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Under the Light of the Italian Moon

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A promise keeps them apart until WW2 threatens to destroy their love forever Fonzaso Italy, between two wars Nina Argenta doesn’t want the traditional life of a rural Italian woman. The daughter of a strong-willed midwife, she is determined to define her own destiny. But when her brother emigrates to America, she promises her mother to never leave. When childhood friend Pietr A promise keeps them apart until WW2 threatens to destroy their love forever Fonzaso Italy, between two wars Nina Argenta doesn’t want the traditional life of a rural Italian woman. The daughter of a strong-willed midwife, she is determined to define her own destiny. But when her brother emigrates to America, she promises her mother to never leave. When childhood friend Pietro Pante briefly returns to their mountain town, passion between them ignites while Mussolini forces political tensions to rise. Just as their romance deepens, Pietro must leave again for work in the coal mines of America. Nina is torn between joining him and her commitment to Italy and her mother. As Mussolini’s fascists throw the country into chaos and Hitler’s Nazis terrorise their town, each day becomes a struggle to survive greater atrocities. A future with Pietro seems impossible when they lose contact and Nina’s dreams of a life together are threatened by Nazi occupation and an enemy she must face alone… A gripping historical fiction novel, based on a true story and heartbreaking real events. Spanning over two decades, Under the Light of the Italian Moon is an epic, emotional and triumphant tale of one woman’s incredible resilience during the rise of fascism and Italy’s collapse into WWII.


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A promise keeps them apart until WW2 threatens to destroy their love forever Fonzaso Italy, between two wars Nina Argenta doesn’t want the traditional life of a rural Italian woman. The daughter of a strong-willed midwife, she is determined to define her own destiny. But when her brother emigrates to America, she promises her mother to never leave. When childhood friend Pietr A promise keeps them apart until WW2 threatens to destroy their love forever Fonzaso Italy, between two wars Nina Argenta doesn’t want the traditional life of a rural Italian woman. The daughter of a strong-willed midwife, she is determined to define her own destiny. But when her brother emigrates to America, she promises her mother to never leave. When childhood friend Pietro Pante briefly returns to their mountain town, passion between them ignites while Mussolini forces political tensions to rise. Just as their romance deepens, Pietro must leave again for work in the coal mines of America. Nina is torn between joining him and her commitment to Italy and her mother. As Mussolini’s fascists throw the country into chaos and Hitler’s Nazis terrorise their town, each day becomes a struggle to survive greater atrocities. A future with Pietro seems impossible when they lose contact and Nina’s dreams of a life together are threatened by Nazi occupation and an enemy she must face alone… A gripping historical fiction novel, based on a true story and heartbreaking real events. Spanning over two decades, Under the Light of the Italian Moon is an epic, emotional and triumphant tale of one woman’s incredible resilience during the rise of fascism and Italy’s collapse into WWII.

30 review for Under the Light of the Italian Moon

  1. 5 out of 5

    MicheleReader

    Starting in 1914 we meet Nina Argenta, a young girl growing up in the small, rural town of Fonzaso, Italy. Her mother Adelasia is a strong figure in the family and the region’s mid-wife. The family survives WWI and many young men, including her brother, head to America to earn better wages to help their struggling families. Pietro Pante also heads to America after Nina finds herself falling in love with him. The subsequent rise of Mussolini followed by the Nazi occupation, threaten all of Fonzas Starting in 1914 we meet Nina Argenta, a young girl growing up in the small, rural town of Fonzaso, Italy. Her mother Adelasia is a strong figure in the family and the region’s mid-wife. The family survives WWI and many young men, including her brother, head to America to earn better wages to help their struggling families. Pietro Pante also heads to America after Nina finds herself falling in love with him. The subsequent rise of Mussolini followed by the Nazi occupation, threaten all of Fonzaso. Under the Light of the Italian Moon is a story of love, survival and family. Nina and Pietro are reunited and marry yet he chooses to remain in America making infrequent visits to Italy. Nina, never knowing if she will ever hear from or see Pietro again, develops into a resilient woman, like her mother, taking charge of her life for the sake of her children and the rest of her family. But the horrors of WWII test her strength and threaten her future. Author Jennifer Anton has written a sweeping story that, while fiction, is lovingly based on members of her own family. And that love and respect for those who came before her comes through in such a heartfelt way. If you read a lot of historical fiction, especially books that take place during WWII, some of the stories start to feel repetitive. Under the Light of the Italian Moon is a unique story that will grab you from the beginning. I cared about this family throughout every page. Grazie mille to author Jennifer Anton for reaching out and offering me the opportunity to read this wonderful book in advance of its March 8, 2021 publication (which happens to be International Women’s Day!) I hope it gets the attention it deserves. Rated 4.5 stars. Review posted on MicheleReader.com.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Ellie Midwood

    My favorite genre is historical fiction based on true stories and “Under the Light of the Italian Moon” is a perfect combination of everything I appreciate in a novel. Not only it’s based on the author’s family history, but it’s meticulously researched and written with such heart, you’ll feel instantly attached to the characters and find yourself rooting for them as they go through their struggles. Nina and her mother, the local midwife who delivered more than a thousand babies, are truly worthy My favorite genre is historical fiction based on true stories and “Under the Light of the Italian Moon” is a perfect combination of everything I appreciate in a novel. Not only it’s based on the author’s family history, but it’s meticulously researched and written with such heart, you’ll feel instantly attached to the characters and find yourself rooting for them as they go through their struggles. Nina and her mother, the local midwife who delivered more than a thousand babies, are truly worthy of admiration. Their integrity and desire to fight for a woman’s right to decide whether to have a family or not instead of following Mussolini’s insane “breeding cow” program that, no doubt, caused many unnecessary deaths, is something worth applauding. In the dark era of Il Duce, when just speaking out against the regime could lead to one’s denunciation, Nina and her mother fought with all they could to protect the vulnerable women under their charge and later, as the war broke out, Nina’s courage and desire to help save not just her patients, but the lives of the persecuted. The romance that never died despite everything Nina and her husband Pietro had to go through will make you tear up in the end; yes, it’s that emotional. And the main message the book carries - stand up for what is right no matter what the cost - is truly timeless and is more relevant today than ever. It’s a book about family, about brave women’s path, about courage and resilience, about immigrants’ struggles and eternal love. If you love historical fiction and particularly novels based on true stories, don’t even hesitate about picking this one up. You’ll thank me later, I promise.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Allison Keith

