#BlogTour #Review The Betrayal by @AnneAllen21 #WW2Fiction #HistoricalFiction #Guernsey @rararesources #KindleOffer #EbookDeal

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The Betrayal by Anne Allen
The Guernsey novels – Book 6 
Synopsis:

Treachery and theft lead to death – and love

1940. Teresa Bichard and her baby are sent by her beloved husband, Leo, to England as the Germans draw closer to Guernsey. Days later they invade…

1942. Leo, of Jewish descent, is betrayed to the Germans and is sent to a concentration camp, never to return.

1945. Teresa returns to find Leo did not survive and the family’s valuable art collection, including a Renoir, is missing. Heartbroken, she returns to England.

2011. Nigel and his twin Fiona, buy a long-established antique shop in Guernsey and during a refit, find a hidden stash of paintings, including what appears to be a Renoir. Days later, Fiona finds Nigel dead, an apparent suicide. Refusing to accept the verdict, a distraught Fiona employs a detective to help her discover the truth…

Searching for the rightful owner of the painting brings Fiona close to someone who opens a chink in her broken heart. Can she answer some crucial questions before laying her brother’s ghost to rest?

Who betrayed Leo?

Who knew about the stolen Renoir?

And are they prepared to kill – again?

My review:

The novel moves between two timelines the present day 2011 and the World War 2 era, with both located at the beautiful Channel Island of Guernsey.
I love coastal crime novels and the WW2 era, so this was a combination, I knew I would enjoy.
I live on a Channel Island and although I haven’t visited Guernsey yet! I have visited Jersey and its many tourist sites in relation to the German occupation. So, it was easy to visualise the setting and atmosphere that such a novel generates.
The author has brought Guernsey alive on the page.

The novel opens in June 1940, as Theresa and baby daughter Judith are being evacuated from the Island fearing a German attack. Guernsey and Jersey were de-militarised in the build up to the war. The only channel island, that I know of that wasn’t, was the Isle Of Wight. As the British feared if the Island fell into German hands, they’d effectively be able to launch their own D-Day assault on Britain.
I loved the historical accuracy and at times I could get a real feel for the characters helplessness. They had no idea what their future was, once the Germans invaded.

The novel then jumps to the modern day of 2011. There is a robbery turned fatal attack at a local antiques shop. Which leaves Nigel dead and the motives unknown. What was the assailant attempting to steal? Nigel and his twin sister Fiona moved to the Island after Nigel’s diagnosis of MS. They sought out a calmer, carefree existence. But what they uncovered, had roots reaching far back into the past……

In 1940, Teresa separates herself from husband Leo, as the ship leaves Guernsey. Neither of them knows what the future can hold and if they’ll even ever see each other again. I found this heart-breaking to read and it really brought home the deep emotional pain many withstood in this era of history.

“I shall miss you more than you can ever know, my darling” – Leo

In the modern day, Fiona returns to the antiques shop, only to discover the body of her brother. Nigel is found hanging and with his recent medical diagnosis; the police are quick to assume suicide. But Fiona is steadfast in her belief that he would never abandon her and cause her such pain and grief. She is determined to prove the police wrong and so begins her own investigation. With the help of ex-copper turned PI John Ferguson, Fiona sets out to uncover the truth in the mystery.

I would describe this novel as cosy ww2 crime fiction. Although the plot revolves around a murder. It focuses more upon the impact this murder has on the characters, both past and present. The reflective chapters offer an insight and comparison into the ww2 era and the modern day. Leo’s perspective of the German invasion and his shocking betrayal, is brilliantly written. I wish the novel had covered more scenes from the ww2 timeline and in-particular Leo’s story. But the emphasis is mostly from the 2011 perspective, searching for the truth via the history of the island.

The location of St Peter Port, really adds to the novel. The theme of betrayal works incredibly well. Who can you trust, when everyone turns informer, in order to survive?
I would definitely LOVE to read more in the series and will be downloading the authors work via kindle unlimited asap!

Iphoto for email
Anne Allen
Author Bio –
Anne Allen lives in Devon, by her beloved sea. She has three children, and her daughter and two grandchildren live nearby. Her restless spirit has meant a number of moves which included Spain for a couple of years. The longest stay was in Guernsey for nearly fourteen years after falling in love with the island and the people. She contrived to leave one son behind to ensure a valid reason for frequent returns.

