An Italian Secret
Tuscany, 1944. Did she fight for the resistance or betray her people?
When the Nazis storm into northern Italy, Contessa Evelina Messina, the owner of the beautiful Villa Rosa, welcomes the Germans to her valley. In a dazzling rose silk dress, she entertains soldiers with priceless wine from her ancient cellars. Privately, she tells the townspeople this will keep the enemy at bay, but her disguise is so good, it is impossible to tell on which side her heart truly belongs…
Years later, American Annie Reynolds gazes up at the peach-coloured walls of the magnificent, empty house. Grieving deeply for her beloved father, Annie remembers his last words before he slipped away—he told her she was adopted and that the Villa Rosa was her birthright. Desperate for answers, Annie’s heart breaks when the locals tell her the Contessa had a child with a Nazi. She is devastated and ready to turn away from her dark past.
But everything changes when Annie uncovers a musty old diary from 1944 amongst the Contessa’s belongings. Pages have been meticulously cut out and Annie is sure these missing entries hold the clue to her past. As she frantically searches old papers, Annie sees how hard the Contessa worked to keep her people safe and wonders if the locals’ stories are wrong. Can Annie find the Contessa’s missing child, born at the end of the war? And will discovering the truth about what happened alter the course of her own life for good?
An utterly gripping, sweeping page-turner that will transport you to the olive groves of Tuscany. With a truly heartbreaking family secret from World War Two at its heart, fans of Kathryn Hughes, Fiona Valpy and Victoria Hislop will be enchanted.