An Englishwoman stranded alone in Italy during WWII
Today, we are thrilled to be the stop on the Blog Tour for The Stolen Letter by Clara Benson.
The Stolen Letter is a Second World War story of adversity and awakening.
Title: The Stolen Letter by Clara Benson
Publisher: Bookouture (September 24, 2020)
Print Lenght: 423 pages
The longer her imprisonment went on, the more she cast her mind back to the stolen hours they had spent together. His love had blown in like an unexpected breath of warm summer air, giving her the promise of life and joy. But now they had been torn apart and she was tormented by the thought that they might never be reunited.
Italy, 1938: When Stella arrives in Florence, it’s love at first sight. She is wowed by the rolling hills dotted with olive trees, the buttermilk villas with shuttered windows and terracotta roofs that glow gloriously in the sunlight. Even the breeze holds the scent of freedom – freedom from England, where the shadow of her past haunted her.
Then there is Ted, an American journalist who is wild and mischievous, with an arrogance bordering on rude. Stella is infuriated by him – but she cannot deny the lure of the danger and excitement he promises.
But there is something dark under the bright surface of this beautiful country, with unspeakable tragedies just around the corner. When the Nazis take control of Italy, Stella and Ted – and whatever dreams the future held for them – are ripped apart. As bombs descend, destroying everything in their wake, there is nothing to do but sit in darkness, praying to see tomorrow.
And it seems that even in Italy, Stella’s past has found her. Somewhere in the winding streets of Florence there is a letter that could change the course of her fate. Unknown to her, it holds a secret with the power to rewrite her past, and everything she has been running away from. But will she live to find it? And with the odds stacked against her, will she ever see Ted again?
This beautifully spun and stirring tale is about the impossible tragedies of war and the miraculous possibilities of love. Fans of Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale, Rhys Bowen’s The Tuscan Child, and The Letter by Kathryn Hughes will be utterly captivated by this spectacular historical page-turner.
From the Publisher’s Blurb
Stella had a sheltered and comfortable life. Her father was a successful art dealer and had provided her with education and financial support despite not always being present.
Upon his unexpected death, Stella inherited a fortune but felt lonely in the world. Sometime later, even though she did not like her stepmother, she accepted the invitation to visit her and her new husband in their Villa in Italy.
I love how Stella grows as the story progresses. She starts young and naive, easily persuaded, and with each hardship, she builds strength and shows her true self.
The story is full of fascinating characters. Some were evil, some were good, but my favorites were those in between, especially Monica, the stepmother, and her husband, Gerardo.
The plot is well structured, and I particularly liked the side stories. Be aware that there is violence (it is a war story), including antisemitism and domestic abuse. To counterbalance, there is friendship, generosity, and a bit of romance with a happy end.
The Stolen Letter is an engaging and intriguing read. I recommend it to everyone that enjoys WWII stories.
Disclosure: I received an ARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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About the Author
Clara Benson is the author of the Angela Marchmont Mysteries and Freddy Pilkington-Soames Adventures – traditional English whodunits in authentic style set in the 1920s and 30s. One day she would like to drink cocktails and solve mysteries in a sequinned dress and evening gloves. In the meantime she lives in the north of England with her family and doesn’t do any of those things.