Cover Image: The Italian Island

The Italian Island

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Member Reviews

This mesmerizing story is about three young women who try to find their rightful place in the world. The chapters are told through alternating perspectives between Mira in the past and Annie in the present. Mira Goodman is an upper-class English girl who is sent by her family to the island of Galatea in the Sicily region after a scandal. She makes the acquaintance of a young island woman named Mimi and the girls become close friends. During her time on the island World War II is raging on the mainland, but Galatea is a beautiful oasis. In the present, twenty-year-old Annie is devastated by the death of her beloved father. She discovers a letter he left for her prompting her to travel from America to Galatea to learn about their family history. Once Annie reaches the island, she feels a calm that she has never felt before. With the help of a young island man named Salvo the two begin to piece the story of Mira and Mimi together and how Annie fits into the picture. The island itself is a magical place and the women of the island hold a special power that no outsider will ever understand. I thought this story was so beautifully written and the characters had amazing depth. I loved getting to know all three woman and couldn't read fast enough to find out where their stories went. The Italian Island is the perfect read for a vacation while lounging on the beach sipping a refreshing drink. While Galatea is an imagined island, I would like to believe there are islands such as this that do exist. The community of the island and the descriptions of the architecture and customs were amazing. I also must mention the food described in the story. Perfenzione! This is my first Daniela Sacerdoti novel, but it certainly won't be my last. She is a gifted writer who knows how to draw her audience in. Thank you to NetGalley, Bookouture, and Daniela Sacerdoti for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review. All reviews are my own and do not reflect any brands I may represent.
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Transporting in its seamless transition between two generations (WWII and the present), Sacerdoti proves again why she is a master of women's fiction - love, adventure, and just the right mix of mystery and suspense, this had me gripped. 

This book is exactly what I needed - to be taken away to an isolated Sicilian island, and Annie was great company to share it with. Will definitely continue to read Sacerdoti's work.
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Set on the Italian island of Galatea near Sicily, this tells the story of three women from different times. All three are linked by a delicate bracelet fastened by a seashell.  A delightful WWII romance that was totally enjoyable.  My thanks to NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Thank you to , the publishing house and the author for the opportunity to read a complimentary copy of this book in return for a review based upon my honest opinion.

When Annie’s father passes away, he leaves her the money to finally live her own life; she has been taking care of him during his illness. He leaves her a letter along with mementos from his adoption, in the hopes that she will go to Italy and find their family history. Annie’s mother is cold and uncaring, this makes it an easy answer for her. She puts her fears behind her and strikes out on her own to go to Galatea, a small Italian island to find her fathers past and she ends up finding her future as well.

I would love to go to an island like Galatea and soak up the small town vibes; listening to the birds, smelling the lush foliage and colourful flowers. This was a lovely book, I loved the women of the sea aspect and the surprises that the book held. I love the way this author writes and look forward to more books from her.
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Thanks to Netgalley for this book. This story encompasses everything that makes a great story. Romance, mystery, adventure and love. The story is told from two different women in two different time periods. Both Mira and Annie come from families that have not always shown them unconditional love. On the island of Galatea, living in Villa Onda, they immerse themselves into the culture and way of life of the islanders. While they spend their days healing emotionally they are falling in love with themselves and what the island has to offer them. Both Mira and Annie tell their stories in a way that you feel you are on the island with them. I found this book well written and immensely enjoyable,, I am excited to read more from this author.
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Traversing between two different generations, one during WWII and the other present day, this book tells the story of life on an island off the Italian coast during the war, the unique matriarchal maritime culture, and a young woman searching for information about her grandmother.  To truly enjoy this book, one has to keep track of the characters and their respective eras as the storylines cross back and forth between the years.  I found at least one place where even the author mixes up the names of the two main male characters.  So, if that sort of dual nature in a book is confusing to you, this might not be for you.  However, I thought the book was enjoyable, giving one a different perspective on life in the 1940s in an isolated Italian island, accessible only by boat.  There are rich cultural and environmental descriptions, making you feel as though you are there.  A very interesting read.
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A sun-soaked Sicilian tale of past sins, family secrets and enduring love, Daniela Sacerdoti’s The Italian Island is an emotionally satisfying page-turner from this terrific storyteller.

