Cover Image: The Girl from Bologna (Girls from the Italian Resistance

The Girl from Bologna (Girls from the Italian Resistance

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Member Reviews

The Girl from Bologna (Girls from the Italian Resistance #3) is a gut wrenching and achingly beautiful dual timeline book set in Bologna, Italy in both 1943 and years later in 1981.  I have had the privilege of reading all three in the series and have enjoyed them all, well worth reading.

German-occupied Italy brought unspeakable horrors to all residents of Bologna, including Leila who experienced barbaric acts and witnessed death through the eyes of a nineteen-year-old girl.  She was moved to join the Resistance and as such lead a dangerous existence, always watchful and privy to secret information.  Life was about survival.  Thankfully she had spots of joy in the midst of dreadfulness.  

In 1981 student Rhiannon from Wales moved to study in Bologna and roomed in Leila's home.  She enjoyed Italian life (wonderful multi-sensory descriptions including sights, sounds, smells of food) and befriended others while there.  She became involved in Leila's life and saw her deep sorrow as Leila re-lived her past when recording WWII experiences.  Rhiannon learned a lot about history through these stories, an excellent reminder for us.

My favourite aspects of this story are the descriptions of Italy (which I know and love) and historical details.  WWII was, of course, the epitome of cruelty and the author does not shy away from brutality.  Do know there is a rape scene.  Be sure to read the author's notes on her inspiration and research.

Those seeking a different twist on WWII Historical Fiction ought to read all three books, all with common themes but different stories.

My sincere thank you to BooksGoSocial and NetGalley for the privilege of reading this captivating book.
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In ‘Requiem For A Nun,’ William Faulkner suggests that “the past is never dead. It’s not even past.” How true! These words resonated with then-Senator Barak Obama in a speech, the author in researching this book and now readers see these cautionary words played out, both in the plot and in real-time with the Ukraine war. 

Daiko’s attention to authenticity enhanced the story’s atmosphere and kept me in the 1943 world she’d created for me. With a plethora of WW2 books on the market, Daiko has set herself apart because she dug deep to find another perspective, bringing depth to the resistance movement in Italy. Her novel is a testament to her diligent, meticulous research and her commitment to bringing readers a unique perspective on a well-told period in history. Daiko’s ability to completely immerse me in the period was phenomenal; it was all-encompassing, vivid and emotive. She introduced me to Bolognese singer Lucio Dalla, told of making homemade Alchermes, reminded me of how different the Bolognese dialect was, shared about what it was like living in a country which had switched allegiance during the war, told of living under repression, intimidation and dealing with confiscation and restrictions by the Nazis. Daiko is skilled at taking her readers back in time. She’s also an expert at describing the setting and placing us there. Since finishing this book, I’ve been dreaming of coffee made in a Bialetti, sitting down to a big plate of ragu alla bolognese and home-made tagliatelle, nibbling on a piadine and slurping Zuppa Inglese, and sipping San Giovese at The Baglioni. I’ve noted several places to visit should we ever find ourselves back in Bologna! 

I love learning as I read, and therefore, appreciated Daiko adding to my knowledge of wartime Italy. I was unaware of the horror at Piazza del Nettuno nor Operation Radium and increased my understanding of the Bolognese resistance. 

“Desperate times call for desperate measures.”

Daiko does not shy away from the horrors of war nor the violence associated with it. Be forewarned that there is a rape scene. In keeping true to events and wartime experiences, the author reminds us how fragile and fleeting life was at that time as the urban guerrillas (gappisti) antagonized the Nazis and fascists. What hit home the most for me was the ripple effect of the Nazis appropriating warfare supplies from Italian hospitals, ultimately affecting those undergoing cancer treatment. I’d never considered this before. 

This 5-star dual timeline, book three in the Girls From The Italian Resistance series, can stand alone and is one historical fiction readers will want to have on their summer reading list. 

