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Thursday, February 01, 2018

Despite Tension-Filled Setting, WWII Romance a Bit of a Slog

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Even though Sicily has been occupied by German forces for several years, life remains fairly simple for 18-year-old Marianna De'Angelis.  She helps her mother with household chores, keeps the family's animals fed, and loves to accompany her father on fishing trips.  Whatever food remains unsold after market day, Marianna distributes to homeless families displaced by the war.  Although she worries about her soldier brother, she refuses to give up hope that he will return home safe and sound.  Soon, she prays, Italy will be free from strife and life in the countryside will once again be peaceful and happy.
Marianna's prosaic life takes an unexpected turn when she meets Massimo Scalvone, a 21-year-old soldier from Foggia.  On leave in order to care for his elderly grandparents, he will be living on a neighboring farm for the summer.  Marianna can't deny her attraction to the handsome stranger, even when she discovers that their growing love for each other could get them both killed.  With Massimo taking ever greater risks and Marianna engaged in her own daring activities, it's only a matter of time before the Nazis find them out.  Will their newfound love survive the great conflict that threatens to tear them—as well as everyone and everything they care for—apart?  Or will their tender young romance become just another casualty of a brutal, deadly war?

With a colorful historical setting, The Fisherman's Daughter by Melinda Sue Sanchez, offers a love story set against an intriguing backdrop.  I've read a number of WWII books, but none set in Italy, so I enjoyed this aspect of the novel.  Despite its tension-filled setting, though, The Fisherman's Daughter gets off to a slow start.  A very slow start.  The action picks up in the last 3/4 of the book, but the rest of the tale is a bit of a slog.  Although both Marianna and Massimo are perfectly nice characters, they're a little too perfect, making them seem flat and dull.  Neither has much in the way of a personality.  Plus, although they talk an awful lot about the chemistry flaming between them, I never actually felt any.  To me, their relationship seems insta-lovey and melodramatic.  I appreciate The Fisherman's Daughter for its interesting setting as well as for its uplifting themes and restrained, yet realistic depictions of war; however, its slow pacing and underdeveloped characters bug.  Overall, then, this turned out to be just an okay read for me.  Oh well.

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of By the Stars by Lindsay B. Ferguson)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for brief, mild language (one instance); violence; blood/gore; and scenes of peril

To the FTC, with love:  I received a finished copy of The Fisherman's Daughter from the generous folks at Covenant.  Thank you!

1 comment:

  1. After reading your synopsis I was starting to get excited. This one sounded really good. But the things you mentioned that you didn’t like are unforgivable for me. I’ll have to pass on this one.


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