"Venice, 1945. The war may be waning, but the city known as La Serenissima is still occupied and the people of Italy fear the power of the Third Reich. One night, under a canopy of stars, a fisherman named Cenzo comes across a young woman’s body floating in the lagoon and soon discovers that she is still alive and in trouble.
Born to a wealthy Jewish family, Giulia is on the run from the SS. Cenzo chooses to protect Giulia rather than hand her over to the Nazis. This act of kindness leads them into the world of Partisans, random executions, the arts of forgery and high explosives, Mussolini’s broken promises, the black market and gold, and, everywhere, the enigmatic maze of the Venice Lagoon."
When I opted to read The Girl From Venice I was hoping for an engaging war story rich in the Venetian atmosphere but instead of feeling completely immersed in the story and time period, I felt more like an outsider looking in. If you've ever been with a group of people that are talking about something that happened when you weren't there, so you don't quite get what the fuss is about, then you'll understand how I felt about the author's writing. It seemed like we were only given scattered parts of the whole story and the political dynamics among the major players- Mussolini, Fascists, Partisans, Italy, Germany, America etc., weren't fleshed out well enough for me to fully engage in it.
The characters were also very flat. Normally if I read a really good historical war story, I feel emotionally involved in the characters and sympathize with their circumstances but in this story I didn't feel anything at all for any of the characters. There just wasn't enough character development and the stage wasn't set adequately enough for me to get invested in either the characters or the story.
If you already have a deep understanding of Italy's role in the war then you may appreciate the story more then I did but if you don't, then you'll probably come away from it feeling like you're missing crucial parts of this historical period.
*I received this ARC from NetGalley and Simon & Schuster in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!