Twenty year old Annie has come to the Sicilian island of Galatea to fulfill her father’s final wish: to solve the mystery of her grandmother who had disappeared during the Second World War. With her grandmother’s gold bracelet and directions to her old house Villa Onda – House of the Waves – as her only clues, Annie is determined to get to the bottom of this mystery. When her path collides with that of local fisherman Salvo, sparks immediately begin to fly between the two of them and as Annie starts to settle in her new life in Italy, she begins to feel as if she has at long last found somewhere she belongs – not to mention a man who has stolen her heart with whom she can build a future with…

In Galatea, Annie begins to heal and to hope for a better tomorrow, however, when she finds an old gramophone at her grandmother’s house and sets the needle, old secrets come to light that begin to unravel. As Salvo’s mother begins to help her discover the truth about her grandmother’s wartime sacrifice, Annie begins to piece together the fragmented pieces of this puzzle that has haunted her family for decades…

As her feelings for Salvo intensify, Annie wonders whether she can build a life with him in Sicily. Or whether she will uncover shocking revelations that could put paid to any hope she might have had of spending a lifetime with him…

Poignant, absorbing and heart-breaking, The Italian Island is a wonderfully told story from a writer who is at the very top of her game: Daniela Sacerdoti. Written with warmth, flair and compassion, The Italian Island is a tale about courage, sacrifice, hope and love guaranteed to keep readers absolutely glued to its pages.

With characters it is impossible not to care about, searing emotional pathos and tear-jerking emotional drama, Daniela Sacerdoti’s The Italian Island is hard to put down and impossible to forget.
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The Italian Island by Daniela Sacerdoti is a women’s fiction story that mixes in several genres. This one has a bit of romance, a bit of mystery and with a point of view in the story looking back to World War Two making it also a historical novel.

At twenty Annie was not ready to loose her father but after his passing she vows to complete his last request. Annie’s father gave Annie her grandmother’s bracelet and asked that she track down their family history and learn her roots.

Annie makes her way to the Sicilian island of Galatea with only the knowledge that her grandmother had died in a concentration camp during World War Two and came from the area. After arriving Annie meets a local fisherman, Salvo, that recognizes the gold bracelet and becomes her guide.

Being someone who loves to visit exciting places around the world of course I was intrigued by The Italian Island by Daniela Sacerdoti. This one does take you to a wonderful location but for me the story seemed to get off to a rather slow start and didn’t pull me in until further down the line. Since I did eventually become more engaged in the story I did find this one an OK read overall growing to like the story and characters by the end.

I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.
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This is a new to me author but with the description of the book I just had to try it out and am I ever glad I did.
A woman in her 20's still living at home feels the need to prove her worthiness to her mother after her father's death.
Her father left her a letter explaining his unhappiness in life and asking her to find his family because he had never done so.
Setting out for Italy you will fall in love when you reach the island with it's tropical breezes and delightfully delicious foods.
This time slip novel has our main character falling into a trance and being able to experience what her past relative did which answers a lot of answers and brings her grandmother's life into the light.
Family secrets come to light as we see the love experienced and feel the betrayal deep in the soul. You will be swept off your feet in this stunning Italian romance.

Pub Date 11 Jan 2022
I was given a complimentary copy of this book.
All opinions expressed are my own.
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This is my first book by this author. It is part romance, part mystery, part fantasy. I found it to be both well written and fast paced. The main character in each of the dual timelines displays a strength beyond themselves in order to survive. Both Annie and Mira are forced to accept unusual circumstances but in doing so each find a way to persevere and find love. There were some elements of the story that could have used some more clarity. Annie's mother's animosity towards her and her inheritance from her late father are huge elements in Annie's life. Mira's mystery illness and the factors that led to the dismal relationship with her family. While enough is written on these factors to catapult the storyline it left me wondering why further details weren't included. Overall the book is very enjoyable and the characters were well crafted.