By profession, Anne was a psychotherapist, but long had the itch to write. Now a full-time writer, she has written The Guernsey Novels, six having been published and the seventh, The Inheritance, is due out in 2018
Authors links:
Website
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****A Triple Celebration and a Price Reduction!****

For this week only, until 18th February, the price of books 2-6 of The Guernsey Novels is only £1.99/$2.99, with book 1, ‘Dangerous Waters, remaining at 99p/99c

This is in celebration of Anne Allen’s birthday, the 6th anniversary of the publication of ‘Dangerous Waters’ and the recent publication of book 6, ‘The Betrayal’.
#CheckOutTheOffer

Still unsure, check out the other #BlogTour reviews on the following #Blogs
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#CharacterProfile Serjeant Catchpoll Marked To Die by Sarah Hawkswood @bradecote @AllisonandBusby #HistoricalFiction #Mystery

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Marked To Die by Sarah Hawkswood 
A Bradecote and Catchpoll mystery
Synopsis:
October 1143. His task dispatched, a mysterious archer melts back into the forest leaving a pile of corpses in his wake. The lord Sheriff of Worcester cannot ignore such a brazen attack on the salt road from Wich, nor the death of a nobleman in the wrong place at the wrong time. And so Hugh Bradecote and Serjeant Catchpoll are dispatched to hunt an elusive killer and his gang, and put a stop to the mounting attacks.

But it is not easy to get the culprits in their sights with a reeve keen to keep his position at all costs, a lord with his own ends to serve and a distrusting and vengeful widow to whom Bradecote is increasingly attracted.

Character profile:

SERJEANT CATCHPOLL
I never wanted my detectives to be flawless, or Holmesian in their ability to solve the crimes placed before them. What is important is that they are human, and also men of their time. In fact Catchpoll is very much a ‘proto-copper’ in the mould of Terry Pratchett’s Sam Vimes. I always think ‘Vimesy’ and Catchpoll would understand each other perfectly, and have an equal disregard for the Police and Criminal Evidence Act. They both fight dirty, have a deep sense of justice, and side with justice over the Law, which are not always totally in agreement. Both also know the power of creating their own myth, though neither would phrase it in that way.

Catchpoll, in terms of looks, has always been one man to me, taken from an image in a newspaper way back when the idea of the series formed in my head, and I saw a black and white portrait in a newspaper of the actor about to play a leading role at the RSC. I knew instantly ‘he’ was Catchpoll, from the gash of a mouth as a grim line in the grizzled stubble to the hard eyes with the deep crow’s feet at their corners, and the straggling, untrimmed hair. When I write him I see him as that every moment, and since Matt Addis has brought his voice to life in the audiobooks of the first two novels, I can hear the Worcestershire accent in every word. When it comes to the actual character of the man, he is in part someone I have known all my life. I am the product of three generations of Royal Marines senior NCOs, and, as some reviewers have noted, Catchpoll is your classic senior NCO. I drew heavily on my father’s pragmatism, practicality, and humanity. Catchpoll fulfils what he knows the people of Worcester expect the Sheriff’s Sergeant to be, unflappable, sometimes omniscient, tough and intolerant of fools. His view is that the criminals have to know that however mean and clever bastards they think themselves, Serjeant Catchpoll is for certain a meaner and cleverer one. He actively encourages this belief as a deterrence to crime in ‘his’ Worcester.

Thus Catchpoll seems as hard as nails, and prefers to be seen that way, but some things get through to his inner softness, which he then rushes to conceal. He is inclined to be tetchy, is always cynical, frequently insubordinate, and he has an inordinate and apparently illogical dislike of the Welsh, though that is explained in the sixth book in the series. He also talks to corpses, not in a ghoulish way, but because he is in essence ‘interviewing’ them as he would someone who could speak, and by asking the questions that their physical condition can answer, he finds it easier to see and store the information gleaned.

