Cover Image: The Italian Ballerina

The Italian Ballerina

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Someone tell me why I ever paused reading Kristy Cambron's books--because after finishing _The Italian Ballerina_, I honestly have no idea, haha! (I'm sure it has nothing whatsoever with being distracted by other new and shiny things, or an already extensive TBR pile. :D)

This book is stunning. Soooooo good. It sheds light on yet another aspect of WWII I didn't know about (a fact that always continues to amaze me, given the number of incredible books out there). It makes me want to go to Rome and the Spanish Steps. It makes me want to feel all the things and go all the places and eat all the food. And ultimately, bask in God's provision and the courage of some incredible people.

Cambron does an astounding job at weaving together multiple storylines (which at first threw me off, until I got sufficiently far enough into the book), as well as weaving in historical facts and persons. (The author's note and further-reading list are particularly informative and helpful.) Every time a storyline switched, I was a bit sad to make the shift, and by the time the book ended, I was _really_ sad to say goodbye, heh.

A stunner of a read, and one I highly recommend adding to your shelf. 5/5 stars.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Was this review helpful?
This book was told with dual timelines. It moves back and forth giving us a glimpse of a young girl, the soldiers who try to find her family and the present day family who’s trying to understand it all.
 This author is one of my favorites and a must read. I enjoyed the book and think all historical fiction fans will too.
Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the early copy
Was this review helpful?
Kristy Cambron is one of the authors on my "If She Writes It, I Want to Read It" list. The Italian Ballerina just confirms that. The author tells the story of Courtney Coleman from his rebellious youth in Starlight, Indiana to the battlefields of Italy, to the quarantine wards of Rome's Fatebenefratelli Hospital. The stories of Julia, a British primo ballerina, A.J., Court's sergeant with the medics, Court, the prodigal son, and Calla, the Jewish child Court rescues, are woven into a heart wrenching tale of the cruelty of war and the beauty of human love and kindness.

It is a dual timeline story that has the grandchildren of Court and Calla searching for their story because neither grandparent has shared with their family what happened during the war. I do not give five stars lightly, but this book deserves them. It will touch your heart in a way few books do.
Was this review helpful?
The Italian Ballerina by Kristy Cambron is a story that occurs during WWII. A gifted London ballerina wants to help serve her country during the war. She decides to join the women's service to help with translation services but instead finds herself being sent to R0me to perform. She is determined to help and finds herself being a nurse at a special German hospital. She also befriends her stepbrother and take him with her. Read this novel to see how secretly some of the nurses save the Jews without the Nazis knowledge. Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for allowing me to read this book before its publishing date.
Was this review helpful?
Enjoyable dual timeline WWII story set in Italy during the occupation of Rome. A complex plot, requiring keeping note of the dates and characters at different ages, an American medic, a British ballerina, and a modern-day American woman looking for her family from the past. Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the advance digital galley.
Was this review helpful?
I will not be reviewing this book because of a prolonged illness. Have lost interest because of time loss.
Was this review helpful?
Anyone who is a fan of  historical fiction, this is the book for you!  This captivating, heartfelt, amazing story got my attention right from the start.  Part of it takes place during the Nazi occupation in Rome during the early 1940s.  A five-year old Jewish girl, who speaks only Italian was found by two American  Allied medics, standing in a pool of blood, likely the blood of her dead parents, holding a suitcase that she will not part with.  She doesn’t tell them her name, so they call her Calla.  

With the Nazis occupying the streets of Rome, Julie Bradbury, a British ballerina, who speaks Italian, takes refuge at a hospital where the two American medics, Court and AJ are now posing as doctors. Julie teams up with them, taking  on the role of a nurse  who also gives ballet lessons to Calla, who dreams of becoming a ballerina. 
An imaginary,  deadly disease , known as Syndrome K, has necessitated the creation of a quarantined unit to place all those infected. It is actually a  secure  place to hide the Jews until they can be transported to a safe location.  That is where the two American medics, the pretend nurse and Calla stay.  While they are rescuing Jews, the Nazis stay clear of them fearful of getting the disease.

