I liked the sound of the story! And, Lisa Scottoline’s essays are favorites of mine. I’ve read one of her thrillers as well.
Elisabetta, Marco, and Sandro are lifelong friends. Nearing the end of high school, as the world veers toward World War II, the three are coming of age in Rome. Elisabetta, the daughter of an unloving mother and a drunken father, Marco the son of cycling champion turned barkeeper, and brilliant Sandro–a Jewish boy with a future ahead of him as a mathematician. The three are in a triangle as they come to the age of boys and girls starting to fall in love. Elisabetta sees the merits of both young men. Rome has long been a tolerant city–Jews have played a full role in its history. They have been there since the time of Christ and have a treasure trove of libraries and historical records.
Marco’s father is a Fascist of the First Order–one of the first. But, will he follow his father? To modern readers, it is unbelievable that Sandro’s father is ALSO a Fascist. After all, El Duce has a Jewish mistress–he is no anti-Semite, and no one in the 1930s had reason to suspect that Mussolini would partner with Hitler. After all, Romans had gone to school together, played together and have both Catholic and Jewish neighbors. Their families are friends and celebrate with each other. That was Rome.
This is the story of the three young people, their families, their city, and their country both as it moves toward war and then through the war. Elisabetta is the first to take on full adult responsibilities, then Marco, and later Sandro. As their world changes, their hearts race. The boys wondering which of the two best friends will win Elisabetta for his wife. Elisabetta seems to know, but does she?
Lisa Scottoline has written many a bestselling thriller. This is her first foray into historical fiction. Thankfully, she brought her ability to keep a reader on the edge of their seat with her to this book. She has peopled the books with real folks–and real emotion. Are there flaws? Yes, of course, but minor ones. It was hard to think of the three main characters as high school students even at first. They were so adult. Another was this, [MINOR SPOLIER ALERT] could someone please explain why the sister came back?? That made no sense to me. Those are tiny flaws that do not matter in the course of the bigger story.
There were a few others, such as coming dangerously close to my pet peeve of inserting discussions of the news to move the story along, but, never mind–this is a riveting book! Yes, there were some places that were maybe a touch too thriller-ish, but the truth is I couldn’t stop listening. I got through all 19 hours of the audio in ONE WEEK. I loved it. Some have said a few scenes were eye-rolling–no, they weren’t because of how they ended. I sincerely hope Lisa Scottoline writes more historical fiction.
Warning: There is one brief moment that animal lovers may want to skip. No spoilers intended, but its when some extended family moves in–ok? Most people won’t be bothered by it. Just warning those who are extra sensitive about animals. Lisa Scottoline has and loves animals, so this did surprise me, but it is very, very brief.
Eternal by Lisa Scottoline
If you’d like to read my reviews of Lisa Scottoline’s essays, use the search feature.
I was worried about this one when I saw it. I do enjoy her essays and thrillers, but was leery of her writing historical fiction. I guess I will give it a try after all. Great review Lisa.
Nice review. I am familiar with this author for some reason but I don’t know what it is! I don’t have her listed as an author that I’ve read, maybe I just forgot to put it in my log. I love historical fiction and this sounds like a winner.
She writes a lot of popular thrillers. She also does humorous essays–I’ve posted about those many times.