    An engaging read, this is a meticulously researched story based on the author’s own family’s saga. The tale follows young Nina from WWI through the rising tensions of Mussolini’s totalitarianism into the fraught days of WWII. A promise made to her mother keeps Nina bound in tradition in rural Italy, and the evolution of her character as she grows hardened by life is authentically portrayed. I found this to be a moving read, eloquent, heartrending, and thoughtful. Even though I grew frustrated by An engaging read, this is a meticulously researched story based on the author’s own family’s saga. The tale follows young Nina from WWI through the rising tensions of Mussolini’s totalitarianism into the fraught days of WWII. A promise made to her mother keeps Nina bound in tradition in rural Italy, and the evolution of her character as she grows hardened by life is authentically portrayed. I found this to be a moving read, eloquent, heartrending, and thoughtful. Even though I grew frustrated by the characters at times, their struggles and choices always felt authentic. This is an ode to Italy, to the bond between mothers and daughters, to the courage and resilience of women, and to the love that perseveres even through time and distance.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Angela Petch

    This is an epic book written from the heart, about other women with huge hearts who kept their families together, against all odds, before and during the Second World War in Italy. “The strength of the world is in its women. The power of the world is within its women. Yet it is the women we erase.” Those deep words at the start of the story set me on the right path. We are drawn in immediately to the community of Fonzaso, a real place in the north east of Italy and more specifically to the story This is an epic book written from the heart, about other women with huge hearts who kept their families together, against all odds, before and during the Second World War in Italy. “The strength of the world is in its women. The power of the world is within its women. Yet it is the women we erase.” Those deep words at the start of the story set me on the right path. We are drawn in immediately to the community of Fonzaso, a real place in the north east of Italy and more specifically to the story of Adelasia, the town’s midwife: a strong woman nicknamed The Captain. She passes her indispensable art to her daughter, Nina, and her story is the one we follow in the main. I loved the everpresent moon. Italians set great store by the moon’s cycle for planting their crops and the relationship between the age of the moon and the birth of babies. Jennifer Anton uses the moon to paint wonderful scenes: “…the moon, radiating gold into the sapphire sky like the halo around the Virgin Mary’s head…” The moon is also a symbol of love. “This is our moon – la nostra bella luna – It is the light there every night, you can count on it.” These haunting words are the words of a lover who will soon be separated from his wife. When they gaze up at the moon while they are apart, they will feel closer. Italians are a passionate race and Under the Light of the Italian Moon is a story of passion but it isn’t sickly sweet. “I’ve loved you since before I knew what love was…” Nina tells her lover (no spoilers). The romance is beautifully written, as is the whole book, especially the second half which I could not tear myself away from. Against the background of the war and Mussolini’s despotic fascist rule, it is the women who keep going. Il Duce’s definition: “War is to male what maternity is to the female” is a strong theme throughout the story. The author seems to be saying that if women were to rule the world, there would be no wars. “It is a circle. Women create, men destroy. We feed the beasts.” There are episodes of truly horrific cruelty on the pages: of real events recounted to the author during her research. It is good that we are not spared these details. It is vital we remember and respect the amazing bravery that ordinary people endured at this time. There were passages that brought tears to my eyes. There is so much more I could say about the bond between mother and child, the difficult story of Italian emigrants, the savage beauty of Italy, antisemitism, the wonderful pictures of everyday life in an ordinary Italian town. The characters and events were so real to me. I recommend this book highly and not just to female readers. “Women will always be a mystery to men,’ Adelasia tells her daughter. Men could learn a lot about the resilience of women through reading this powerful book.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Anton

    Now Available! Under the Light of the Italian Moon published on March 8th, International Women's Day. Available for order and review: On Amazon: getbook.at/JAnton On Barnesand Noble: https://bit.ly/3n1nDqC For U.S. at Bookshop .org: https://bit.ly/38o1oXP Excerpt of Under the Light of the Italian Moon is now available here: https://bit.ly/3a8bdIM Join my mailing list at http://www.boldwomanwriting.com for more information on my life outside of writing and updates on the launch of Under the Light of t Now Available! Under the Light of the Italian Moon published on March 8th, International Women's Day. Available for order and review: On Amazon: getbook.at/JAnton On Barnesand Noble: https://bit.ly/3n1nDqC For U.S. at Bookshop .org: https://bit.ly/38o1oXP Excerpt of Under the Light of the Italian Moon is now available here: https://bit.ly/3a8bdIM Join my mailing list at http://www.boldwomanwriting.com for more information on my life outside of writing and updates on the launch of Under the Light of the Italian Moon Follow the Journey on Instagram at: https://www.instagram.com/boldwomanwr...

