Top positive review
Reviewed in the United States on October 5, 2020
The Italian Girls: absolutely gripping and heartbreaking World War II historical fiction is by Debbie Rix. Although the book is historical fiction, Debbie did take parts of the stories of two of other ladies’ stories expanded upon them. The story of Isabella was actually based on the life of the film star Maria Denis and the story of Livia came from two different university students who worked for the Resistance. She deftly wove their stories together with great imagination. She created a very complex story.
Livia lived with her parents as she was going to the university. When her Mother chose to stay in the country with her father-in-law, Nonno, Livia lived in the city of Florence with her Father, a lawyer. Livia has a boyfriend, Cosimo, who was drafted into the army. He returned having lost a foot and joined the resistance. Livia began working for the Resistance too by handling the radio broadcasts.
Isabella was a renowned actress in Rome. Although she was a good actress, she wasn’t particularly exceptional. She fell in love with the film director, Vincenzo Lucchese. She would do almost anything to get him to love her. When things get tense during the German occupation, her love for him will be greatly tested as will his feelings for her.
The lives of Livia and Isabella will become entwined in an unexpected way and yet they do not really know each other. The German Occupation throws all of the Italians into a spin and they do not know who can be trusted and who cannot.
The book is really good and gives a glimpse into what life might have been in Italy during Mussolini and then Hitler. Many of the actions by the Germans and later the Americans did actually occur.