His relationship with Hugh Bradecote, the new Undersheriff, is one that develops gradually, from antipathy to grudging acceptance and then respect and trust. It had to be an arc, and a natural one at that, not some ‘buddy cop’ scenario. It has to be remembered also that outside of the important crimes, or crimes involving important people, he works alone, though he has now got Walkelin as his ‘serjeanting apprentice’, and imparting his knowledge to his protégé is something he quietly enjoys, though he would not tell Walkelin that. It also saves his creaky knees, of which he often complains.

Solving murder would not be an easy task in the twelfth century, and in reality the ‘cases’ where killers were caught were those where a community hue and cry brought in the perpetrator, not the Sheriff’s men hunting for clues. Having ‘detectives’ is an invention, but then the mediaeval murder mystery as a genre has to have them in some form. It would be a world where every piece of information and evidence has to be stored in memory, rather than annotated in a notebook, and the detective’s almost sole asset would be his ability to observe with all the senses and ‘read’ his fellow man. Both attributes are as useful to the modern detective too, of course, but now there are written statements, evidence bags, SOCOs etc. Sometimes Bradecote and Catchpoll make errors in their mental filing, forget something, give it too much value or not enough. I think it important that they can do that, and if the reader works out who did it before they do I do not think it matters. What is important is enjoying taking their journey to the solving of the crime. I certainly enjoy working with them.

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Sarah Hawkswood
Website
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#BlogTour #Review A Darker State by @djy_writer 5* @BonnierZaffre @bonnier_publish #NewRelease #CrimeFiction #Germany #1970s

Happy publication day David Young!

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A Darker State by David Young
Synopsis:

For the Stasi, it’s not just the truth that gets buried . . .

The body of a teenage boy is found weighted down in a lake. Karin Müller, newly appointed Major of the People’s Police, is called to investigate. But her power will only stretch so far, when every move she makes is under the watchful eye of the Stasi.

Then, when the son of Müller’s team member goes missing, it quickly becomes clear that there is a terrifying conspiracy at the heart of this case, one that could fast lead Müller and her young family into real danger.

Can she navigate this complex political web and find the missing boy, before it’s too late?

My review:

For the Stasi. It’s not just the truth that gets buried . . .

Under the secrecy and fear of a communist state, a murderer lurks. The prologue opens with one armed Polish dog walker Kazimierz Wojcik; stumbling across, the rat covered dead body of a young male, in a dark lake. It is within this terrifying political climate, that the man, even fears calling in the dead body to the police….

‘Keep you head down; keep out of trouble. That’s how Kazimierz had survived all these years, and he wasn’t about to change’

It is an eerie prologue that really sets the tone and pace of this historical novel. The author has done an outstanding job, of bringing 1976 East Berlin alive!
The novel is set within six months of 1976. With alternate chapters alternating the various months. The novel has many factual and historically accurate references. But the central theme is the skilfully woven, crime fiction plot.
One dead boy and another missing.
Things are about to get difficult for tough police major Karin Muller…….

Karin Muller is the newly appointed major of the serious crimes department in Keibelstrasse. Working alongside her deputy Werner Tilsner. Each having received double promotions. But is there more to this career fast tracking than meets the eye?

At the crime scene the pathologist quickly determines the body to have suffered fatal asphyxiation. There is a bizarre tattoo on the body and a sock stuffed down the throat of the victim. The police are left with more questions than leads.

The novel then jumps to six months previously. Where we meet Markus a bullied young student. We become aware that he is the son of a police man. He is helpless in his efforts to defend himself. Until one-day Oskar steps in and fends off the bullies. Having found a new and only friend, Markus believes his life is about to become a lot less lonely!

The body from the lake is finally identified as Dominik Nadel. Where the police officers believe his identification may throw up some clues. It only leads to further mysteries. Dominik appears to have led a sheltered life. He works at the local steel works and has hobbies such as football and a motorbike club. It is only when Karin appeals to the coach’s gentler side. Then he reveals crucial secrets surrounded Dom’s lifestyle and the motor bike club he is a member of…….

Karin’s personal life has changed, this is her first case back after her return from her twin’s birth. She is exhausted and blames herself for her long working hours away from her children. It is during this time, that the cracks begin to show in her relationship with Emil. He is distant and cold towards her. With everything Karin has going on, she does not even feel welcomed in her own home.

The case continues at a slow burning pace, but the alternative chapters keep you on your toes. We learn more about Dom’s activities prior to his death. Whilst also watching Markus fall in love for the first time.

