The Italian Wife was a love story and mystery set in Mussolini’s fascist Italy at the beginning of World War II. Isabella tried to find happiness as an architect in the Italian town of Bellina after a shooting killed her husband and left her crippled. When a mysterious woman asked to Isabella to watch her daughter, she begrudgingly agreed, and was stunned when moments later, the woman threw herself off a tower. Suddenly, Isabella was responsible for the young girl Rosa, and was caught up in a political mystery.
A lot happened in the first few chapters, but the next 200 pages were pretty bland and could have used an additional subplot beyond just Isabella and her new friend and photographer Roberto investigating the convent where Rosa was being held. Many of the characters were passionate for or against fascism, but the author should have given a bit more history into their lives and explained their motivations. Even at the end, when all the big secrets were revealed, I still couldn’t figure out why some of the characters had acted the way they did. Because I wasn’t convinced by the characters, I wasn’t totally swept away by the action in the story. When it came to Isabella, Roberto, and Rosa, the author spared nothing and they were each robust characters that gave the novel its strength.
I liked this, but my favorite book by this author is still The Far Side Of The Sun.