  6. 4 out of 5

    Wendy Harmon

    LOVED IT!! Easy to read, and the characters really drew me in. It was very interested learning more about Italy from WWI to after WWII. I didn't want it to end! LOVED IT!! Easy to read, and the characters really drew me in. It was very interested learning more about Italy from WWI to after WWII. I didn't want it to end!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Annette

    It was a good book that starts before the war and carries through it. It’s also a love story about a couple living apart and enduring many hardships. I enjoyed the story and think historical fiction fans will too. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the early copy

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lottie Hinks

    Yes, you heard me right, I actually 5 starred a book.... and what a book it was 😍 Firstly I’d like to thank @boldwomanwriting for sending me a pre-release copy, and for signing it for me. I will truly treasure this book. This will be released on the 8th of March which fittingly is national women’s day. This is a story of enormous strength from a woman, Nina, who is from rural Italy. This strength is the essence of her amazing mother (the Captain), the only midwife in their isolated mountain towns. Yes, you heard me right, I actually 5 starred a book.... and what a book it was 😍 Firstly I’d like to thank @boldwomanwriting for sending me a pre-release copy, and for signing it for me. I will truly treasure this book. This will be released on the 8th of March which fittingly is national women’s day. This is a story of enormous strength from a woman, Nina, who is from rural Italy. This strength is the essence of her amazing mother (the Captain), the only midwife in their isolated mountain towns. We watch Nina grow up idolising her mother and being in no other words a “gift” to her mama. As Nina turns into a young woman, a childhood friend Pietro returns from America stealing her heart. True loves journey is never smooth especially when you’re living through World War 2 and residing in different continents. This enthralling historical fiction novel dove into long distance relationships, motherhood and heart ache in a way that had me sobbing into my blanket. This tremendously well-written novel brought the story alive, with such believable character development. You could see the change in Nina from the innocent daughter of a midwife to the slightly broken, magnificent mother of 3, post war woman. As a mother of two daughters this book hit my heart hard. I would recommend this book to any: . Mothers . Historical fiction fans . ”The book thief” fans . To be honest any great readers 💪 To put the cherry on the cake, when I read Ninas daughter Lasia was the authors grandmother I cried even more. I knew I wanted to use my daughter to create a beautiful photo to match the essence of this book.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Abbey

    “Receiving the wafer, she gave the sign of the cross and stood to head back to her seat. The taste of creamy paper stuck to the roof of her mouth and she contemplated why God would want children to have sore knees and numb bottoms to get into Heaven.” When I read that sentence and laughed to myself, I knew I had found a talented author! This book is a true story, a family saga that spans decades of life before, during, and after WWII in a village in Italy. The characters are so well developed, th “Receiving the wafer, she gave the sign of the cross and stood to head back to her seat. The taste of creamy paper stuck to the roof of her mouth and she contemplated why God would want children to have sore knees and numb bottoms to get into Heaven.” When I read that sentence and laughed to myself, I knew I had found a talented author! This book is a true story, a family saga that spans decades of life before, during, and after WWII in a village in Italy. The characters are so well developed, that no matter what events are happening in the story, you can’t stop reading. The first third of the book felt a little short on events, even though it was big on emotion and heart. But as the war starts, the plot really picks up. My heart broke a few times during the story, and there were just as many moments where you cheer for the characters. I’m so thankful I got to read this book ahead of publication through an ARC from NetGalley. I hope this isn’t the only book the author writes!

  10. 5 out of 5

    theliterateleprechaun

    It was definitely a combination of a beautiful cover, a lovely author so willing to engage with her readers, and the premise of a fascinating story that drew me to this novel. Thank you for the gift of this amazing advance reading copy, Jennifer Anton, Amsterdam Publishers and NetGalley. It’s more than a spectacular historical novel, it’s a lesson for us all; we are connected and the threads that unite us can be severed if we don’t actively support each other and learn to live together and reach It was definitely a combination of a beautiful cover, a lovely author so willing to engage with her readers, and the premise of a fascinating story that drew me to this novel. Thank you for the gift of this amazing advance reading copy, Jennifer Anton, Amsterdam Publishers and NetGalley. It’s more than a spectacular historical novel, it’s a lesson for us all; we are connected and the threads that unite us can be severed if we don’t actively support each other and learn to live together and reach for the greatness within. You are about to embark on a journey back to northern Italy during the days of the author’s grandmother and great grandmother and bear witness to a beautiful love story, featuring the strength of women. Fonzaso holds in its history the love story of a woman, Adelasia Dalla Santa Argenta, who, so devoted to her calling as a rural midwife, risked everything during Mussolini’s rise to power and welcomed thousands of babies into the world. As Adelasia and her young daughter, Ninetta, bring life and care for life, Musollini’s quest undoes much of their work; the babies they help deliver die by the hands of Nazis because of their leader’s quest for power. The second love story is between Ninetta and Pietro and features their sacrifices for love and the reward of faithfulness; the sweetness of togetherness after the war. Although every case of love presented in the novel is different, what unites them all is the reaching out of one human being to another. In this story spanning two generations we see the reaching out of (1) a midwife to an expectant mother, to a nervous father, and to a newly birthed miracle (2) a mother to her hungry children who haven’t even met their father (3) an older sibling to a younger sibling, (4) an auntie to her niece after the child’s mother dies and father has moved to another country (5) a nervous mother preparing meals for the enemy in her home and (6) a young wife, reaching out to her husband through letters as he spends the majority of their married life in another country toiling to provide for those he loves at home. Regardless of time and space, the Italian moon is always there. The same moon that we look upon every night during this pandemic is the same moon that those from Fonzaso looked upon during the rise of fascism and world war two. That same moon sees the joys and the disappointments. It connects us all. The author shares that on the wall of the altar at Sant’Anna are the names of important women who the monument pays honour to and at the top of the list is Adelasia Dalla Santa Argenta under an inscription that simply states: Ricordante le vostre mamme = Remember your mothers. “The strength of the world is in its women. The power of the world is within its women. Yet it is the women we erase. Some women are unwilling to be forgotten or to forget. Particularly if they are Italian.” Let’s remember where we came from and where we are going. It would behoove us to radiate love along the journey. This is a must have book. Circle March 8, 2021 on your calendar. It’s no coincidence that it’s to be published on International Women’s Day. Read it and celebrate all the strong women you know, work to build up those women in progress of becoming a strong woman and be an example to encourage those who feel weak to find their inner strength. We are all important. Our strength is needed. Now, more than ever.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Karren Sandercock