The novel deals with some exceptionally moving themes. The manipulation of individuals, to achieve state goals. Also, the vile abuses a country can carry out on its own citizens. I think the author is very brave to address the concept within the historical era. It cannot have been an easy task.
But he has delivered a thought-provoking and complex 5* novel.

Karin Muller is an awesome protagonist and I look forward to the next novels in the Stasi series.

DY
David Young
Authors Links:
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#Review The Crow Garden by @Ali_L Alison Littlewood @JoFletcherBooks @QuercusBooks #HistoricalFiction #Literary 4*

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The Crow Garden by Alison Littlewood
Synopsis:

Susan Hill meets Wilkie Collins in Alison Littlewood’s latest chiller. Mad-doctor Nathaniel is obsessed with the beautiful Mrs Harleston – but is she truly delusional? Or is she hiding secrets that should never be uncovered . . . ?

Haunted by his father’s suicide, Nathaniel Kerner walks away from the highly prestigious life of a consultant to become a mad-doctor. He takes up a position at Crakethorne Asylum, but the proprietor is more interested in phrenology and his growing collection of skulls than the patients’ minds. Nathaniel’s only interesting case is Mrs Victoria Adelina – Vita – Harleston: her husband accuses her of hysteria and delusions – but she accuses him of hiding secrets far more terrible.

Nathaniel is increasingly obsessed with Vita, but when he has her mesmerised, there are unexpected results. Vita starts hearing voices, the way she used to – her grandmother always claimed they came from beyond the grave – but it also unleashes her own powers of mesmerism . . . and a desperate need to escape.

Increasingly besotted, Nathaniel finds himself caught up in a world of séances and stage mesmerism in his bid to find Vita and save her.

But constantly hanging over him is this warning: that doctors are apt to catch the diseases with which they are surrounded – whether of the body or the mind . . .

My review:

Welcome to Crakethorne Asylum…………

Set in 1856, this novel offers a literary insight into the world of asylums. It details the ‘inmates’, doctors and a growing relationship between one doctor and his patient, the illusive Mrs Victoria Adelina Harleston.
Crakethorne Asylum is perfectly described, and you feel immersed inside its crumbling walls. Set in northern England, West Riding, Yorkshire. The author has done an outstanding job of portraying the opinions and attitudes held by many in the era.

“The north, despite its bluff inhabitants, austere weather and desolate landscapes, has indeed rather favoured the mad”

Dr Nathaniel Kerner is a new ‘mad doctor’ in post. He has an interesting backstory and is determined to absolve some inner guilt by creating a family legacy. Nathaniel/Nate is idealistic in his approaches and has felt inspired by the nearby York Retreat. He hopes to radicalise mental health. To do away with the notion that Bedlam Asylum has created, that all those considered ‘mad’ are lost causes with no hope of saviour.
He begins his post under the watchful eye of Dr Algernon Chettle. The Asylum houses 39 ‘inmates’ of various conditions. From epilepsy, to female hysteria and a child patient whom believes he is a dog!

“All physicians face the risk of succumbing to the diseases they battle” Dr Chettle

“Guard your mind – or you may discover one day it is entirely lost, and you may not find it again!” Dr Chettle

Mrs Harleston arrives with her husband, she has an interesting backstory and you become fascinated with her plight. Is she mentally ill? Is she manipulating the inexperienced Dr Kerner? Why is her husband so abrupt and callous towards the staff?
Mrs Harleston forms question after question, in the readers mind. But not just the reader, Dr Kerner’s fascination is also growing day by day………….

The novel details the workings of the asylum. The class structure, treatments available and meagre privileges afforded to the mentally ill. The other ‘inmates’ lives are detailed, almost as if you are reading their patient files. The chapters themselves include patients note/observations and entries from the doctor’s journals.
Which makes for brilliant reading!
Dr Chettle is obsessed with the physiology study. A study which believes a person’s afflictions can be predicted from their skull etc. A bizarre study but reflective of the era.

Dr kerner becomes convinced that talking therapy would work best with Mrs Harleston. That simply breaking down the walls of her defence, will provide a solution or cure to her current crisis.
As their conversations develop, I began to wonder, who is teaching who?

