Note: This review contains affiliate links that will result in monetary compensation if clicked on and purchases are made. This book was given to me free of charge with no expectation of a positive review. It was also an advanced reader copy so comments on formatting or proofreading will not appear.
Two young women take steps that will change their lives forever. One is an American from a low-income household and no apparent chance of improving her life. A friend convinces her to become a WAC and do something to help the war effort. Another is a young German girl who is doing her small part by taking pictures of the art that is being stored in the salt mines near her home. To keep her brother from being sent off, she volunteers to go toward the font line to help Germany save Italy’s art. Both women find new challenges and grow in ways they never imagined as they find themselves amidst air raids and gunfire.
I firmly believe that the views we have of situations, here it is WWII, usually remains set in how we were taught in school. We forget that there are different sides to conflicts and varied participants. Rarely, has the view from a WAC been presented to me. Never has the view from a German citizen who had been misled by her own government. That’s one of the main reasons that this book got my attention. It was a new perspective that was intriguing.
The chapters alter from one viewpoint to another. Each character starts in a different place in Italy, but very slowly their paths begin to converge. They meet new people, experience the culture (though battle worn) of another country, and begin to see themselves growing with the experiences. These women are inspirational in how they face life and absorb everything around them.
One could describe this as a coming of age story as these young women finally see the world around them and how they can impact it. They lose their innocence in seeing the world as only their small bubble back home. There is so much more to humanity than they have ever experienced. In addition to that, they learn more of historical artwork than they ever thought they would.
But the story is so much deeper than I have explained so far. This is a story of humanity, of the resilience of women, of truth and lies. It is the horrors of war and the beauty that still exists in such a world. I found myself unable to stop reading as I saw the world through the eyes of these two women. I saw art in a new light as well as the people they encountered.
I label 5 star books to be the ones that linger with me long after I finish reading them. With friends who love to read, I have told them all about this book. This is one of those books that should be shouted from the rooftops for its poetic imagery and the world the author invites each reader into.
Historical fiction at its finest. If you are encouraged by my description of this book, you can get your own copy here. Check it out! A wonderful read.