    Nina Argenta lives in Fonzaso a small remote mountain village in Italy, a group of young men are emigrating to American, her brother Antonio is one of them and Nina promises her mother Adelasia she will never leave. Pietro Pante returns from America to visit his family in Fonzaso, after a quick courtship, he and Nina marry, Pietro buys a small house for his new bride and returns to America to work in the coal mines. Pietro works really hard in American, saving and sending money home to Nina and Nina Argenta lives in Fonzaso a small remote mountain village in Italy, a group of young men are emigrating to American, her brother Antonio is one of them and Nina promises her mother Adelasia she will never leave. Pietro Pante returns from America to visit his family in Fonzaso, after a quick courtship, he and Nina marry, Pietro buys a small house for his new bride and returns to America to work in the coal mines. Pietro works really hard in American, saving and sending money home to Nina and his parents. Mussolini gains power, all Italian men must register for military service, and when Pietro visits his family in Italy, it’s risky and he returns to America. Life in Italy changes, the fascist rule the country, during WW II the German’s invade Italy and the Italian people are cut off from the rest of the world. A desperate Pietro continues to write to Nina, he has no idea if she receives his letters and she doesn’t write back to him. For Nina life’s a daily struggle, food and necessities are scarce, she’s extremely worried about her daughter’s safety and the Germans start severely punishing people who help the local partisans. As the war years drag on, with still no word from her husband and Nina doesn’t think she will ever see him again. Under The Light Of The Italian Moon is an historical saga, it’s based on a true story about Nina and Pietro Pante’s long distance relationship and it spans over twenty years. It’s a remarkable story about love, family, war, sacrifice, determination and incredible strength. Both Nina and Pietro were amazing people, an inspiring book to read and five stars from me. https://karrenreadsbooks.blogspot.com/

  12. 4 out of 5

    Evie

    Under the Light of the Italian Moon by Jennifer Anton is a heartbreaking story based on real-life events during the rise of Mussolini and WWII. It takes place in Fonzaso--a rural town in Italy.  The author did an excellent job in meticulous research, which you can totally see as the story of Nina, Pietro, and their families develop. Nina was both strong and weak. She grew up in a super traditional family, and I thought, at times she had trouble expressing herself and doing what she truly wanted v Under the Light of the Italian Moon by Jennifer Anton is a heartbreaking story based on real-life events during the rise of Mussolini and WWII. It takes place in Fonzaso--a rural town in Italy.  The author did an excellent job in meticulous research, which you can totally see as the story of Nina, Pietro, and their families develop. Nina was both strong and weak. She grew up in a super traditional family, and I thought, at times she had trouble expressing herself and doing what she truly wanted vs what her mom or others said. But, who's to blame her? She barely had a childhood, and just as soon as she married the man of her life, Pietro, he left for the U.S. to work in mining so that he could send money back to her and his parents. Talk about having a long-distance relationship! Nina and Pietro win! The war soon sets in and all their long-term dreams go out the door. They already didn't have it good, and with the war, things really go south. Read the rest of the review at Higo & Miel

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kate Wilson

    There is something about a historical fiction based in fact, especially when the fact is family history, that hits even deeper. Under the Light of the Italian Moon is one of those books. I’ve read many historical fiction books set during and between WW1 and WW2 but this was a new perspective for me. I enjoyed the family interactions and following the stories of the different sisters and brothers as well as the description of the town which is a character in itself. When the end came I wanted mor There is something about a historical fiction based in fact, especially when the fact is family history, that hits even deeper. Under the Light of the Italian Moon is one of those books. I’ve read many historical fiction books set during and between WW1 and WW2 but this was a new perspective for me. I enjoyed the family interactions and following the stories of the different sisters and brothers as well as the description of the town which is a character in itself. When the end came I wanted more!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Tracey

    Note: I received an ARC of this title from the author in exchange for an advanced review. *********************************** “Bravissimo” Jennifer Anton for “Under the Light of the Italian Moon.” I was so moved by this “Love Story”, because it is in every way; an enduring faithful romantic love for Nina and Pietro, the love of mothers for their children (no matter how old) to nurture, protect and love them the best way they knew how under desperate circumstances. It’s a story of love for a way o Note: I received an ARC of this title from the author in exchange for an advanced review. *********************************** “Bravissimo” Jennifer Anton for “Under the Light of the Italian Moon.” I was so moved by this “Love Story”, because it is in every way; an enduring faithful romantic love for Nina and Pietro, the love of mothers for their children (no matter how old) to nurture, protect and love them the best way they knew how under desperate circumstances. It’s a story of love for a way of life and time, though difficult, was beautiful and rich in family and traditions mothers and women created and fought hard to preserve. They persevered, bringing this love for all of them to strange new worlds of America and Canada, ensuring they live on in the the generations to come. Finally, it’s a story of love of country; national Italian pride. That pride affected the Argente~Pante families in such heartbreaking ways through war, plague, rise of fascism and the unknown. Watching the only home and people you know and love turn into strangers; having to leave your homeland behind for safety or a better life for your children is the courageous theme embedded throughout this family saga. It is the theme the world over for centuries of immigrants. Jennifer’s familial tale has such relevance today with all that is happening 100 years later looking so alarmingly familiar. Perhaps if we valued and learned from “Her Story” instead of not heeding the lessons from “history”, things might be different? As a second generation Jewish Canadian, I could feel an intensely strong pull to this story. I am still close to the impact of the immigrant experience of my grandparents and some aunts and uncles from Eastern Europe. Women and mothers have been at the heart of every family and community. Jennifer writes these women (her mothers), and honours them by giving them their voice to speak their stories in courage, faith, pride, resilience and fierce maternal love. Highly recommend!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Barb

