Finished January 26
The Garden of Letters by Alyson Richman
This novel is set in Italy during World War II. As the book begins in October 1943, a young woman steps off a boat in Portofino, scared and still in shock from her recent experiences. A local doctor greets her and takes her home to stay at his house. When she asks why he picked her to save, he replies that he chooses the person who looks most afraid.
We then see her life over the last few months as the war in Italy grew more intense, she volunteered for the resistance, and experienced losses of friends and family. We also see the doctor's story, how he had a great love, was involved in a war himself, and experienced great loss. As the two gradually get to know each other, and learn more about each other, they find comfort.
The woman, Elodie, is a promising young cellist in Verona, encouraged by her musician father and her Venetian mother. She gets drawn into resistance work through a good friend, and personal experiences. The title comes from letters the doctor wrote years before, that have their own strong presence here.
A story of love, loss, and the power of words and music.