I received a copy of this title via the publisher via NetGalley.
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In this complicated story, a young women goes to a smaller Italian island to try to learn the fate of her grandmother. She feels a connection and is able to experience her grandmothers life in snippets.  Secrets and twists abound.
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It was Annie’s father’s last wish that she discover her heritage, and a small scrap of paper directs her to go to Galatea, so she sets out to the Italian island. Does she speak Italian? Not really. Does she have any idea what to expect? Not really. But she knows she may find out more there about her grandmother Mira, who disappeared after World War II.

Annie wears a bracelet that belonged to Mira. Not only is it a physical object connected to Annie’s grandmother, but it also causes Annie to have visions. Mira’s story is told through Annie’s visions, and as Annie learns more about her grandmother, she also learns some unexpected things about herself.

The imagery in the book is wonderful! I can envision the island and its beauty, the creepy hillside cave that Annie and Salvo explore, the fishermen and the water and the cliffs. The writing is lyrical and easy to read, and since the book isn’t terribly long, it just flew by as I was reading. And the sea reads almost as a living being, vital to the events of both past and present.

The story has a little something for everyone. There is suspense and tension as we see Mira’s brother Gabriel bringing nothing good to the island, and as we wait to see if Annie will have the strength to break from her mother’s suffocating negativity. There’s romance – Mira and Lupo in the past, Annie and Salvo in the present. Annie and Salvo are just adorable. Annie’s connection to Mira through the bracelet brings a touch of the paranormal and mystical to the story, as does the special bond shared by the Ayala women (is Annie one of those women? Read and find out).

And it’s a dual timeline story! Y’all know I love those, and this one is nicely done. My only disappointment was that Mira’s story seemed to take up so much of Annie’s timeline. It felt like there was more to Annie than what we saw in between her visions of the past. But still, it was quite a good read, and the beauty of the words made up for me wishing I could have known more about Annie herself.

This is a solid four-star read, and it was nice to have a World War II historical fiction that didn’t focus almost exclusively on the war and the events thereof. That was an unexpected and refreshing twist!
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Annie arrives at the beautiful Sicilian island of Galatea, and her father’s final request is that she solve the mystery of her Grandmother’s disappearance during World War II.  The only items she has of her grandmother’s is a gold bracelet and the directions to Villa Onda, House of the Waves where her grandmother once lived.  Then Annie meets local fisherman Salvo and he recognizes the gold bracelet on Annie’s wrist.  She finds herself falling in love with Salvo and his family.  But then Annie finds an antique gramophone under an old sheet in her grandmother’s bedroom.  When she plays the gramophone, she uncovers a secret of her grandmother’s.  Then with the help of Salvo’s mother, Annie begins to piece together the truth about the gold bracelet and the heart breaking wartime secret of her grandmother’s sacrifice.  This heartwarming romance is a wonderful time-slip story that brings the war torn past into the presence of a new romance.  I thoroughly enjoyed this story from beginning to end.  The mystery was captivating and kept me completely immersed in the story, while the detailed description of the Sicilian Island was a wonderful escape.

Thank you Daniela Sacerdoti for such a wonderful time slip novel. I absolutely loved this wonderfully written story, and I completely enjoyed the escape to Italy.  I enjoyed this is story and I highly recommend it.
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Wow this was one I was looking forward to reading and I definitely wasn't disappointed.

It transports you to an island just off sicily with three different people connected by some bracelet.

It has dual timelines. One is set in the past in World War II and one is set in the future.

It has bits of myth, magic and elements of fantasy woven within the pages.

Excellent read
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Set upon a quest to find her roots on behalf of her late father, Anna finds herself on the Italian Island of Galatea.  Mystery and mystique become, at first, a surprizing and somewhat scary aura surrounding her but later, she welcomes the episodes of visions which reveal what she wishes to know.  In this unfolding ancestory tale of her father's immediate connections, Anna meets Mira, Mimi, Lupo and others, eventually discovering who had been her real grandmother.