    This book is magnificent. The writing is mesmerizing. Ms. Anton hits every emotion a human possesses! There were points, I laughed, cried, felt anger, and fell in love. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in a good historical romance but more importantly the world of WWII in Italy. The research is impeccable. I liked the fact that a glossary of terms in the back. That will be helpful for those not bilingual. I am hopeful there is a second book in the works as I want to know more ab This book is magnificent. The writing is mesmerizing. Ms. Anton hits every emotion a human possesses! There were points, I laughed, cried, felt anger, and fell in love. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in a good historical romance but more importantly the world of WWII in Italy. The research is impeccable. I liked the fact that a glossary of terms in the back. That will be helpful for those not bilingual. I am hopeful there is a second book in the works as I want to know more about the family and where Ms. Anton takes the story. This is a great book. Absolutely five stars, I would give more if it was possible.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Dorothy Schwab

    Adelasia Argenta is the heartbeat of her family in Fonzaso, Italy, where Mount Avena and Dolomiti "split Italy from Austria." Adelasia, known as The Captain, feared for her sternness, is the only trained midwife and has delivered all of the children known to her ten-year-old daughter, Nina. It's 1914 and Nina's perspective on young men leaving for America is capped not only by her snowy view of the Alps, but by the wonderment of what lies beyond her small village. As older schoolmate, Pietro Pan Adelasia Argenta is the heartbeat of her family in Fonzaso, Italy, where Mount Avena and Dolomiti "split Italy from Austria." Adelasia, known as The Captain, feared for her sternness, is the only trained midwife and has delivered all of the children known to her ten-year-old daughter, Nina. It's 1914 and Nina's perspective on young men leaving for America is capped not only by her snowy view of the Alps, but by the wonderment of what lies beyond her small village. As older schoolmate, Pietro Pante, descends into the darkness of the mines in Pennsylvania, Nina is traveling the dark backroads at all hours of the day and night to assist her mother in birthing the babies of Fonzaso. Nina and her mother are dutifully and busily welcoming babies into the world, rejoicing or comforting and consoling families and each other, as Fascism is on the rise and world war is looming. Nina's mettle is tested from the early years of 1922 when Mussolini becomes the ruler of Italy, through 1939's "Gold for the Fatherland" in Fonzaso, until WWll ends in liberation and celebration on the square. Under the Light of the Italian Moon is a story of love, endurance and unknown strength-all needed for survival. Jennifer Anton was inspired to honor the strength within all women by the true story of her great-grandmother and grandmother. Nina's loyalty and patience are beyond admirable; it's almost unbelievable-except it's true. Five glittering stars for Jennifer Anton's Under the Light of the Italian Moon. *****Gr

  17. 4 out of 5

    The History Mom

    This epic story about a young Italian woman caught up in the struggles brought by war to her mountain village is a sweeping tale of love, loss, and separation. Based on the author’s own family history, the book is propelled by strong women who live through some of the most horrific events imaginable. I’m always fascinated by the stories of women who live through wars and marvel at their ability to keep going despite all of the hardships, particularly with all of the men gone. These women survive This epic story about a young Italian woman caught up in the struggles brought by war to her mountain village is a sweeping tale of love, loss, and separation. Based on the author’s own family history, the book is propelled by strong women who live through some of the most horrific events imaginable. I’m always fascinated by the stories of women who live through wars and marvel at their ability to keep going despite all of the hardships, particularly with all of the men gone. These women survive war, famine, and death through sheer resilience, grit, and determination. This book is also a love story, with Nina and her husband separated by thousands of miles. Their reunions throughout the book leave you hopeful for their future, and I flew through the book in just over two days to see how their story ended. You may think that you know what World War II was like after reading the plethora of books written about it. However, until you read Under the Light of the Italian Moon, a part of the war story is missing. While Italy may have been in the Axis, this book will give you the story of the Italian women who fought for love and survival against all odds, no matter the political games played in Rome or Berlin. Thank you to the author for providing me an Advanced Reader Copy for my honest review.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Christine Seeholzer

    A moving historical fiction piece that feels like a conspiratorial chat over coffee with your nonna. Everything that we hold dear as Italian-Americans resonates throughout the novel with a pride and value of women that is refreshing and relatable and sometimes missing in our current popular culture. A must-read!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl Sokoloff

    I believe it was back in January (2021 obviously), that I noticed Jennifer Anton posting on Instagram about her imminently to be released debut novel, Under the Light of the Italian Moon. She posted about her travels to Italy, the people she interviewed (a lot of family and specialists in the history of Italy), as well as ALL the books that she read, in order to able to write this book. Needless to say, I was hooked, I had to read her book. When she posted that advanced (digital) copies were ava I believe it was back in January (2021 obviously), that I noticed Jennifer Anton posting on Instagram about her imminently to be released debut novel, Under the Light of the Italian Moon. She posted about her travels to Italy, the people she interviewed (a lot of family and specialists in the history of Italy), as well as ALL the books that she read, in order to able to write this book. Needless to say, I was hooked, I had to read her book. When she posted that advanced (digital) copies were available, through @storyorigins, I requested and received a copy (feb. 2021). We are now rapidly approaching mid April, and I finally set aside the time this weekend to read Jennifer Anton's incredible book, (and write my promised review). This is a story that spans decades of the twentieth century, beginning just after The Great War, and ending a few years post WW2. It is set in rural, scenic Fonzaso, in Northern Italy, home to the Argenta family. Life is not easy for the people of this town, but it is "home". Adelessia Argenta, is the family matriarch, and the best local midwife. She is known to be strict with her children, and she earns the nickname The Captain. Of all her children (6), Nina is most dedicated to her mother, and the story revolves around these 2 women. The story follows Nina as she grows up, falls in love, marries, and has a family of her own (during the war, with all its horror). Thank you Evan at story origins for gifting me this book to read. I could not put it down (once I finally started reading it). Thanks especially to, Jennifer Anton for writing this amazing novel about, the war, the struggles that the people of Italy encountered, (rationing, threat of rape, deportation, separation of family, death, etc etc). and about the horrors by the Nazis that the "fonzasinnis" were forced to witness. It was only the (women's) powerful belief in the Madonna, that ultimately gave them the courage to persist, despite all the cruelty. "Creation in the wombs of women must overcome destruction at the hands of men." "Funny how even death could not stop the relationship between mother and daughter evolving."

