cashing in on the war, stealing and importing Italy’s treasures?
Caterina soon knows too much and quickly finds herself threatened by armed thugs, almost beaten up and forced off the road on a mountainside of Capri at one point. There are dark forces at work – ancient vendettas, mafia bosses and greedy businessmen – and she is drawn to the dashing American Major, Jake Parr, who is tasked with getting to the bottom of it all. The locals are distrustful of outsiders though and it’s dangerous for her to be seen with the American. Caterina doesn’t know who to trust or where to turn, but feisty and courageous, and wielding her grandfather’s gun, she’s drawn into a terrifying adventure that’s filled with action, romance and intrigue.
Winding through the ancient streets of Naples, Sorrento and the beautiful island of Capri, The Liberation is a fast-moving, action-filled story that’s perfect for a long summer beach or holiday read. Set in a post-war world, it’s full of hope, leading to a satisfying conclusion, and Caterina is a modern day heroine – read to fight and stand up for what she believes in.