The culture of the sea and the romances that bloomed, are intertwined in the lives of the Islanders flavoring the tale and keeping the reader following with great interest.  The events are staged as WWII stretches its dark shadows, even to this innocuous looking island.  I have been astonished and stunned at the grips of fear, the twists and turns, discovering, along with Anna, the astonishing revelation.

I enjoyed the story and believe other readers of Historical Fiction and Romance will not be disappointed.  The story has plot, interesting cultural reveals, as the past and present hitch themselves together.

                                              ~Eunice C.,  Reviewer/Blogger~

                                                           December 2021

Disclaimer:  This is my honest opinion based on the review copy sent by NetGalley and the publisher.

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A beautiful location and one that hasn't been overused in the past. In fact, the island and more specifically the sea, are almost characters in their own right. I love dual timelines set abroad and this book delivers on both. 

Having two characters with similar names was confusing but I'm guessing this was deliberate. Read on and you'll find out why.

Both the past and present stories are moving. I did find the way Annie reconnects with the past rather hard to swallow but the writing more than makes up for any niggles.

Loved the leitmotif of the sea and how the stories came full circle in the end.
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Annie is devastated by her father's death and so embarks on the journey that he wanted her to take,  returning to their Italian roots on the island of Galatea.  A beautiful book told in dual timelines going back to WW2.  The island descriptions certainly give you a taste of what you are missing in the current climate and definitely made me want to go there, along with great characters and an interesting storyline this book is a real page turner
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The Italian Island by Daniela Sacerdoti may be a short read but boy does the author pack an awful lot in between the pages of this intriguing story. It tells the tale of a woman’s search to discover the truth behind her heritage, to be more specific she wants to learn just who were her father’s biological parents and how has she a connection to a small island off the coast of Sicily? That island being Galatea, which seems to have magical properties and even though it is a small place, almost in a way separate from the outside world, it draws our main character Annie in as she seeks to reveal answers to the many questions she has running through her head. I initially thought this would be another historical fiction book set in and around World War Two but the war itself plays but a minor role in the overall scheme of things. I was pleasantly surprised how quickly I was drawn into the story and the war itself clearly didn’t need to be the sole focus. The setting, the characters and the plot were all very real, tangible and riveting and I found this to be a great read to kick off my reading for 2022.

The brief prologue introduces us to Violet Goodman who in 1920 gives birth to a girl Mira. She had never wanted another child especially when the baby was a girl and not another boy as was expected of her. The relationship between Violet and Mira was never a good one and the same is said of Annie and her mother in the present day. The concept of the mother/daughter relationship is an important theme throughout the book but I still felt could have done with more exploration and fleshing out. On the island of Galatea whose inhabitants are very closely connected to the sea, a woman gives birth to a baby girl and you wonder just how herself and Mira may or may not go on to have future connections? In America, in the present day, Annie is floundering and all at sea having just lost her beloved father who she cared for. She feels lost and doesn’t know which way to turn. Her world is shattered, her heart is alone and even though she now has freedom she doesn’t know what to do with it. 

Annie feels that no one will ever love and understand her as her father had done especially not her mother. A substantial inheritance is left to Annie and she receives a letter from her father urging her to learn more about his real parents. He knew his mother was a Mira Goodman who died in a concentration camp during the war. But beyond that details are non existent.The island of Galatea is the only clue and so Annie sets off on a journey with many surprising twists and turns and in doing so she hopes to fulfil her father’s wishes but at the same time she knows deep down that she needs to do this for herself in order to climb back from the deep chasm she finds herself in.

No doubt about it, the descriptions of the island are what make this book. Reading this book on a cold, wet, miserable winter’s day I was completely transported to an island in the middle of the sea which at first looks barren and very isolating but is in fact lush and filled with vegetation and plants and harsh volcanic rock. The houses cling to rocky outcrops and Annie finds herself arriving at Villa Onda, run by Elvira and Salvo. Salvo is very striking and his former job was an environmental engineer. They are determined to bring the villa back to life. The descriptions of the villa were amazing with so many unique statues and frescos. Mira Goodman once owned the villa and Annie feels an instant connection to the place. 