“How much of a woman’s life, do you think is spent being buried alive?” – Mrs harleston

Various therapies are explored with Mrs Harleston and each give an insight into her psyche. Her childhood, marriage and outlook on life are all fully explored. Other characters are slowly introduced into the story, they provided added deception, scandal and lies. I was glued to the page.
Then suddenly one dark evening, Mrs Harleston disappears………..

Who is the threat to Mrs Harleston? Or is she a danger to herself? Can Dr Kerner find her and return her to the asylum? Where/who would a woman with the odds stacked against her run to?

“The weight of society and authority was all on his side, what proof could I offer” Mrs Harleston

A fantastic historical fiction novel, offering an insight into mental health in the Victorian era. I think the ending is one for much discussion, but may leave some readers baffled.
I would be delighted to read more by this author!
Recommended.

AL
Alison Littlewood
Authors links:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alison.littlewood.3?ref=tn_tnmn
Twitter: @Ali_L
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4655152.Alison_Littlewood
Website: http://www.alisonlittlewood.co.uk/

Author bio:
Alison Littlewood was raised in Penistone, South Yorkshire, and went on to attend the University of Northumbria at Newcastle (now Northumbria University). Originally she planned to study graphic design, but “missed the words too much” and switched to a joint English and History degree. She followed a career in marketing before developing her love of writing fiction.

Alison Littlewood’s latest novel is The Crow Garden, a tale of obsession set amidst Victorian asylums and séance rooms. It follows The Hidden People, a Victorian tale about the murder of a young girl suspected of being a fairy changeling. Alison’s other novels include A Cold Silence, Path of Needles, The Unquiet House and Zombie Apocalypse! Acapulcalypse Now. Her first book, A Cold Season, was selected for the Richard and Judy Book Club and described as ‘perfect reading for a dark winter’s night.’

Alison’s short stories have been picked for Best British Horror, The Best Horror of the Year, The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror and The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror anthologies, as well as The Best British Fantasy and The Mammoth Book of Best British Crime. They have been gathered together in her collections Quieter Paths and in Five Feathered Tales, a collaboration with award-winning illustrator Daniele Serra. She won the 2014 Shirley Jackson Award for Short Fiction.

Alison lives with her partner Fergus in deepest Yorkshire, England, in a house of creaking doors and crooked walls. She loves exploring the hills and dales with her two hugely enthusiastic Dalmatians and has a penchant for books on folklore and weird history, Earl Grey tea and semicolons.

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Available now in Ebook and hardback. 

Q&A with Pamela Allegretto #Author of, Bridge Of Sighs And Dreams #ww2Fiction #HistoricalFiction

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Bridge Of Sighs And Dreams by Pamela Allegretto
Synopsis:

Nazi-occupied Rome sets the stage for Bridge of Sighs and Dreams, where the lives of two women collide in an arena of deception, greed, and sacrifice.

Following an allied attack, Angelina Rosini flees to Rome from her bombed-out village and a ruthless Nazi officer bent on revenge. In Rome, the spirited portrait artist channels her creativity into the art of survival for herself and her young daughter. Unwilling to merely endure, and armed with ingenuity, wit, and unyielding optimism, she enters the shadow world of the Resistance where she zigzags through a labyrinth of compassionate allies and cunning spies.

Meanwhile, Lidia Corsini, Angelina’s sister-in-law, quenches her lust for power and wealth by turning in Jews to the ruthless Nazi Police attaché with whom she has formed an alliance. Her spiral into immorality accelerates as swiftly as the Jewish population dwindles, and soon neither her husband nor her son is immune to her madness.

Once Angelina discovers the consequences of Lidia’s greed, she conspires to put an end to the treacheries; but in doing so, she becomes the target of Lidia’s most sinister plot.

Bridge of Sighs and Dreams is a story of betrayal, dignity, and purpose that highlights the brutality toward Italian citizens, under both Mussolini’s Fascist regime and the Nazi occupation, and illustrates the tenacity of the human spirit.

Q&A:

Q) For the readers, can you talk us through your background and the synopsis of your new novel?

