Tuesday, April 23, 2024

The Sicilian Secret: Completely gripping and heartbreaking WW2 fiction by Angela Petch


Italy, 1943. With war raging across the rugged cliffs and turquoise waters of his beloved Sicily, Savio’s pen scrawls desperately across the page. His letter must be sent in secret – or his life will be in terrible danger…

England, present day. Paige is devastated when her reclusive but beloved Aunt Florence dies – the only family she’s ever known. Inheriting her crumbling cottage, Paige finds an unfinished note. ‘I am sorry, Paige. It’s time to tell you everything. It all began in Sicily…’

Beside the note is a faded envelope – addressed to a woman called
Joy – with an Italian postage stamp from 1943. The letter inside is made up of Roman numerals and snippets of sentences written in Italian. But who is Joy? Was someone sending a coded message? Paige is desperate to piece together the truth. But she soon discovers it will change everything she’s ever believed about her aunt, and her family history.

1943. Lady Joy Harrison may have grown up in a manor house, but she’s determined to fight for what’s right and use her fluent Italian to help the Allies. Breaking code on a long night shift, Joy reads a secret message that makes her whole body shake. A dark-eyed young man she once loved is in terrible danger on the shores of Sicily. 



About The Author


Welcome to my author page - "benvenuti"!

I live in the beautiful Italian Apennines for several months each year. Such an inspiring location.

My love affair with Italy was born at the age of seven when I moved with my family to Rome where we lived for six years. My father worked for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and he made sure we learned Italian and visited many places during that time.

Later on I studied Italian at the University of Kent at Canterbury and afterwards worked in Sicily, where I met my husband. His Italian mother and British father met in Urbino in 1944 and married after a war-time romance.

I wanted to write my first novel "The Tuscan Secret" not only for my amazing mother-in-law, Giuseppina, who sadly died in 2024, but also to make people aware of the courage of the resistance fighters and the generous hospitality shown by the poorest of families, including relatives of our Italian neighbours in our corner of war-torn Tuscany.

This first novel is a story about ordinary people who lived through extraordinary times. (Please note it is a revised version of "Never Forget" and "Tuscan Roots"). I was signed originally by wonderful BOOKOUTURE for a two-book deal and one of these was a slight re-write of "Tuscan Roots". The new title is "The Tuscan Secret" and has more tension and intrigue to the story. I am so proud to be a part of this publishing "family", as they describe themselves, who have patiently helped me to polish the original. It is available on Amazon and has reached the bestseller slots.

A sequel to this original book was self-published way back, at the end of April 2017 as "Now and then in Tuscany". It features the same family that appeared in "The Tuscan Secret". The background is the transhumance, a practice that started in Etruscan times and continued right up until the 1950's. STOP PRESS: This has a new title: A TUSCAN MEMORY, re-published by BOOKOUTURE SEPTEMBER 7TH 2020.

Since then Bookouture has helped me publish four more novels, all set in Italy.

My research for all these novels has been greatly helped by my kind Italian, country friends, who have vivid memories of both the Second World War and the harsh times they endured in their childhoods.

Italy is a passion but my stories are not always set there. I have also written a novella about two fun-loving ladies of "a certain age" who live by the seaside in Sussex and get up to all kinds of adventures. "Mavis and Dot" were launched on December 1st 2018 at St Paul's Centre, Worthing, West Sussex and have received fab reviews. I have a sequel in mind. All profits from sales go to research into cancer and I am pleased with the amounts that I've been able to deliver for this worthwhile charity. How many of us have lost friends and family through this vile disease?


My Review

 This story is told in dual time, and I learned things I never knew about WWII.
I've known of the internment camps in the States, but not in England. Very sad, and yet, out of these comes a great read.
We travel from England to Italy, Sicily, and meet some great characters, from totally different backgrounds. Lady Joy, she comes from an aristocratic life, and Savio, a man born in England of immigrant parents. What do these two have in common, well we are there to see their relationship bloom.
We flash forward to the 1970's and a young woman named Paige gets devastating news, and we wonder how she plays into this story.
I loved how the author wove this read together, full of facts and danger, but you really don't know whom is the enemy.
A different WWII story, and I'll be looking for more by Angela Petch!
I received this book through Net Galley and the Publisher Bookouture, and was not required to give a positive review.

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