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Paradiso: Utterly gripping and emotional historical fiction (The Paradiso Novels Book 1)

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Italy, 1937. In a tiny village in rural Lombardy, Graziella Ponti is born into a loving family. Though they are not rich and life is full of challenges, they are content and safe, surrounded by the tightly-knit community of Pieve Santa Clara. But when the shadow of World War Two falls across the village with the arrival of Nazi soldiers, nothing in young Graziella’s life wil Italy, 1937. In a tiny village in rural Lombardy, Graziella Ponti is born into a loving family. Though they are not rich and life is full of challenges, they are content and safe, surrounded by the tightly-knit community of Pieve Santa Clara. But when the shadow of World War Two falls across the village with the arrival of Nazi soldiers, nothing in young Graziella’s life will ever be the same again. Paradiso is Graziella’s story. It charts her loves, losses and triumphs as she grows up in post-war Italy, a country in transformation, freed from the shackles of dictatorship yet still gripped by the restraints of the Catholic church. Paradiso is inspired by true stories told to Francesca Scanacapra by her Italian family and set in locations where she spent much of her childhood. It is a deeply affecting novel which sheds light on the complexity and trauma of Italy’s past and weaves it into the epic tale of an ordinary woman compelled to live in extraordinary times.


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Italy, 1937. In a tiny village in rural Lombardy, Graziella Ponti is born into a loving family. Though they are not rich and life is full of challenges, they are content and safe, surrounded by the tightly-knit community of Pieve Santa Clara. But when the shadow of World War Two falls across the village with the arrival of Nazi soldiers, nothing in young Graziella’s life wil Italy, 1937. In a tiny village in rural Lombardy, Graziella Ponti is born into a loving family. Though they are not rich and life is full of challenges, they are content and safe, surrounded by the tightly-knit community of Pieve Santa Clara. But when the shadow of World War Two falls across the village with the arrival of Nazi soldiers, nothing in young Graziella’s life will ever be the same again. Paradiso is Graziella’s story. It charts her loves, losses and triumphs as she grows up in post-war Italy, a country in transformation, freed from the shackles of dictatorship yet still gripped by the restraints of the Catholic church. Paradiso is inspired by true stories told to Francesca Scanacapra by her Italian family and set in locations where she spent much of her childhood. It is a deeply affecting novel which sheds light on the complexity and trauma of Italy’s past and weaves it into the epic tale of an ordinary woman compelled to live in extraordinary times.

10 review for Paradiso: Utterly gripping and emotional historical fiction (The Paradiso Novels Book 1)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Christine

    Follow along with Graziella Ponti, a young girl in Italy during World War 2. You read all about her life during this time. How she had to leave her home for a convent when Germans began coming to her town. What happens when she comes back home and starts to relive her life with her mother, her father, and aunt. How does she act when things don't always turn around and she must move on? This is a wonderful book that makes you feel like you are with her on this little girl's life journey. One of m Follow along with Graziella Ponti, a young girl in Italy during World War 2. You read all about her life during this time. How she had to leave her home for a convent when Germans began coming to her town. What happens when she comes back home and starts to relive her life with her mother, her father, and aunt. How does she act when things don't always turn around and she must move on? This is a wonderful book that makes you feel like you are with her on this little girl's life journey. One of my favorite books is Corrie Ten Booms, Hidden Place. This reminded me of it so much, in all the ways that I enjoyed it. Both characters aren't hardened or melted in the way that have been treated and have been made to live their life. You still can see gentleness, kindness, and helpfulness. I could see this as a Book Club book or being read in a high school Literature class. This book is one that it makes you want to talk to your friends with or just anyone going down the street. When this book comes out, you should definitely get it to read.

  2. 5 out of 5

    L.S.

    An enthralling story representing a side not often seen in WWII historical fiction novels: that of a child in Italy, evacuated to a convent and later returned to her family in a village much changed from the place she left. Sworn to keep a secret about the death of a couple of German officers, Graziella protects her family … but at what cost? Life in post-war Lombardy has its ups and downs, and we see both sides through the young girl’s eyes as she grows up and into adulthood. For me, the story h An enthralling story representing a side not often seen in WWII historical fiction novels: that of a child in Italy, evacuated to a convent and later returned to her family in a village much changed from the place she left. Sworn to keep a secret about the death of a couple of German officers, Graziella protects her family … but at what cost? Life in post-war Lombardy has its ups and downs, and we see both sides through the young girl’s eyes as she grows up and into adulthood. For me, the story had a similar vibe to “Anne of Avonlea” (Green Gables) as the reader is drawn into life there, with all the family members and neighbours having their part to play. I found it interesting how the mothers in the story changed after losing their husbands, how they stood up to be counted in their own very subtle way. Zia Mina’s story would make a great spin-off with the Marcesini family. I would gladly read more about Graziella and her family. Had she found her true love in Gianfrancesco? Would she go on to be a teacher? A true family drama, both emotionally engaging and historically compelling.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Joanne Lewis

    A beautifully written piece of historical fiction that draws you into the lives of the characters from the first page! The story centres mainly on the early life of young Graziella Ponti during World War Two. Told through her eyes, it is an emotional journey that sees her evacuated from her family, struggling to see her frail father so incapacitated after an earlier accident and dealing with the aftermath of a series of actions which will impact on her family for years to come. Despite the settin A beautifully written piece of historical fiction that draws you into the lives of the characters from the first page! The story centres mainly on the early life of young Graziella Ponti during World War Two. Told through her eyes, it is an emotional journey that sees her evacuated from her family, struggling to see her frail father so incapacitated after an earlier accident and dealing with the aftermath of a series of actions which will impact on her family for years to come. Despite the setting, this is a heart-warming tale as the reader sees Graziella grow and change before their eyes, feeling not only her sorrow, but also bearing witness to her dreams and aspirations as she faces her future. A truly delightful read! With thanks to the author and @rararesources for the opportunity to participate in the blog tour in exchange for an ARC.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sue

  5. 5 out of 5

    Vicky Guise

  6. 4 out of 5

    Tiziana Langone

  7. 5 out of 5

    Lunanima

  8. 5 out of 5

    Leo

  9. 4 out of 5

    Sally Munday-Webb

  10. 5 out of 5

    Katherine Hayward Pérez

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