Focusing on a part of World War II that is less explored, Jennifer Robson transports us to Italy under German occupation in Our Darkest Night.
Antonina has lived in Venice her whole life; her family have been residents for several generations. Her father is a renowned and well-respected doctor, with people from all over Europe and from all walks of life seeking him out. But none of this matters after the Nazi occupation of Italy. By 1943, daily life for the Jews of Venice has become nearly unbearable and increasingly dangerous.
As the danger looms, Antonina’s father refuses to leave his invalid wife, but insists that Antonina escape, posing as the wife of a man she’s never met, Nico, a former seminary student. Nico takes her to his family farm in the countryside, several days travel from Venice, in the hopes that she will be safe hiding with a Christian family in a remote location.
Antonina (now known as Nina) finds her new life grueling and lonely, and she misses and fears for her parents desperately. But even as she finds a place in her new family and falls in love with Nico, the German threat is not far away. Can she and Nico survive the horrors that are to come?
This is a quick read with characters that you will care about. The relentless cruelty of the Nazi’s can be difficult to read, but the strength of the Italian people will give you hope. For more books about Italy during the German occupation in World War II, be sure to check out A Thread of Grace by Mary Doria Russell and Blame the Dead by Ed Ruggero.