disclosure: we were sent the item mentioned for the purpose of review
The Tears of Monterini, the first novel from Amanda Weinberg was published earlier this month through RedDoor Press. I finished reading it myself earlier this week and it’s still haunting me now. It’s beautifully written and really rather an emotional read.
Set in Italy at a time of fascist rule we meet two families whose lives are totally entwined although one is Catholic and the other Jewish. We pick up the story in the fictional village of Monterini in 1921 when two babies are expected to arrive at any time.
Jacobo is Jewish and comes from a family of intellectuals. He runs the family bookshop and his wife Bella is expecting their first child. His next-door neighbour and lifelong friend is Angelo, a Catholic and a poor farmer, his wife Santina is also expecting. As Santina and Angelo welcome baby Enrico into the world, it becomes clear that something awful is happening next door. Jacobo now has a daughter but he has lost his wife. Filled with grief, he cannot function and his neighbour steps in to look after the new arrival who is subsequently named after her mother.
Bella and Rico grow up together as best friends and although her father is always rather withdrawn from her, she is loved like a daughter by Angelo. The families live in a very tight-knit community and religion has never been something to divide the village. But as Mussolini’s power expands and the links to Nazi Germany grow closer it’s inevitable that life is about to change for everyone in Monterini.
The characters in The Tears of Monterini are so believable and as we all know what transpired during the Second World War, you feel a sense of doom as the storyline progresses. How can the families survive the atrocities to come?
Friendships are tested to the limit, love is thwarted and tears are shed. It’s such a moving story and one that leaves you will the families to survive and pull together. I won’t share the plot, but I can thoroughly recommend The Tears of Monterini, it’s very good indeed.
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