A) I attended Colorado University Extension in Denver and later moved to Florence, Italy where I studied art and Italian history at L’Università Per Gli Stranieri. To finance my education, my job résumé was as colorful as the Renaissance city itself. I shivered as an artist’s model and sang the blues in catacomb nightclubs. I worked as an interpreter/translator for a textile company and hawked leather goods to tourists.

Back on US soil, the colors on my résumé remained vibrant. In addition to Italian teacher at Berlitz School of Languages and a two-year stint as a Playboy Bunny, I added hairdresser/salon owner, to my palette. Classes in writing, cartooning, and art filled whatever free hours remained.

In 1996 I sold the hair salon and moved with my husband to Hawaii, where, for the following ten years, I devoted myself fulltime to painting and writing. Now, a resident of Connecticut, I divide my time between writing, painting, and Italian poetry translations.

In addition to my current novel, Bridge of Sighs and Dreams, my published books include L’Alba di Domani, and Immagini both are dual-language poetry books written in collaboration with Luciano Somma, two-time winner of Italy’s Silver Medal of the President of the Republic. My writing has appeared in four other Italian poetry books and in Italian literary journals that include: The English Anthology of The Italian-Australian Writer’s Literary Academy, Omero, La Mia Isola, and Poeti Nella Societa`. I have published book and CD covers as well as cartoons, and my art is collected worldwide.

Nazi-occupied Rome sets the stage for Bridge of Sighs and Dreams, where the lives of two women collide in an arena of deception, greed, and sacrifice.
Following an allied attack, Angelina Rosini flees to Rome from her bombed-out village and a ruthless Nazi officer bent on revenge. In Rome, the spirited portrait artist channels her creativity into the art of survival for herself and her young daughter. Unwilling to merely endure, and armed with ingenuity, wit, and unyielding optimism, she enters the shadow world of the Resistance where she zigzags through a labyrinth of compassionate allies and cunning spies.

Meanwhile, Lidia Corsini quenches her lust for power and wealth by turning in Jews to the Nazi Police attaché with whom she has formed an alliance. Her spiral into immorality accelerates as swiftly as the Jewish population dwindles, and soon neither her husband nor her son is immune to her madness.

Once Angelina discovers the consequences of Lidia’s greed, she conspires to put an end to the treacheries; but in doing so, she becomes the target of Lidia’s most sinister plot.

Bridge of Sighs and Dreams is a story of betrayal, dignity, and purpose that highlights the brutality toward Italian citizens, under both Mussolini’s Fascist regime and the Nazi occupation, and illustrates the tenacity of the human spirit.

Q) Can you talk us through the journey from idea to writing to publication?

A) The tutelage of my Italian family launched my love for the Italian language the moment the first trilled “R” danced on my tongue and tickled my teeth. Animated conversations around the supper table often veered from current events to life in Italy during World War 2 and the impact the War had on our family. These conversations piqued my curiosity and nagged me to learn more.

I was 17-years-old when I took my first trip back to Italy with my parents. I met my Italian aunts and uncles in their Southern Italian village of Faicchio and listened to their personal accounts of the War. The more I learned, the more I wanted to know.

After high school graduation, I moved to Florence, Italy and attended L’Università Per Gli Stranieri, which heightened my passion for Italian history, especially those War years. My Florentine friends all had personal family stories relating to the Nazi-occupation and the brave Italians in the Resistance Movement. These first-hand accounts were a direct contradiction to the denigrating jokes I heard while growing up about Italian cowardice. I determined that someone should write a book about the Resistance. Well, my research revealed that there were already dozens of books on the subject. However, the more I read, the stronger my conviction to write my own novel based on my family’s experience. I also felt compelled to write a war novel in which the women don’t play the role of wallpaper or objects of amusement to soldiers and politicians. I wanted my women to take center stage in a behind-the-lines battle between good and evil.

As is often the case, life got in my way; and I shelved my anticipated novel for a few decades. Then one year, on what had become my annual visit to Italy, a conversation with my aunt ignited my shelved idea for a war novel. She told me about the suffering under Mussolini’s Fascist Regime, and how life in Faicchio became a daily challenge to survive. She related how after Mussolini was overthrown, the Nazis commandeered her home and banished her, 8-months-pregnant with her third child, and her two small children from their home with only the clothes on their backs.

