This was an epic tale of love, sacrifice, forgiveness, loss and new beginnings. The story’s main narrator was Zara Mitchell, a hospice nurse who loves dogs and who deals compassionately with those entering the last stage of life. When she returns home to Richmond, Virginia, because her grandmother Nonna is dying, Zara does not know what to expect. She is used to dealing with death, but not that of the family member who raised her. When Nonna insists that Zara clean out the attic and look for a particular treasure there, Zara pitches in quickly to the task, wanting to complete it before her Nonna dies. In the attic is a journal that tells the story of a young woman in Rome named Isabella, a courageous young woman who faced down the Nazis and did all she could to help the Resistance and those in danger to escape. The secrets of the attic drew me back to the book again and again. Yes, there was a love story involved, several of them, in fact. The time is from the past during WWII and to the present, with Zara having to cope with her own losses and inevitable changes that come with them. I cannot say enough good things about this book! It helped me to see the hardships of war more clearly and the sacrifices that the people in the land occupied by the Nazis had to make in order to continue to survive. The characters became real to me, like watching a movie on television and having the actors step out of the screen and talk to me as they related their life’s story. This is a book that I will long remember as more than a love story because it is a book that teaches the horrors of war and the triumph of love and compassion.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author via Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, “Guides Concerning the Use of Testimonials and Endorsements in Advertising.”
Author’s Bio: (from her website)
A southerner by birth, Mary Ellen Taylor’s love of her home state, Virginia, is evident in her contemporary women’s fiction, including Winter Cottage , Spring House and her latest Honeysuckle Seasonand her latest The Words We Whisper. She’s also celebrated the city of Alexandria and its storied history in her books The Union Street Bakery, Sweet Expectations, At the Corner of King StreetandThe View from Prince Street.
As do so many people, her protagonists search for their place in the world, exploring issues of family, home, love and belonging. Inevitably, Mary Ellen’s stories entwine with those of the places in which they’re set, and the mysteries at their core span past and present.
Mary Ellen is also known nationally as New York Times and USA Today bestselling suspense novelist Mary Burton. Together, they have published forty-five novels and five novellas. Mary Burton’s latest, Near You, debuts April 2021.
When not traveling or holed up writing, Mary Ellen spends time with her husband enjoying their empty nest and spoiling their miniature dachshunds, Buddy, Bella and Tiki.