The Tears of Monterini by Amanda Weinberg

I’m pleased to share my review for The Tears of Monterini today, published by Red Door Press earlier this month. Thank you to Lizzie and Red Door Press for a review copy – my thoughts are my own and not influenced by the gift.

Synopsis:

Monterini, Italy. 1921. Yacobo Levi, an intellectual dreamer, works in the family bookshop. Angelo Ghione, a contadino, makes good wine by singing to the grapes. Lifetime best friends, their Jewish and Catholic families live side by side amidst a backdrop of village communal life, Etruscan tales and the growth of Benito Mussolini. Born on the same day, their children grow up and fall in love. When the 1938 racial laws are passed, the love between Bella and Rico thrives amidst and perhaps because of the fear and uncertainty. When Angelo discovers their liaison he suggests they marry but life is complicated and tensions simmer beneath the surface of love and friendship. When war is declared on the day of Bella’s wedding to Michele a fellow Jew, the peaceful village they live in is torn apart, and the Levis find themselves displaced and fighting for their lives. Will life ever be the same again? 

The Tears of Monterini is a story of love and betrayal, loyalty and friendship. Inspired by true events in Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna, this beautifully written debut will appeal to readers interested in history, Italy, romance, family dynamics and conflict.

My thoughts:

This stunning debut historical novel is one of my five star reads of 2020. By the end of chapter one, I had already shed a few tears after being drawn quickly into caring for the residents of Monterini due to the sublime storytelling by Amanda Weinberg.

This is a story of two children, Bella and Rico, born on the same day but from families following different religions, growing up whilst Mussolini and then Hitler took charge of Italy. This is the story of two men, Jacobo and Angelo, who grew up as neighbours, watching their children fall in love and having different opinions about whether the children should marry. This is the story of Monterini, a community that has enabled people of different religions to live happily side by side for generations, trying to help those who now fear for their lives.

I have read and enjoyed many historical fiction books over the past few years, and this is one of the best. I had never heard of Monterini before but now I would love to visit the area, to try the food and to drink Angelo’s wine. The last few chapters are heartbreaking but compelling – so many lives changed in a few short years. A five star read for me.

Author Bio:

Amanda Weinberg is a London based author and lover of all things Italian. She spends as much time as she can in a village in Tuscany, the inspiration for her fictional debut novel The Tears of Monterini. She is a qualified language teacher and spent many years working in publishing. She was the co director of an Advertising and Sales company, A -Z International Sales. She now spends her time writing, tutoring and volunteering on a programme for a local community website. She is an education appeal panel member for Brent Council. Amanda is a graduate of the UEA and Guardian Course in Creative Writing and has representation with the literary agency Curtis Brown. She lives with her husband Julian and has two grown up children.

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