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Echoes of War Paperback – 29 September 2021
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- Publisher : Simon & Schuster Australia (29 September 2021)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 448 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1760852082
- ISBN-13 : 978-1760852085
- Dimensions : 15.5 x 3.5 x 23.5 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: 1,139 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Giulia's given the opportunity to study at a monastery, with the famous herbalist Fra Fortunato, here she learns about growing herbs, drying them, and their healing properties. She meets sister Agata a nun who shares her interest in herbs, medicine and they become friends. Her older brother Vincenzo and his two friends Angelo and Stefano have been conscripted into the Royal Italian Army, they have been fighting in Abyssinia and Albania. They return home hungry, thin, tired, and dirty and the young men have a haunted look about them.
This is just the beginning, Italy's ruled by a fascist government and Mussolini, even veteran of the First World War Andrea is called up, the Tallariti women are left to run the farm, harvest the crops and Poala is in her element. Giulia and her Nonna are busy running their clinic, as the Second World War year’s drag and their traditional herbal medicine is a godsend. For the Tallariti family there are times of joy when new babies are born and when widowed Giulia marries Stefano, terrible sadness when a loved one’s are killed and every family in Bruzzano dreads getting a telegram.
Echoes of War story is based around the author Tania Blanchard’s grandfather being a member of the Royal Italian Army, and fighting in Abyssinia and Albania. Her family’s historical ties to Italy, her Nonna’s interest in herbal medicine and moving to Australia after the Second World War. I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, I have read and enjoyed all of Tania Blanchard’s books and her newest edition Echoes of War is absolutely brilliant and five stars from me.
Beyond Calabria, Mussolini and his National Fascist Party are in power in Italy and the world is edging towards World War II. Calabria is no longer safe from the fascist agenda of northern Italy and Guilia’s family will be torn apart. Guilia remarries: her husband, father and brother are called up to serve in the armed forces. By now, Guilia is a trusted healer: even her father has accepted her skills.
And after the war, many of those who have survived can no longer make a living on their farms. Many will emigrate.
Ms Blanchard has drawn on her grandfather’s life in writing this novel: deftly drawing history into fiction and enabling the reader to experience the customs of Calabria and the challenges faced. I enjoyed this novel and learned more about the impact of Mussolini and of World War II in this part of Italy. The characters and story held my attention from beginning to end.
Note: My thanks to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Australia for providing me with a free electronic copy of this book for review purposes.
Giulia Tallarti dreamed of a much different life than her father had planned for her. Giulia had no desire to end up married with children in the village they lived in, she wanted to get out and live a little. Her father had no idea that she had been learning to become a Herbalist, like Nonna Mariana, who was a folk healer. Giulia jumped at the chance to get away from her father and study at the monastery. While Giulia is missing home, her mind is also preoccupied with the war, and if her loved ones will make it home safely.
The Author has done a great job in creating this special book, and I would certainly recommend it. 5/5 Star Rating.
It’s a story about a young woman with dreams that definitely don’t fit society’s mould. Set in Italy at the beginning of WWII it tells the story of Guilia’s quest to be a healer.
The storytelling is beautiful and also kind of heartbreaking. It’s obviously set during a very difficult time in Italy’s history. It explores the Italian culture of family, connection to the land sense of obligation. It’s a great read.