The shadows of the past begin to circle around her and unexpected things happen. There is a paranormal element to this story and usually I would just scoff at things like this and find them surplus to requirements due to their incredibility but here the author really makes it work. I found the supernatural element was woven seamlessly throughout and it was a brilliant way of merging the past with the present. As Annie touches certain objects or glimpses things that aren’t there or even gets a scent of something she is transported back to the past where a fascinating story awaits her and the people of the past have been patiently waiting to share their story. I normally would have found this very far fetched but the author makes everything fit together so well that you truly believe what you are seeing unfold your eyes could well and truly have happened.

The island has a mysterious, magical and other worldly quality that has a deep and lasting impact on Annie. She has to confront her fears but also learns many important life lessons along the way. She is a contemporary girl looking for her place in the world and in order to do so she must reconnect with the past and help those find the justification they so desperately seek. The movement between the past and the present was achieved so seamlessly and the method of doing this although I was sceptical at first I soon came around to the way the author was working. Both strands of the story were very strong but for me as I have such a big fan of history and the past the story set on the island during the war years slightly won out for me. Not in any way to take from the necessity of the modern story and its importance for the book as a whole.

In the sections told from the past, we learn how Mira came to be on the island and how she feels in relation to her family and she slowly starts to learn that they have done to her. She undergoes a reawakening from a fog that has shrouded her and with the help of the island doctor Lupo she learns more about herself and her pace on the island. She casts aside the hurt she has experienced back in England and learns the way of island life and forms a strong bond with a local girl, Mimi, who works at the villa. I loved how the author used the sea and the island tradition of the byssus thread and how the women dove for the shellfish. It helped bind the two major plots of the story together and it was clear the author had done much research and was determined to include this in a satisfying way throughout the story. Mira’s story appeared at just the right junctures throughout when you felt you needed to move away from Annie and I found the scenes featuring Mira to be calming and exploratory. 

Although as I have mentioned this is a short book and I found when the climax did arrive and the many layers of lies and half truths began to emerge and become unravelled, it all just happened too quickly. I became slightly confused as to specifics regarding what was going on with Mira and her extended family. I really would have loved a more detailed explanation as I found myself reading between the lines too much and even now I don’t think I have come up with satisfactory answers to some of the questions I had. This is the only slight fault I have found with this book and yes there was an element of disappointment for me as I felt it too abrupt because I had become deeply invested for the overall outcome for both Annie and Mira. But still, pushing this issue aside, The Italian Island is a very good read with an excellent sense of time and place and I really hope Daniela Sacerdoti continues to write many books set in Italy because her love and appreciation for the country really shines through from her writing and makes for a very enjoyable read.
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Set on the Italian island of Galatea near Sicily, this tells the story of three women from different times. All three are linked by a delicate bracelet fastened by a seashell. In 2018, Annie goes to the island after deciding to follow her father’s last wishes and travel to Italy to look into his family history. The reader meets Mira (her grandmother) through Annie who lived during the second world war and was great friends with Mimi, a young islander. The stories of these three women are linked together by love and bravery of different sorts. The tale is beautifully told with vivid descriptions and readers will want the answers to their questions just as much as Annie. A delightful WWII romance that you will wish to read in one sitting.

I received a complimentary copy of this novel at my request from Bookouture via NetGalley and this review is my own unbiased opinion.
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“Take your grandmother’s bracelet, unlock the secret of our family history, and discover who you are…”

Wow! This was not at all what I was expecting!

Romance, magic, myth and a little fantasy, all wonderfully intertwined to create a heart-breaking, beautifully poignant, richly atmospheric storyline.