  20. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    “It’s our moon. La nostra bella luna. It’s the light there every night. You can count on it. Sometimes it may look far away, the clouds may cover it, but it’s there. Sometimes it is small and hidden but it’s there. Sometimes it will be like this, taking over the sky and filling us with light, but no matter what, it’s there. It’s like us. You’ll look at the moon every night and so will I, on the other side of the ocean.” Under the Light of the Italian Moon by Jennifer Anton follows the life of Ni “It’s our moon. La nostra bella luna. It’s the light there every night. You can count on it. Sometimes it may look far away, the clouds may cover it, but it’s there. Sometimes it is small and hidden but it’s there. Sometimes it will be like this, taking over the sky and filling us with light, but no matter what, it’s there. It’s like us. You’ll look at the moon every night and so will I, on the other side of the ocean.” Under the Light of the Italian Moon by Jennifer Anton follows the life of Nina Argenta from WWI through the post WWII period. The novel weaves together a beautiful tapestry of the experiences, sacrifices, and love of the Argenta women. Anton vividly captures the love of family and the sacrifices made for the ones we love. She explores the daily lives of Italian women during the interwar and WWII periods while also placing guideposts along the way to mark the major historical events of these time periods. Told through the voices of the women who experienced hardship, oppression, and sacrifice, Anton’s words are a tribute to women throughout history. Nina’s mother Adelasia served as a midwife for a number of years and safely brought countless people into the world. What a legacy! The love story of Nina and her husband Pietro is one of enduring love through years of separation and sacrifice. Their love is beautifully connected to the title of the book and is a through line of hope from beginning to end. I highly recommend this one for readers who love historical fiction.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Cindi

    Under the Light of the Italian Moon by Jennifer Anton is historical fiction at its best. The book is set during and between WWI and WWII. I enjoyed the family interactions and the relationships between the mother, daughters, sisters and brothers as the story evolves. But this is also a heartbreaking story based on real-life events during the rise of Mussolini and WWII. It takes place in Fonzaso, a rural town in northern Italy during the days of the author’s grandmother and great grandmother. We Under the Light of the Italian Moon by Jennifer Anton is historical fiction at its best. The book is set during and between WWI and WWII. I enjoyed the family interactions and the relationships between the mother, daughters, sisters and brothers as the story evolves. But this is also a heartbreaking story based on real-life events during the rise of Mussolini and WWII. It takes place in Fonzaso, a rural town in northern Italy during the days of the author’s grandmother and great grandmother. We are introduced to Adelasia Dalla Santa Argenta, who is so devoted to her calling as a rural midwife and aptly nicknamed 'The Captain'. She passes her art of midwifery to her daughter, Nina (Ninetta). Also, the Italians rely on the moon’s cycle for planting their crops and the birth of the babies. So the moon is mentioned often in this book. Jennifer Anton uses the moon to paint beautiful and majestic scenes and it is also a symbol of love. From Pietro to Ninetta.. “This is our moon. La nostra bella luna. It's the light there every night. You can count on it.” I loved the author's prose, the Italian language and her beautiful descriptive scenes to make this book so authentic and captivating. Adelasia and her daughter, Ninetta, bring life and care to local families. At the same time, Mussolini tries and is successful undoing so much of their work. Some of the babies they help deliver die by the hands of the Nazi murderers because of their leader’s zeal and quest for power. The love story between Ninetta and Pietro is so sweet. They sacrifice so much for love and their determination to be together after the war. This is a story about courage, faith, pride, resilience, determination and love. Such a beautiful story and I recommend this book highly. Thank you to NetGalley for an advanced readers copy in exchange for an honest review.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    Under the Light of the Italian Moon by Jennifer Anton is a fabulous and amazing historical fiction novel that spans decades and wars-including WWII- that has it all: history, true events, suspense, action, passion, emotion, and a gripping story line that kept me enthralled from beginning to end. This novel takes place in a small village in Italy that starts during the 1910s and spans through ,and into, WWII. In it we see the oppression, the despair, the harrowing journeys that so many faced durin Under the Light of the Italian Moon by Jennifer Anton is a fabulous and amazing historical fiction novel that spans decades and wars-including WWII- that has it all: history, true events, suspense, action, passion, emotion, and a gripping story line that kept me enthralled from beginning to end. This novel takes place in a small village in Italy that starts during the 1910s and spans through ,and into, WWII. In it we see the oppression, the despair, the harrowing journeys that so many faced during this time of fear, uncertainty, and continuing change. I loved reading about the strong, powerful, imperfect, and impressive Nina, her mother, and her family. The relationship, connection, and strength of the women within the family was truly inspirational. I loved that they chose to forge against the suppression and demands of Mussolini's government and dictatorship. The fear that all of these women must have felt at this time, the knowledge that they could lose all that they love, but yet choosing to travel down the right path nevertheless was beyond inspiring. I also loved the passion, love, and enduring devotion of Nina and Pietro. This book really focusses on the enduring and continued love and devotion of Nina and Pietro. So many obstacles and hurdles at this time, but  yet true love, loyalty, and passion knows no limits. The descriptions of the relationship was truly wonderful and understated perfectly. Despite the distance, their respective families, struggles, fears, flaws, and hurdles, their love continues. The concept of both being able to look up and see the same moon, being basked in its same soft glow, helps remind them of each other and their hopeful future that one day they will be brought together again. Stunning! I loved the imagery and descriptions of the landscapes within Italy. The balance between the natural wonders, the deep roots of history, and the brutality and destruction from hate, death, and war was perfect. It brought so many emotions...I cannot say that a tear was not shed a time or two while reading this story. I loved the narrative, the fundamental concepts of: family, love, loss, passion, fighting for what's right, and hoping for the greater good was so well-written. What made all of this even better was that this well-researched story was based on real events and the author's own family. Nothing could be more beautiful and haunting then that. The way that all these concepts were interwoven into a complex, raw, and stunningly beautiful narrative that the author has presented is truly breathtaking. This book is truly remarkable and is a gem that is worth the test of time. I am beyond impressed with the author and the true talent that I experienced while reading this book. I highly recommend this novel and it is sure to be one of my favorites this year. 5/5 stars Thank you to the author, Jennifer Anton, for this wonderful ARC and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review and opinion. I am posting this review to my GR, Bookbub, and Instagram accounts immediately and will post it to my Amazon, Instagram, and B&N accounts upon publication on 3/8/21.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jean Blankenship