I was gifted this advance copy by Siobhan Daiko, BooksGoSocial, and NetGalley and was under no obligation to provide a review.
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The main character in this story Leila a nineteen year old tells her story really well of how world War 2 affected her and the people around her. Rhiannon the one that comes to live with her is a foreign exchange.student brings a new perspective  to the story. This book I'd written well but it was to descriptive for me about the war going on.
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Thank you Net Galley for the ARC of The Girl from Bologna by Siobhan Daiko.  This WW2 book was a little different from others I have read in that it was set in 1981 and the Italian partisan told her 1940s story into a cassette tape for her family to know her past.  Rhiannon is a student from Wales that comes to live with Leila, her landlady, in Bologna, Italy to study Italian at the local university, but there is so much more going on in the town.  Rhiannon and Leila's nephew get mixed up in some intrigue that involves a nemesis from Leila's partisan days.  Overall, I enjoyed the story. There were a few uneven spots that I didn't think pushed the story along, but the other plot points were page turners as I had to find out what happened next to Leila or Rhiannon.  Setting the story in 1981 allowed for more suspense in the story because there were no cell phones to just call or look something up.  The characters had to trust people or find a pay phone to connect with others. This was similar to a dual timeline but more subtle as the 1940s story was embedded within chapters as Leila revealed her strength and fortitude to push through the ugliness and heartbreak of war.  This is the third book in the Girls from the Italian Resistance series, so now I will have to go back to read the first two.
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The past is never past says the cover of this book which should be the readers first hint of the story to come.  This story was written in the usual historical fiction style of alternating timelines with the past coming to light as Leila records her memoirs of her time as a 19 year old during WWII.  Rhiannon, an exchange student, now living with Leila in 1980 gets caught in in her own intrigue at the university she is studying at.  Leila’s nephew, Gianluca, a right winged investigative reporter gets involved as well.  I really enjoyed the detailed description of Bologna which created such a clear, vivid picture both during and after WWII.  The stories of actual events are skillfully woven into the book as well.  I enjoyed this less publicized part of the  history of Italy and the characters used to help bring it to light.
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“𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗽𝗮𝘀𝘁 𝗶𝘀 𝗻𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗿 𝗽𝗮𝘀𝘁...“
This is an impactful story about a girl from Bologna, Italy who lived a fulfilling life with her family, friends and boyfriend before the Germans arrived and erased every smile she’s lived to love. 

The plot is very significant, taking the reader from the 40’s Nazi occupation to the 80’s. It tells the story of Leila and her recorded memoir about the horrors she had to go through in quest of freedom, her nephew Gianluca and the university exchange student, Rhiannon, who added such a spice to the story line. 

If you are interested in Italy and Italian history during the WWII, this book is for you!! 

Although it did take me more time than usual to finish, given the fact that I love historical fiction, the promise of a fulfilling ending kept me going.
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I enjoyed the book, finishing in 2 days. I could see it being a play or movie with the way the author describes the scenes. Easy to follow. 

Leila. lives in a small town, Bologna, Italy. She has close friends, a beau and a wonderful family. Life changes dramatically once the Germans arrive and take over their town. Her best friend, Rachel,  and her family are all taken. Leila decides to join forces to get their town/life back. 

Fast forward to 1981. Leila has decided to record her memoirs, opening up a sad past. In the process, she has decided she's lonely and would like company. She rents a room to Rhiannon, foreign student,  who will be studying at the university. 

Rhiannon makes a friend at the university who leads her down a path of mystery which draws in Leila and her nephew,  Gianluca. Leading back to a past that Leila has not been able to forget.
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The Girl from Bologna by Siobhan Daiko is a problematic book for me--on one hand, the writing and story are interesting and the characters of Rhiannon and Leila are likable and engaging--but the tale just hit me wrong.
Set in Bologna(hence the title) the story is set during WWII so it is not a happy period--but that wasn't it either--it does tug at the heartstrings and evokes strong emotions in the reader(or at least this one.).
Spoilers ahead. Still there? There was a rape scene involving one of the main characters' friends and three soldiers and after that, I just never engaged with the book again. This may be for more personal reasons than having to due with the merit of the story or writer--which is why I gave it 2 stars.
Thanks(?) to #NetGalley and #BooksGoSocial for the ARC of #TheGirlfromBolognaGirlsfromtheItalianResistance.
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