Going forward to the present day, Delaney (Del) Coleman is mourning the loss of her beloved grandfather, Dr. Courtney Coleman, when a  letter arrives  from an attorney in Italy  representing the Santini family claiming Dr. Coleman has property that belongs to them.  Del logs into a preplanned video call with Matteo Santini and learns they are interested in obtaining their “family heirloom.” the old suitcase the child Calla would not part with.  Matteo offers Del a paid flight to Italy to bring them the suitcase, which has never been opened because it has been locked for the past 80 years.   Calla, the child who had been rescued by Del’s grandfather is  Matteo Santini’s grandmother.   

Del, along with the old suitcase is on the way to Italy, hoping to uncover secrets of her grandfather’s past and also learn what is inside the locked suitcase.

The extensive research that obviously went into this absolutely fascinating story is impressive.  I loved that is this beautiful, sometimes heart-wrenching story encompassed the value of faith as well as forgiveness.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishing and NetGalley.  All comments and opinions are my own.
Was this review helpful?
This one sat on my NetGalley shelf for ages because I was patiently waiting for the luxury of a whole day off to enjoy it. You can imagine my disappointment when I began reading and discovered that despite loving Kristy Cambron’s books and appreciating her gift, this one was not for me. 


1) I struggled to connect with the characters.
2) The story was too busy with subplots and a multitude of characters
3) The dual timelines didn’t mesh well and jumped around too much.

Roughly 75% of the novels I read are historical fiction. I love dual timelines and I’m eager to learn from an author’s meticulous research. I also appreciate a unique story. I had a day off, a bottle of wine with my name on it, amazing chocolate set aside to nibble on as I read, and a fully charged KIndle. Knowing all this, I should have loved this story. It had all the right ingredients.

 I was gifted this advance copy by Kristy Cambron, Thomas Nelson, and NetGalley and was under no obligation to provide a review.
Was this review helpful?
This is a most beautiful story, told with such feeling!
Told in dual timeline down the years spanning the families of Delaney and Mattel.  As the title infers we follow the story of two ballerinas, one the teacher with the other being the pupil.
Describing the saving of Jews when Syndrome K was invented to keep the SS soldiers in the dark as to what was happening behind the scenes in the hospital.   It is truly fascinating.
History repeats itself again through strong characters.  My own personal favourites being Court and Julia.
Was this review helpful?
I've enjoyed books by this author in the past but this one was hard to grasp. The jumping around from one timeframe to another with different characters was annoying. I liked learning about the fake Syndrome K disease and the ingenious plot to save the Jewish people. Also enjoyed the author's note.
Was this review helpful?
A stunning novel telling the story of Calla, a little Jewish girl rescued from the Jewish Ghetto in Rome. The people who impact her life—Court, AJ, and Julia—sacrifice for her. In the present day Court’s granddaughter Delaney and Calla’s grandson Matteo meet in Italy and uncover the story of an ivory & cherry suitcase. Calla’s story intertwines with theirs as they struggle with broken dreams and past mistakes. Incredible story—highly recommend! 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishing through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Was this review helpful?
Rome, 1943. With the fall of Italy’s Fascist government and the Nazi regime occupying the streets of Rome, British ballerina Julia Bradbury is stranded and forced to take refuge at a hospital on Tiber Island. When she learns of a deadly sickness sweeping through the quarantine wards—a fake disease known only as Syndrome K—she is drawn into one of the greatest cons in history. Alongside hospital staff, friars of the adjoining church, and two Allied medics, Julia risks everything to rescue Jewish Italians from the deadly clutches of the Holocaust. Soon a little girl who dreams of becoming a ballerina arrives at their door, and Julia is determined to reunite the young dancer with her family if only she would reveal her name.  
Present Day. Delaney Coleman recently lost her grandfather—a beloved small-town doctor and World War II veteran, so she returns home to help her aging parents. When a mysterious Italian woman reaches out claiming to own one of the family’s precious heirlooms, Delaney is compelled to travel to Italy and uncover the truth of her grandfather’s hidden past. With the help of the woman’s skeptical but charming grandson, Delaney learns of a Roman hospital that saved hundreds of Jewish people during the war. Soon, everything Delaney thought she knew about her grandfather comes into question.