    Fiction based on real stories and events. WW2 novel taking place in Italy. Adelasia and Nina, mother and daughter showed how strong the Italian women were during the war and goes against Mussolini’s policies. First novel of the author’s based on the lives of her grandmother and great grandmother. The importance of the Italian women during the war was the heart of the story. The love that Nina had for Petro was one that would never die even though they were apart for years. She stayed in Italy, h Fiction based on real stories and events. WW2 novel taking place in Italy. Adelasia and Nina, mother and daughter showed how strong the Italian women were during the war and goes against Mussolini’s policies. First novel of the author’s based on the lives of her grandmother and great grandmother. The importance of the Italian women during the war was the heart of the story. The love that Nina had for Petro was one that would never die even though they were apart for years. She stayed in Italy, he went to America for work. The power of love is a very strong emotion that was shown throughout the story. Nina raised her children under such a difficult life, and it was never easy. She lived to keep her family safe. One of my favorite books this year. Loved it. I highly recommend this book. I received a free copy of this book via book sprout. I was one of the winners from Goodreads historical fictionists giveaway. All opinions are my own.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Lisa | Lady_Logomancer

    Set in the mountain town of Fonzaso, Italy between WWI and through WWII, this beautiful Historical fiction novel takes us into the world of the Argenta family. Matriarch Adelasia (the Captain) is the foundational force that holds this line of strong Argenta women together. Adelasia is a mid-wife who helps deliver the children of Fonzaso. Her daughter Nina learns the craft by her mother’s side and follows Nina into adulthood. As fascism rises, Mussolini’s cruel and unusual control over Italy and Set in the mountain town of Fonzaso, Italy between WWI and through WWII, this beautiful Historical fiction novel takes us into the world of the Argenta family. Matriarch Adelasia (the Captain) is the foundational force that holds this line of strong Argenta women together. Adelasia is a mid-wife who helps deliver the children of Fonzaso. Her daughter Nina learns the craft by her mother’s side and follows Nina into adulthood. As fascism rises, Mussolini’s cruel and unusual control over Italy and its mothers and children, then through the invasion of the Nazi’s and beyond we learn some of the first hand tragedies and the tales of strength and resilience of the women in this war torn country and how they sustain for the sake of their families. There is also an enduring love story between Nina and her childhood sweetheart, Pietro. Separated by continents for years at a time, Nina balances her duty and fulfillment of a promise in Italy with her dreams and her longings of a life beyond the borders of her home country. We feel such heartbreak for Nina and for so many women of this time. A truly moving narrative, this well researched story is filled with true events of the author’s family and of a lesser known side of Italy between the great wars. It is an ode to mothers and daughters, and the sacred and universal knowledge that women are the beginning of all things and are also the ones often making the largest sacrifices. Under the Light of the Italian Moon is beautiful book from the gorgeous cover art through the story inside. Thank you to Jennifer Anton for an advanced copy of this book, my review is given of my own accord.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Brenda

    Set in 1930s-1940s Fonzaso, Italy, this book is based on a true story (see afterword in the back). Life before (and outside of) war is difficult enough but the horrors of war add a completely new dimension and suddenly mere survival is at the forefront. There are so many lovely and moving quotes to share from the book but one of the most poignant is simply, "Remember your mothers", a very important theme throughout. Nina Argenta grows up with her parents and siblings in Fonzaso. She falls in love Set in 1930s-1940s Fonzaso, Italy, this book is based on a true story (see afterword in the back). Life before (and outside of) war is difficult enough but the horrors of war add a completely new dimension and suddenly mere survival is at the forefront. There are so many lovely and moving quotes to share from the book but one of the most poignant is simply, "Remember your mothers", a very important theme throughout. Nina Argenta grows up with her parents and siblings in Fonzaso. She falls in love with Pietro but Pietro travels to America to follow his dream of earning a better living for himself. Though at first Nina shuns the very idea of becoming a midwife as her mother has, she goes to midwifery school and upon graduating, follows in her mother's footsteps. Since she was a little girl she saw the terrible hours her exhausted mother suffered through as well as its sorrows and its joys, and gained much experience. Pietro returns to Italy a few times but only short term as he makes much more money in America. As I know Italy and enough Italian to get by, my heart felt an immediate connection as I pictured Padua, Italian mannerisms, glorious food...but also was engaged with the story and characters. Nina's passion for her home is understandable. A huge piece of her heart longs to be with Pietro in America but another piece cherishes Italy. The story spans several years as we watch Nina become an adult and her interactions, relationships, family life and scrounging during the war. She witnesses unspeakable situations and live through sorrow, grief and heartache. However, the strength and perseverance she didn't know she had until she was tested really shone, such a testament to women in that era. To me the book is also about home and hope even during the darkest times. Readers who especially enjoy Historical Fiction based on true stories and events, do read this. I cannot say it's fun and flowery but that is not reality. You will see the characters experience true joy as well. Really well worth reading. My sincere thank you to Amsterdam Publishers and NetGalley for providing me with a digital copy of this beautiful book in exchange for an honest review.

