I seem to be on an Italian reading kick at the moment and what’s even spookier, on an Italian/Irish mix which chimes perfectly with my own confused genetic make-up!
Christine Dwyer Hickey is a best-selling, award-winning, Irish author who has up to now slipped beneath my radar - I tend not to read the book review pages very often and rely on word of mouth and favourite book blogs to get ideas for reading. This one came from Dove Grey Reader - love or loathe her brand of cosy, country cottage fireside, everyone’s favourite aunty, blog content, you can’t argue about DGR’s influence when it comes to recommending books. And she is always fair - avoiding books she can’t give wholehearted support for. As an author there’s nothing I’d like better than to see one of my books on her blog, and I find many a brilliant read from its pages.
Last Train from Liguria is the kind of novel you lose yourself in - so rich in character and dialogue you never want the journey to end. And the language is equally rich - as if the novel was written by a poet. Does Christine D-H write poetry? I wouldn’t mind betting that she does.
The two main character have both gone to Italy for different reasons - Edward escaping from a crime he committed under the influence of Irish Whiskey, Bella propelled there by her father who is embarking on a new life and doesn’t want to be encumbered by a neurotic, anorexic, spinster daughter unable to recover from the death of her mother and the conviction that it is her duty and her role to look after him. ‘You’re my daughter,’ he tells her. ‘Not my wife.’
Edward and Bella are employed by the beautiful, but mysterious, Signora Lami to look after her autistic son. But as Mussolini’s dictatorship begins to threaten genocide it becomes necessary to make a clandestine journey across Europe.
This is beautifully written and it keeps you reading for the beauty of the language alone. I read it on Kindle (ridiculously cheap at 99p!) and I’m now wishing that her other books were available in the same format.