Growing up is never easy, imagine growing up in a post – war place…
Italy, 1937. In a tiny village in rural Lombardy, GraziellaPonti is born into a loving family.
Though they are not rich and life is full of challenges, they are content and safe, surrounded by the tightly-knit community of Pieve Santa Clara.
But when the shadow of World War Two falls across the village with the arrival of Nazi soldiers, nothing in young Graziella’s life will ever be the same again.
Paradiso is Graziella’s story. It charts her loves, losses and triumphs as she grows up in post-war Italy, a country in transformation, freed from the shackles of dictatorship yet still gripped by the restraints of the Catholic church.
Paradiso is inspired by true stories told to Francesca Scanacapra by her Italian family and set in locations where she spent much of her childhood. It is a deeply affecting novel which sheds light on the complexity and trauma of Italy’s past and weaves it into the epic tale of an ordinary woman compelled to live in extraordinary times.
This stunning historical read is perfect for fans of Dinah Jeffries, Rhys Bowen, Victoria Hislop, Angela Petch and Heather Morris.
Graziella is living with her loving parents in a small village in Lombardy, Pieve Santa Clara. Her life is not full of money, but is full of love.
But when Nazi soldiers start to appear as World War 2 is getting more grip on the world, it’s obvious that life as everyone knew is over.
While Graziella is growing up in a new world, she has to learn to cope with love, loss and facing the aftermath of a war that changed the course of everyone’s life.
Whenever a story is taking place somewhere in Italy, the author already has my interest. But of course the story itself has to be able to keep it! otherwise I would like a lot of stories! 😊
Graziella is a young girl living without worries at ‘Paradiso’, the name they gave her home. But her worriless life quickly changes as the World War is approaching.
I was somehow in awe how Graziella reacted to all the changes in her young life. Being evacuated from her hometown and to live with the nuns, losing people she loved, picking up the pieces after war, it’s not easy for adults, image how this would be for a little girl.
Yet Graziella, even if sometimes in despair, holds on to the little things of life and does her utterly best to remain positive.
The first few chapters had some difficulties to keep my attention, but before I knew, the whole story gripped my attention.
I was relieved the story wasn’t completely focused on the war, but also showed us the aftermath. It’s easy to think that life goes on as before the war, but the author manages to show is that such a great, negative event has many implications.
People grieve on their own way over losses, but still have to learn to slowly move on and actually live again.
Seeing Graziella growing up towards a young responsible woman was something that warmed my heart. No matter what she has been through and is still facing, she has her head on her shoulders and is not afraid to take her own initiative. Reading about her while she is discovering all kind of feelings, like grieve or that first blooming love, made me feel like I was standing beside her every step she was taking.
The fact that the author inspired the book by true stories told by her family, made it feel more real too.
There is no sugar-coating, but also not overly dramatizing the events that are taking place. The emotions are real, not too fast – paced.
The only thing I kind of missed, was the feeling of a proper ending. In one way, it was the perfect ending, but on the other hand, I would have loved to read *just more*! I was not ready to say goodbye to these lovely, real characters yet!