By now, I was determined to find out more. I visited one cousin who supplied me with a detailed accounting of the Nazi occupation of the Village of Faicchio written by one of his professors, who had been a teenager during that time. It took me the remainder of my visit to translate this eye-opening account. Strangely enough, a compassionate German soldier, whom I had initially incorporated into my fiction, was real, and the professor had fleshed out his back-story. After I left my family’s farm and traveled toward Rome, I spent some time in the hill-top village of Anagni, where on a narrow side-street I stumbled across Tarsie Turri, the tarsia lignea (inlaid wood) workshop of Carlo Turri. Since one of the proposed characters in my novel practiced this intricate art form, I found this a serendipitous occasion. Not only was I able to glean information about tarsia lignea, but the data came from the best possible source. It seems Carlo Turri’s work has been collected by dignitaries world-wide, including Pope Paul and the President of the Republic. Carla Turri, Carlo’s daughter who carries on the tradition, gave me a detailed tour and demonstration of this Renaissance art form. Unfortunately, due to story “flow,” I was not able to include in my novel as much information about this art form as I would have liked. However, that personal experience is one I hold dear, and I consider the knowledge I gained to be priceless.

My next stop was Rome, where again fate stepped in. I came upon a vintage market, not far from Piazza di Spagna. There, I encountered a merchant who dealt in World War 2 paraphernalia. I had wanted to incorporate information on the treatment of Italian Jews under the Nazi occupation, and here I found real-time publications regarding the events that took place in Rome during that time-period. The discovery of personal letters and journals augmented my study. The consistent manifestation of hope, scribbled across those abandoned pieces of paper on which the ink now weeps, afforded a valuable glimpse into the Italian sentiment during this horrific period. I deemed all this information not to be coincidence, but rather a sign that I was meant to continue with my novel.

For once, I was eager to leave Italy, but only because it was time to write my novel. I concluded: if not now, when? My next step was to flesh-out my characters. I sought an eclectic collection of complex individuals, each with his or her own values, lack of values, dreams, and goals. I wanted Bridge of Sighs and Dreams to be a story of betrayal, dignity, and the tenacity of the human spirit. However, I thought it was also necessary to inject some light humor, not merely for the reader’s benefit, but to show that a sense of humor can serve as a valuable shield during dire times.

I will say, to weave my fiction around the time-line of events that I wanted to highlight was tricky, but I didn’t want to alter facts to fit my fiction; instead, I utilized truth to enhance my characters and their story.

Q) What are your favourite authors and recommended reads?

A) Alberto Moravia and Elsa Morante have been the most influential authors. They both write with such visual and emotional truth that reading their work is pure joy. Alberto Moravia’s: Two Women and Elsa Morante’s: History are two of my all-time favorite novels. I am also a fan of Chekov, Dostoyevsky, Gorky, Donna Leon, and Agatha Christie.

Q) What were your childhood/teenage favourite reads?

A) My favorite childhood book was Collodi’s Pinocchio. I am still a big fan of Collodi and have 8 editions of Pinocchio in Italian and also in English by various translators. I do remember reading the Nancy Drew mysteries when I was about 8-years-old, and I was an instant fan of whodunits.

Q) What has been your favourite moment of being a published author?

A) I am deeply touched and elated when a reader takes the time to let me know through email, website, Facebook, Goodreads, Amazon, etc. that they enjoyed my book.

Q) Who has been your source of support/encouragement, throughout the writing process?

A) I won’t name names; they know who they are. They are my long-time friends who read my early stories and cartoons and laughed in the right places and cried in the right places and asked for more.

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Pamela Allegretto
Authors links:
Website links for Writing:
http://www.pamelaallegretto.com
http://www.pamelaallegretto.blogspot.com
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14409573.Pamela_Allegretto
https://www.facebook.com/pamela.allegrettofranz
https://www.facebook.com/pamelaallegrettoauthor
Website links for Art:
http://www.pamelaallegretto-franz.com
http://pamela-allegretto.fineartamerica.com
http://pamela-allegretto.pixels.com
http://www.redbubble.com/people/allegretto http://www.pamelaallegretto.com

*Thank you for taking part in the Q&A on my blog, I wish you every success with your writing career.

PA: Thank you for this opportunity. I appreciate your kindness and generosity.
Best wishes!