An old friend calls Catherine Lockhart and Liam Taggart to his famous Italian restaurant to enlist their help. His aunt is being evicted from her home in the Tuscan hills by a powerful corporation claiming they own the deeds, even though she can produce her own set of deeds to her land. Catherine and Liam’s only clue is a bound handwritten manuscript, entirely in German, and hidden in its pages is a story long-forgotten…
Ada Baumgarten was born in Berlin in 1918, at the end of the war. The daughter of an accomplished first-chair violinist in the prestigious Berlin Philharmonic, and herself a violin prodigy, Ada’s life was full of the rich culture of Berlin’s interwar society. She formed a deep attachment to her childhood friend Kurt, but they were torn apart by the growing unrest as her Jewish family came under suspicion. As the tides of history turned, it was her extraordinary talent that would carry her through an unraveling society turned to war, and make her a target even as it saved her, allowing her to move to Bologna―though Italy was not the haven her family had hoped, and further heartache awaited.
What became of Ada? How is she connected to the conflicting land deeds of a small Italian villa? As they dig through the layers of lies, corruption, and human evil, Catherine and Liam uncover an unfinished story of heart, redemption, and hope―the ending of which is yet to be written.
Kathryn - 5 Star
I have enjoyed many novels now by Ronald H. Balson partly due to the historical twists and partly because I enjoy the relationship of Catherine and Liam.
They are this time in Italy trying to help a friend's aunt trace the ownership of the land she's been living on for most of her life. Someone is claiming title which would have her evicted and she's sure the land is hers. The study weaves through the history of the original owner via her daughter's diary of sorts and explores the land grab traits of the nazi party all accross Europe during the second world war. Through the diaries the thread of ownership is eventually explained though I was constantly trying out my own theories. (,I find this happens to be a lot reading these novels.).
I cannot give away the ending so I will say that the author is very good at creating suspense, empathy and intrigue in a readable fashion. He also includes aspects of history that may not be well known but paint more depth to history we are already aware of. I'm sure to keep reading these.
Thank you to St.Martin's Press for our review copy. All opinions are our own.
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