Based on true accounts of the invented Syndrome K sickness, The Italian Ballerina journeys from the Allied storming of the beaches at Salerno to the London ballet stage and the war-torn streets of World War II Rome, exploring choices we must make to find faith and forgiveness, and how saving a single life can impact countless others.  

As a lover of history, I had read a brief account somewhere about Syndrome K and how it fooled the Germans.  This story brings that to life using some of the real characters and fictional characters based on real characters.  The author's notes are worth reading at the end as much of this is explained.   It is evident that the author did a lot of research into this time period in Rome and the results of the brave hospital staff willing to  risk their lives to see that these Jews survived the war.  I have wanted to read this author's books so I thank NetGalley and the publisher for granting my request.  I highly recommend this book, especially for fans of historical fiction based on WWII.
Was this review helpful?
The Italian Ballerina by Kristy Cameron is a remarkable story told about multiple generations. World War II ties together the present day characters in ways they could never imagine. Filled with tragedy due to Nazi occupation and brutality and heroism of those who stepped up to help, this multiple timeline story ties all together beautifully in the end. This is a brilliant novel by a consistently superb author. What a great read. I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher with no obligations. These opinions are entirely my own.
Was this review helpful?
The Italian Ballerina 
by Kristy Cambron
Pub Date: July 12, 2022
Thomas Nelson 
Thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for the ARC of this book.  
* Historical Fiction   * Christian Fiction 
Fantastic Book!  I learned something today about the author. She's a Christy Award-winning author of historical fiction, including bestselling novels, THE BUTTERFLY AND THE VIOLIN and THE PARIS DRESSMAKER, and nonfiction, including the Verse Mapping Series. She also lives in Indiana which is my home state as well! 
The Italian Ballerina is a dual timeline historical fiction story set in England, Rome, and America. Don't start this book unless you have time to devote to it!  I was pulled in from the start. It's a beautiful story woven with timeless truths and relatable emotion. I felt this story in a deep, deep way. I highly recommend it and will be purchasing it for our library. 
4 stars
Was this review helpful?
Thanks to Thomas Nelson--FICTION, I was provided an ARC of The Italian Ballerina by Kristy Cambron via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

*****Publishing July 12, 2022*****

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ A duel time period book that will transport you to Rome, London, and Starlight, Indiana during WWll and Starlight, Indiana and Rome present day. Both time lines include Delaney’s grandfather, Court Coleman, who was a medic in Rome during WWII.  After Court dies, Delaney learns about his life during WWII. He was a WWII veteran that would not talk about his experience. Delaney and her parents find out through his will, a family in Rome was demanding some of his heirlooms. This was a shock to Delaney and her parents. Delaney speaks to the Italians on a call and is invited to Rome to further discuss who will get the heirlooms. Will they be able to hold onto these heirlooms or will they be forced to hand them over? 

Julia is a Ballerina living in London. When the war begins, many of the ballet companies were shut down, but she is given the opportunity to be a part of a traveling company. What will she encounter during this time of war? Who will she help?

This heartfelt book will have you turning the pages to find out their fates and how Court and Julia are connected. Such a wonderful story that is full of the unexpected. A well researched book perfect for those who like to read Historical Fiction. Be sure to add this to your TBR list. A great book club pick as well!
Was this review helpful?
I should never start a Kristy Cambron novel midweek. My house is half a wreck because I was sucked into this twisting time-slip! What a historical tearjerker. Cambron pulls no punches (and nearly broke and bent genre rules with that ending) in a way only she can get away with. So stunning a story.
Was this review helpful?
Rome, Italy, 1943

The Italian Ballerina is a dual-time story set during WWII, and it starts out by introducing Private Courtney Coleman and Calla Santini on Tiber Island. Courtney Coleman is a medic during the war, and he meets Calla when he and a fellow medic, AJ Nelson are separated from their troop. He watches as Calla is separated from her parents(and murdered) and he is determined to keep her safe.

How do you keep Italian Jews safe during WWII when right under their noses are the Nazis? 

Just make up a contagious disease called Syndrome K.

