Title: The Liberation
Author: Kate Furnivall
Published: November 3rd 2016
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Australia
Genres: Fiction, Historical, War
Rating: 4 stars
Italy, 1945: as British and American troops attempt to bring order to the devastated cities, its population fights each other to survive. Caterina Lombardi is desperate – her mother has abandoned them already and her brother is being drawn into the mafia. Early one morning, among the ruins of the bombed Naples streets, she is forced to go to extreme lengths to protect her family and in doing so forges a future very different to the one she expected. But will the secrets of her family’s past be her downfall? This epic novel is an unforgettably powerful story of love, loss and the long shadow of war.
Kate Furnivall is an author who is quite familiar to me. I devoured Furnivall’s series of books set in Russia, she has a real knack for bringing to life places and specific time periods from the past. It has been awhile since I have read a book written by Kate Furnivall, so I was excited about the prospect of reading Furnivall’s latest release, The Liberation.
The Liberation effortlessly transports the reader back to post war Italy. In 1945, Caterina Lombardi is a young woman among countless Italians fighting to survive. The reader quickly learns that Caterina is fiercely protective of her family and will do anything to ensure that their safety is secured. After losing her Father two years ago, Caterina has continued the family trade of wooden handicraft. One day, she finds herself selling these articles in Naples and runs into trouble. A robber tries to attack Caterina but she is saved by two Allied Army officers. These officers change Caterina’s life, as she discovers that her late Father has been accused of treason and black market dealings. As Caterina fights hard to clear her family’s name and protect them from further anguish, she is lead on a dangerous journey.
If you enjoy historical novels grand in scale, look no further than The Liberation. An epic novel at over 500 pages, the length of this novel first seemed a little daunting. Thankfully, I was soon swept away by the breathtaking locations and compelling time frame of this novel, to concern myself about the breath of this book. There is no question that author Kate Furnivall takes care to ensure she presents her readers with an accurate depiction of the specific time and locales in which her books are set. The Liberation is no exception. By far, what I enjoyed most about this book was the vivid setting. While reading The Liberation, I was also reminded of what I appreciated about Furnivall’s writing in the past, her scene setting is faultless. At many points in the novel I felt like I was a genuine part of the action in Italy during this desperate, perilous and uncertain time period.
It is hard to not like leading character Caterina Lombardi. From the opening pages, Caterina is clearly defined as fearless, as well as fiercely loyal. Caterina’s love for her family is admirable, which we witness through the dangerous action she takes in the novel. Furnivall also gives Caterina a little romance to contend with in her determined quest to restore her Father’s integrity. I did enjoy the scenes between Caterina and Allied Officer Jake, the chemistry between the two provided moments of light in a somewhat bleak time.
Readers will find the plot in The Liberation deeply satisfying. The Liberation travels at a steady pace and the pages flip by at an easy pace. On the whole, I found the narrative very intriguing, delivering plenty of twists to keep me on my toes. In fact, there were many points in the novel where I wasn’t quite sure what Furnivall was going to serve up next. This added to the overall appeal of The Liberation. In terms of content, I have to say I found the story thread involving the stolen artefacts, paintings and statues fascinating. In addition, I was dearly holding out hope that Caterina could clear the accusation made against her Father in his association with these stolen goods. When I reached the end of The Liberation, I felt like I had been on a tumultuous journey but I was filled with feelings of hope for the future of these characters and Italy’s restoration.
A story rich in history that demonstrates the strength of the Italian people and their love for family, The Liberation is a book that I endorse highly.
*Please note that a free copy of this book was provided to me for review purposes through Beauty and Lace. To read the original review on the Beauty and Lace website please visit here.