In Love and War by Alex Preston.
Genres: Literary Fiction, Historical.
Publisher: Faber & Faber Ltd.
A tale of love, heroism and resistance set against the stunning backdrop of 1930s Florence, In Love and War weaves fact and fiction to create a sweeping portrait of a city under siege. The novel is told through the eyes, letters and journals of Esmond Lowndes, who comes to Italy a lonely young man in the shadow of his politician father. On the cobbles of Florence’s many-storied streets, he deepens his appreciation of art and literature, and falls in love.
With the coming of war, Esmond finds himself drawn into the Tuscan Resistance, hunted by the malevolent Mario Carità, head of the Fascist secret police. With his lover, Ada, at his side, he is at the centre of assassination plots, shoot-outs and car chases, culminating in a final mission of extraordinary daring.
In Love and War is a novel that will take you deep into the secret heart of history. It is a novel of art and letters, of bawdy raconteurs and dashing spies. With Esmond Lowndes you will see the beauty of Florence and the horror of war as it sweeps over the city’s terracotta rooftops. In Love and War is both epic and intimate, harrowing and heartwarming.
Book Review ~ ‘In Love and War’ by Alex Preston ~ 6 Stars!
I was too emotionally drained to write a review coherent enough to express how much of a masterpiece this book is when I first finished it. I’m not ashamed to admit, I was a bit of a wreck. I’d just been through one of the most powerful, heart-wrenching reading experiences, and I couldn’t even begin to put my thoughts into words. All I could say was; “Wow! What a heart-breaking, just all round outstanding novel!”
This is the first book I’ve read by Alex Preston, but it most certainly won’t be the last. ‘In Love and War’ was an incredibly well-written and powerful novel that just highlights Alex Preston’s talent as an author. The story starts in a Pre-Second World War Florence, and immediately I connected to the writing. I could feel the Italian heat, I could see the balconies, the streets and the people. Everything was so well-portrayed that I wished I could go to Florence, but not today’s Florence, a 1930s Florence unchanged by war and technology.
There are different parts to this novel, and each one is different. We see Esmond’s journey from his perspective, his loves, losses and works, and we see the story and passing of time through letters, telegrams and radio recordings. All of which were paced perfectly.
I won’t spoil the story for potential readers, but I’ll just say this. You will smile, cry, shiver, clutch your chest at the pain of war, and really think about all the unnamed people who died in WWII trying to make this place a better world. Not everyone gets a happy ending, but through this book, Alex Preston has given a new meaning to these brave men and women, and the battles they fought.
P.S. Thank you so much Alex Preston for signing my book before it was sent to me. I will treasure it!
*Proof copy was kindly provided the publisher in exchange for an honest review*