Julia Bradford is a ballerina who wants to do her part but after a bomb explosion, she ends up at a hospital because she can speak Italian, and she becomes a ‘nurse’ working with the patients in the Syndrome K ward. 

In the present time, Delaney Coleman is trying to figure out what her next step is career-wise, dealing with her aging parents, and processing the grief of her grandfather’s recent passing. Matteo Santini contacts Delaney regarding a suitcase. Del has no idea what he is talking about, and why would she want to give it to him and his grandmother? She has never even heard her grandfather speak about being in the hospital, or Matteo’s grandmother, Calla Santini.

To be honest, for most of this novel, I wasn’t really sure about the storylines, did I even like this story? I was kind of confused as to where it was headed. But I kept trodding along because this is Kristy Cambron, and I haven’t ever really been led astray by her writing in the past. Once I passed page 300, things started to fall into place, and all the pieces that had been put into place started to make a lot more sense to me. I started to feel bad for doubting where Ms. Cambron was leading this reader.

I read historical fiction because it takes you places you’ll probably never visit or hear of unless you read, and The Italian Ballerina reminded me of all this but also there are so many stories that go untold that remind us that even though there is suffering, pain, and injustices happening all the time all around us, somehow and somewhere He will redeem them all. It’s not for us to understand at this time.

My gratitude to Thomas Nelson and Netgalley. "I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own."
Was this review helpful?
I've read quite a few of Kristy Cambron's books over the last few years, and after reading the synopsis for this one, I found myself very much looking forward to diving right into another. Unfortunately, this one ended up not being quite what I was expecting, and while there were still certain components I did end up enjoying, it's definitely not my favorite by this author, and probably won't be one that I'll find myself recommending.

Perhaps my favorite part of the entire story were the historical components connected to "Syndrome K." I read quite a few titles within the World War Two setting, and this was my first time learning anything about this fascinating piece of history. It showcased just how brave the individuals were who inspired this story, and I love getting to learn new to me pieces of history when I pick up these kind of titles.

I also enjoyed how ballet plays a big part of the story, and it was interesting to read about how these type of simple enjoyments still carried on to a certain degree during such a devastating time period in history.

Unfortunately, even with taking into consideration the pieces I did enjoy, this one still didn't end up being the book for me. I found the timeslip format didn't really work with this particular story, and I had an awful time trying to follow the various POV's across differing time periods. None of the characters really had a voice that stood out as distinctive, so it made it even more difficult to differentiate one from the other.

I also had a really hard time getting into this one, and struggled to want to read more than a chapter at a time for the first half of the book. The second half was certainly more interesting than the first, but I still can't say that I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I wasn't invested enough in any of the characters' lives to care that much about how everything was going to wrap up.

Final Rating: 3/5.

An okay read, but not what I was expecting, and not my personal favorite from this author.

Thanks so much to Thomas Nelson for allowing me to advance read and review this one!

I received a complimentary advance reader copy of this novel from the publisher (Thomas Nelson) via NetGally in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to give a positive review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Was this review helpful?

Kristy Cambron writes some of my favorite WWII stories, and this one didn't disappoint. I didn't know much about WWII Italy before reading this book, and I so enjoyed experiencing that through the story. This novel is a split-time with three POVs and three varying time-frames. Some of my favorite scenes were between Penn and Court in Indiana.

In the beginning, I got a little confused for some reason (could've just been me) with the differing time-periods, but once I got my footing, I loved the story, the historical bits even more than present day. 

I'd highly recommend this one to fans of WWII fiction. Kristy Cambron does this genre so well!

*I received a complimentary copy of the novel from NetGalley and the publisher. All opinions are my own.*
Was this review helpful?
This is a heartwarming story of three people coming together to save Italian Jews. There was a bit of WWII history mentioned that I had never heard of before, Syndrome K. I enjoyed the book but I had to make sure to pay close attention to the dates. This is a dual timeline story but the past portion also happens in multiple years so there may be a chapter from the past and then the next chapter may actually happen several years before that to give the reader the back story to the back story. That caused me some confusion until I settled into that.
Was this review helpful?