Book Review: Echoes of War by Tania Blanchard

BLURB: Set in Mussolini’s Italy amid great upheaval, this is the story of one woman’s determination to find her place in a world that men are threatening to tear apart. Another heart-rending novel inspired by a true story from the bestselling author of The Girl from Munich.
Calabria, Italy, 1936
In a remote farming village nestled in the mountains that descend into the sparkling Ionian Sea, young and spirited Giulia Tallariti longs for something more. While she loves her home and her lively family, she would much rather follow in her nonna’s footsteps and pursue her dream of becoming a healer.
But as Mussolini’s focus shifts to the war in Europe, civil unrest looms. Whispers of war are at every corner and her beloved village, once safe from the fascist agenda of the North, is now in very real danger.
Caught between her desire to forge her own path and her duty to her family, Giulia must draw on the passion in her heart and the strength of her conviction. Can she find a way to fulfill her dreams or will the echoes of war drown out her voice?

My Thoughts: I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The author has included glimpses of her Italian family history, interwoven into a clever and thoughtful pre & during WW2 novel. The social history is well rounded, with the contrasts between northern and southern Italy, city and village, fisher and farmer, parent and child all written with a lot of truth behind them. Traditionally, as a New Zealander, Italy was always thrown into the “axis of evil” basket, and I hadn’t given much thought to the people that made up Italy during the 1930s & 1940s, what made them tick, what they needed and what they were subject to. This book certainly opened my eyes to this, and also made me think about the intersections between natural medicines and modern techniques (well, modern in 1945!).
The joy and grief resonate and I’m going back in for a second read.

I received this ARC via #netgalley.