  26. 5 out of 5

    RoseMarie

    I enjoyed this book for many reasons. I enjoyed the details of living in a small Italian village and the many reasons why so many of our ancestors chose to emigrate to America. I enjoyed the simple romance between the Nina and Pietro as well as the love of family as Nina stayed behind. I enjoyed the pro-female characters. And I really enjoyed (although was deeply saddened by) the details of Italy during wartime. And knowing that it was based on the authors true family history, made the story eve I enjoyed this book for many reasons. I enjoyed the details of living in a small Italian village and the many reasons why so many of our ancestors chose to emigrate to America. I enjoyed the simple romance between the Nina and Pietro as well as the love of family as Nina stayed behind. I enjoyed the pro-female characters. And I really enjoyed (although was deeply saddened by) the details of Italy during wartime. And knowing that it was based on the authors true family history, made the story even more poignant. I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Susan Petronio

    This book is not about Heidi. Under the Light of the Italian Moon by Jennifer Anton is a moving love story based in the Alps, but more importantly it is a true drama that will resonate with anyone with ancestral roots in Europe -- especially northern Italy -- who heard family stories of resilience in the face of depravation and atrocities during the first and second world wars. The characters are vivid and true to life as they navigate upheaval and divided loyalties caused by the rise of Fascism This book is not about Heidi. Under the Light of the Italian Moon by Jennifer Anton is a moving love story based in the Alps, but more importantly it is a true drama that will resonate with anyone with ancestral roots in Europe -- especially northern Italy -- who heard family stories of resilience in the face of depravation and atrocities during the first and second world wars. The characters are vivid and true to life as they navigate upheaval and divided loyalties caused by the rise of Fascism in small, isolated alpine villages. The author expertly weaves in heartwarming scenes of the deep Catholicism of the region, simple family meals centered on polenta, joyous local festivals, long cold winters followed by the flowering alpine meadows of summer, and of men sipping grappa and dreaming of immigrating to America. Through it all, it is the tenacious women of this family that triumph.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jenndian

    Amazing book based on the lives of the author’s family. I never knew about the partisan’s in Italy during WWII. Beautifully written love story that perseveres during the war, so much heartbreak but still the message of love conquers all. Wonderful characters, great storytelling. I learned so much about il Duce and his reign in Italy. Definitely recommend! *Received an ARC through NetGalley in exchange for a fair review.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sam Fox

    Thank you to NetGalley and the author, Jennifer Anton, for sending me an ARC of Under The Light Of The Italian Moon. This is a beautiful story based in a small mountainside town called Fonzaso, Italy. The story begins in 1914 and spans decades following the Argenta family. The events that take place in this book are based on the authors very own relatives. The story beautifully captures the strength of family, the unbreakable bond between lovers and the importance of faith. Nina Argenta is our m Thank you to NetGalley and the author, Jennifer Anton, for sending me an ARC of Under The Light Of The Italian Moon. This is a beautiful story based in a small mountainside town called Fonzaso, Italy. The story begins in 1914 and spans decades following the Argenta family. The events that take place in this book are based on the authors very own relatives. The story beautifully captures the strength of family, the unbreakable bond between lovers and the importance of faith. Nina Argenta is our main protagonist. At the beginning of the story Nina is a young girl with a big crush on her neighbour, Pietro Pante. Pietro heads to America to work in the coal mines but as the years pass by, their love for each other never fades. They promise that to each other, they are the moon - even when they are on opposite sides of the world, they stare up at the same moon and think of each other. They have an unconventional yet truly incredible love story. You can feel how personal this story is to the author as she writes about her own ancestors. It's a fascinating story about unwavering love between family, lovers, country and God. The story details the rise of Mussolini in Italy and how WWII had been brewing under the surface for years. I learned a lot about Italy's role on the world stage at that time. Did you know women were awarded based on the number of children they gave birth to? They were given a medal and higher social standing if they gave birth to 14 children! Count me out... I loved this book an highly recommend it. It's a moving story based on a real Italian family who never lost faith, hope or love.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Crystal Tadlock

    This book is about Nina and Pietro. How they met, met again and fell in a lifetime of love. Nina met Pietro as a 10 year old girl, he was a teen and heading to America to begin a new life in the coal mines earning money for his family. In that fateful meeting, Nina told him she wanted him to bring her one American penny if he came home. Nina is now 15 and she is going to get her father. As she is running to the church, she sees a familiar man coming out and down the steps. She stands there looki This book is about Nina and Pietro. How they met, met again and fell in a lifetime of love. Nina met Pietro as a 10 year old girl, he was a teen and heading to America to begin a new life in the coal mines earning money for his family. In that fateful meeting, Nina told him she wanted him to bring her one American penny if he came home. Nina is now 15 and she is going to get her father. As she is running to the church, she sees a familiar man coming out and down the steps. She stands there looking at him trying to figure where she knew him from. He looks back at her while lighting a cigarette, he knows that he remembers her as well and they both recall that fateful time she told him to bring her a penny. Pietro is to head back to America for the second time. Nina has settled on the fact that Pietro must like her sister, since she is of the marrying age. As she is considering all of this, she walks into her house and realizes Pietro is there with her mother. During this meeting, Pietro comes and hands her a penny, as promised and tells her he will be back when he could. Nina watches him go, already anticipating his return. This is a magnificent, deep, and heart wrenching story. I enjoyed each and every character. The book described war and history as told by this extremely strong and courageous family. I am so thankful for the opportunity to have read this book and to have heard this love story.

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