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It all seems very well-researched, is beautifully written longish, but a real page-turner with a strong sense of place: the wartime story is gripping and emotional, and the detective story is really well done. The tying together at the end is absolutely spot-on I almost guessed it, but not quite Highly recommended - and thanks to Caroline who passed this one on for my birthday.

I'd never heard of this book before. An old man is murdered, salt is found in his mouth, he is a dealer in antique pornographic prints. Another old man is found miles away in another Italian city, killed in a similar fashion. The investigator finds they are connected, both were involved in Italy's partisan movement during WWII.

A journal from that era, written by a young woman who worked as a nurse, is woven into the story. To tell anymore would spoil it - suffice it to say that you e I'd never heard of this book before. To tell anymore would spoil it - suffice it to say that you enjoy reading about the second World War and Italy, this book is well worth reading. There's a nice pace to it, appealing characters, and a nice twisty plot.

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An ordinary family living in Florence against the backdrop of the second world war gets involved with the partisan movement Really well written, this book has believable and human characters, a moving account of how 'ordinary people do extraordinary things', an elegant investigator and very skilful interplay between the past and the present Apr 01, Louise rated it it was amazing Shelves: dual-storyline , historical-fiction , mystery.

I bought this book a couple of years ago because of a recommendation on Twitter but just got round to reading it.

Luciano Virgili Villa Triste

I wasn't sure I was going to like it at first, as I found the characters a bit prickly and difficult. However, that was just setting the stage for some family dynamics that were integral to the plot. This was a very gripping read, very compelling. The actual mystery wasn't too difficult to figure out, but that didn't diminish the story. I found that I cared very much about what happe I bought this book a couple of years ago because of a recommendation on Twitter but just got round to reading it.

I found that I cared very much about what happened to the characters. I thought the book flowed in a natural order, with time. Most WWII books are written by men, and have that slight twist. This book followed that type of twist but ended up with a great ending. Jan 23, Audrey rated it it was ok Shelves: mystery , around-the-world , fiction , historical-fiction , wwii , europe , s , suspense. At pages, the sheer size of this volume initially overwhelmed me, and I probably wouldn't have picked it up if I hadn't won a copy through a Goodreads giveaway.

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Connecting the past with the present, this was more of a current-era murder mystery than I thought it would be. Once I warmed up to this concept, however, I actually found the mystery angle to be quite intriguing. The writing was good, the story was never dull, and there were just enough leads and diversions to keep me guessing right At pages, the sheer size of this volume initially overwhelmed me, and I probably wouldn't have picked it up if I hadn't won a copy through a Goodreads giveaway. The writing was good, the story was never dull, and there were just enough leads and diversions to keep me guessing right until the end.

The book is written from a rather grim, secular worldview. The main characters don't seem to have any faith, and at least one explicitly states that she doesn't believe in God. It's not that I feel every book has to incorporate a sermon; it was just sad for me to read about characters that went through such hard things without any faith to sustain them. There is also a smattering of foul language in this book. There's not an f-word in every chapter or anything like that, but I recall at least one f-word, as well as multiple abuses of God's name, and some other profanities.

An out-of-wedlock pregnancy plays a major role in the plot, and the characters seem to find nothing wrong with this. A minor character is involved in an adulterous affair, which is mentioned once, and some references are made to another character's failing marriage.

Villa Triste

There are also a few mentions of porn, never in any detail, but it's not something I like reading about in any case. I wondered why that element was even incorporated into the story. Finally, there is one incidence that could be called a sex scene, although it is handled very discreetly and nothing is described. It would actually be easy to miss altogether if not for the veiled references made to it later on in the story.

The narrative detailing the events and destruction of WWII are often heavy and written in a way that makes it all seem like a surreal sort of nightmare which is probably what it seemed like to those living it. There are also portrayals of wartime violence, death, etc. I don't necessarily object to the handling of the violent events I don't recall it getting overly gratuitous ; I'm just mentioning it in case anyone picks this up expecting a light story.

Some parts are definitely hard to read about. Perhaps my main problem with the story, though, was the fact that view spoiler [ the central element of the murders was based on vengeance and on the demented idea that killing the people responsible for the betrayal and death of your family is the only way to achieve justice and peace.

It was a twisted premise, and what makes it worse is that the inspector himself almost seems to be okay with it. Committing a crime to avenge another is utterly pointless. The only thing that kind of thinking really achieves is the rooting of self-destructive bitterness and revenge into one's soul.


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Forgiveness is the only way to find freedom and peace. So, yeah, that did not settle well with me at all. This story could've gone in such a different direction. Why didn't Pallioti read Caterina's entire journal at once? I understand the need for it to be sequentially incorporated into the book, but was it realistic that he would only read segments of it at a time? Also, would a journal really include that much dialogue? I don't get why they initially suspected Il Spettro as the killer. If he was a partisan, what would his motive be to knock-off his fellow aging partisans? How did Pallioti find out about the Cavicallis being that same family?

Finally, I really think that Isabella should have contacted Caterina in America. I think that whatever qualms she would've had about giving up her nephew would be vastly alleviated by the joy that would come from knowing her sister, believed to be dead, was indeed alive. The logic for concealing the information seemed completely irrational to me. Without that, for me, the experience just wasn't worth it. View all 4 comments.

Jul 13, Julia J rated it it was amazing. Two brave sisters in German-occupied Florence risking their lives alongside the Italian partisans. A modern-day mystery that can only be solved with the help of the past. In short, the makings of the perfect story to entice history enthusiasts like me particularly those with an appetite for novels about Italy and World War II.

When Italy falls under Nazi occupation in , nurse Caterina Cammaccio intends to lie low and endure the occupation as long as necessary, but when Caterina Two brave sisters in German-occupied Florence risking their lives alongside the Italian partisans. Sixty years later, police inspector Alessandro Pallioti comes across a small diary during a murder investigation. It is the diary of Caterina Cammaccio, and it may well be the key to solving the crime - someone is targeting elderly heros of the Resistance.

With the help of the diary, Pallioti must figure out if the murder is the result of a modern-day psychopath or if the clues lie hidden in the past. I have nothing but praise for this fantastic novel. I have read books with a similar technique where one narrative is much more compelling than the other, but in The Villa Triste, each story is equally interesting thanks to believable and likeable characters, and - most importantly - neither story gives away too much of the other. Historical fiction can be a dangerous thing.

If the novel is not well researched the "Historical" can be suspect. Plus there is always the danger that the reader will forget the "fiction" aspects of the novel and fail to realize the author may have taken liberties with historical figures as a plot devise. Think of the movie "Titanic" and all those screaming girls.

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The best historical novel nudges the reader into the non-fiction sections of the library to find out more about the histor Historical fiction can be a dangerous thing. The best historical novel nudges the reader into the non-fiction sections of the library to find out more about the historical time.

Lucritia Grindle's novel Villa Triste not only nudged me it basically grabbed me by the throat and dragged me into learning more about the Italian Resistance Movement. I was amazed to learn about the Partisan movements, and just how many woman were active fighters. As for this novel, it is a murder mystery of the best form. The death of two former Partisan fighters causes the protagonist of the novel, Inspector Alessandro Pallioti to learn more about the WW2 resistance movement.


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The novel is told in alternating flashbacks to and present day. By skillfully weaving past and present together, the author was able to provide the sense of just how much the war effected an entire generation of a country without getting preachy about it. This is actually the second novel in Inspector Pallioti series. I would happily go back and read the first novel, The Faces of Angels Aug 16, LemonLinda rated it really liked it.