Eternal by Lisa Scottline

Eternal by Lisa Scottline
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Genre: Historical, Action/Adventure
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Ginger

What war destroys, only love can heal.

Elisabetta, Marco, and Sandro grow up as the best of friends despite their differences. Elisabetta is a feisty beauty who dreams of becoming a novelist; Marco the brash and athletic son in a family of professional cyclists; and Sandro a Jewish mathematics prodigy, kind-hearted and thoughtful, the son of a lawyer and a doctor. Their friendship blossoms to love, with both Sandro and Marco hoping to win Elisabetta’s heart. But in the autumn of 1937, all of that begins to change as Mussolini asserts his power, aligning Italy’s Fascists with Hitler’s Nazis and altering the very laws that govern Rome. In time, everything that the three hold dear–their families, their homes, and their connection to one another–is tested in ways they never could have imagined.

As anti-Semitism takes legal root and World War II erupts, the threesome realizes that Mussolini was only the beginning. The Nazis invade Rome, and with their occupation come new atrocities against the city’s Jews, culminating in a final, horrific betrayal. Against this backdrop, the intertwined fates of Elisabetta, Marco, Sandro, and their families will be decided, in a heartbreaking story of both the best and the worst that the world has to offer.

Unfolding over decades, Eternal is a tale of loyalty and loss, family and food, love and war–all set in one of the world’s most beautiful cities at its darkest moment. This moving novel will be forever etched in the hearts and minds of readers.

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I wasn’t going to read the latest book by Lisa Scottoline; the subject is not something that I would typically read and the length of the book is intimidating. The first day I open the book, expecting not to like it. Fast forward, a week later after finishing the book I am definitely glad that I did give the book a try. The story is a harsh real life event and may be a trigger for some but it’s a beautiful story of family, friendship, and love for people.

The author did a wonderful job in providing scenic details of the cities, and of the events during that time. I love historical reads and I admit that previously I only read history about the United States. But after reading this book it has peeked my interest on what I probably have missed out on reading especially if a story is told with such authentic details and from a heartfelt account that makes it feel personal.

The story is told from several different characters’ viewpoints. The author did this in a way that allows the reader to know thoughts and events that we otherwise may not have known or had to assume if she only voiced the words from Elisabetta D’orfeo, Sandro Simone and Marco Terrizzi. Elisabetta is about to reveal a thirteen year secret to her son. She starts her story during a time of innocence in her childhood. The events that she tell gradually unfold over decades until his birth.

I loved the relationship between the Simone and Terrizzi families. Though the Simone family was Jewish, it didn’t stop Massimo or his son Marco from risking their life to support and save Sandro’s family during the war and cruelty that the Jews suffered.

This was a history lesson and a must read. It’s heartbreaking and upsetting to me how, based on a person’s heritage or beliefs, they can either be looked upon in greatness or looked upon as less than. I was only reading the story and found myself in tears and disbelief so I can not imagine what those that lived this actually felt. The author delivers a full story, the bad and the ugly, but what stands out to me is the fight for what’s right, for equality, the fight for family and definitely the fight for those that we know and call our friend.

I define courage as letting the one that you love go so that they won’t be subjected to the harsh brutality of your heritage. I define courage as standing up for those that are less fortunate or helpless even though you risk being killed. I define courage as the author creating such an emotional story that tells such inhumane acts that should never be repeated but never should be forgotten.

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