Kate Furnivall is known for her sweeping, epic novels and The Liberation will not disappoint those who’ve loved her previous books.
Set in a post WWII Italy that is struggling to find itself and regain some of its former glory, Furnivall artfully depicts what it must have been like to live in a post-war era. While one would imagine that once the war was over, things slowly got back to normal, the reality was very far from this. There is so much to wade through in order for the country to truly move forward, and this is what the author focuses on.
Caterina Lombardi’s family are a shattered shell. First her mother left them eleven years earlier, to run off with a man from a rival family (it’s Italy remember, they love and hate with equal passion); then two years earlier her father was killed when his woodworking workshop was bombed. She has been left to look after her blind grandfather and her younger brother, Luca. Thankfully her father passed on his carving skills and knowledge to Caterina and she’s able to create beautiful wood articles to sell in order to make a little money for them to survive on.
It is through her craft that she meets two soldiers, British Harry Fielding, and American Jake Parr, and discovers that although they primarily appear to merely be part of the Allied forces in Italy to help the country regain its footing, they’re actually intelligence officers on a much more disturbing mission.
What follows is an intricate and convoluted tale of corruption, greed, intrigue, deception and conspiracy in which Caterina must clear her late father’s name and uncover the truth about Italy’s stolen artworks. With Furnivall’s talent for descriptive narrative, we’re able to picture it all against a magnificent Italian backdrop that is still beautiful, despite being ravaged by war.
The cast of characters is quite a heavily populated one and it did take me some time to figure out who was who. But everyone is well defined. I had some difficulty with Caterina’s brother Luca, who at just 11 years old seemed to act far older than this, even when one took the effects of the war into account.
If you’re looking for something fast-paced then I wouldn’t suggest this. Even though it has that element of mystery, it’s quite drawn out and because of the extensive narrative the action tends to lose some of its impact.
However, for fans of this genre and author I’d highly recommend this. I give it a 3.5 to 4 star rating – because there are no half stars, I’m going the 4 star route!
My thanks to the author and TBC Reviewer Request Group (on FB) for my copy of this in return for an honest review.