Daniela is a new to me author, although I shall definitely be adding more of her books to my ‘wish list’. She is an amazingly consummate storyteller, whose skill in the imagery her words can evoke, added such great visual depth and range to the lovely descriptive narrative. So strong and almost tactile was the sense of time and place, I became totally immersed in the lives of Mira, Mimi, Annie and Elvira, and was sad when I realised that I had turned the final page and my journey was at an end.

I can share a short resume of the storyline, however to try and explain the nuances and sheer magic of the writing, would be almost impossible without giving away way too many spoilers and leaving you with far more questions than answers. Even to say that the short, fluent chapters, were narrated in alternate timelines by Mira and Annie themselves, is perhaps a little ambiguous in itself, as Annie does in fact speak for them both, but that’s about all I want to give away!

Mira and Annie, separated by a generation, are both the unwanted daughters of strong and demanding mothers, which has left them both feeling rather vulnerable and fragile of mind. Whereas Mira’s brother is doted on and cossetted by both his parents; Annie is an only child and her father is all too aware of the strained relationship she has with her mother, for which he more than compensates, so close are they.

By 1939, Mira has well and truly blotted her copybook with her parents, so with a broken heart, an irreparably damaged reputation and a deeply troubled mind, she is banished to the tiny Island of Galatea, with a veritable suitcase full of pills and medication to keep her compliant and see out the impending war. There, she becomes firm and fast friends with one of the villa’s staff, Mimi. The local doctor Lupo, helps Mimi in her quest to restore Mira’s health and give her release from the overwhelming secret she has had to bear alone. But as the war rages on around them, Mira’s spoilt and selfish brother Gavriel, brings trouble to the peaceful isolation of the island and now it is Mira’s turn to try and save Mimi from his spell, before she gets hurt.

Fast forward to 2018, when Annie suddenly loses her father, only to discover that he has disinherited his wife in her favour, and has left his dying wish that she take her new found wealth, follow the few clues he has managed to gather and the single tangible possession he has from his mother, to try and trace the birth family he never knew, as he was adopted as a baby. Annie’s journey also takes her to Galatea and following in Mira’s footsteps, she finds herself staying in the same bedroom at the lovely Villa Onde, where she falls under the tender ministrations of local islander, Elvira. Annie immediately feels the connection between herself and Mira, as their metaphoric paths begin to cross and their stories converge almost immediately. There is something about the island which leads both girls to discover an inner rebellious strength neither knew they possessed and each finds a true island love, which transcends their wildest imaginations and dreams, although such happiness and contentment doesn’t come without huge personal cost.

The power and sheer magnetism of the women of Galatea, is clear for all to witness and their mystical powers have withstood the test of time and the passing years, as Elvira reveals to Annie the secrets of the past and why Mira and Mimi are such an important part of that history. The island has woven its magic around Annie and she can’t think of anywhere else she would rather be.

Daniela forms a wonderfully fluent and structured and multi-layered storyline, which evolves naturally and generically without any sense of being forced or rushed to any conclusions or endings, allowing me to be carried away by the solitude and tranquillity of this beautiful setting, which enhances the air of magical mystery, despite the unwelcome and devastating impact of interruptions and intrusions by a world at war outside of its watery borders, I had all but forgotten about. Evocatively atmospheric, emotionally intense and beautifully textured, the visual depth and skilful imagery with words, adds some amazing depth and range, which held me in thrall and completely immersed me. There are many twists and turns in this winding road of a story and I never foresaw the eventual outcome before it actually happened.

An eclectic mix of well defined and developed characters only serve to complete, compliment and populate this compelling picture. The synergy between them and the positive energy they exude is tangible, and whilst they are often complex and emotional, raw, vulnerable and passionate, as befits their Italian island connections; they are always genuine, believable, authentic and easy to identify with. They have been afforded a large and generous voice by the author, with which to guide me through their story, with their  narrative and dialogue lovingly documented from the heart.

What typically makes reading such a wonderful experience for me, is that with each and every new book, I am taken on a unique and individual journey, by authors who fire my imagination and stimulate my senses. This story was definitely one of a kind, so I can only recommend that you read it for yourself and see where your journey leads you!
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