Sally Brady's Italian Adventure
by Christina Lynch
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Pub Date 13 Jun 2023 | Archive Date 27 Jun 2023
“Richly evocative of the charms and contradictions of Italy. Brava!”—Chris Pavone, New York Times bestselling author
What if you found yourself in the middle of a war armed only with lipstick and a sense of humor? Abandoned as a child in Los Angeles in 1931, dust bowl refugee Sally Brady convinces a Hollywood movie star to adopt her, and grows up to be an effervescent gossip columnist secretly satirizing Europe’s upper crust. By 1940 saucy Sally is conquering Fascist-era Rome with cheek and charm.
A good deed leaves Sally stranded in wartime Italy, brandishing a biting wit, a fake passport, and an elastic sense of right and wrong. To save her friends and find her way home through a land of besieged castles and villas, Sally must combat tragedy with comedy, tie up pompous bureaucrats in their own red tape, force the cruel to be kind, and unravel the mystery, weight, and meaning of family.
Heir to Odysseus’s wiles and Candide’s optimism, Sally Brady is a heroine for the 21st century.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 21 members
Thank you to @netgalley and the publisher for the #AdvanceReviewCopy
Summary: This Historical Fiction story set in Italy during WW2 follows Sally’s adventures as she’s forced (by her parents) as a little girl to leave her childhood home in the USA in search for a job to help feed the family. While homeless, Sally meets a woman who takes her in and they travel to Italy where Sally grows up to be a secret gossip columnist writing about the rich and famous. Sally’s life is full of parties, exposure to designer things and secrets, but when Italy declares war on The USA, as an American, her life changes.
My thoughts: I LOVED this book. I loved Sally and her wit and charm. This is a multiple POV story with Sally in the forefront; her chapters are told in 1st person whereas the others are 3rd person. This distinguishes Sally from the rest of the story and enlightens the fact that the others are there to set the stage and help move the story along. When the characters’ stories converge, you’ll already be at the edge of your seat, hoping, willing and rooting them on.
This is is a beautiful story you’ll get lost in, learn from, and truly enjoy.
Sally Brady’s Italian Adventure lives up to its title in surprising ways. Sally is a plucky and persistent heroine, sent away by her family to make her own life as a young person. While no stranger to struggle, she also becomes very familiar with luck, getting informally adopted by a movie star and wrapped into the world of bourgeois parties. This life takes her to Italy, where her keen observation and sharp social skills helps her caregiver complete a gossip column about the rich, famous, and royal. As Mussolini comes to power and Italy’s growing fascism threatens their safety, Sally must find new ways to both be hidden and seen, deepening her competence in survival.
Sally is not the only narrator, as Lynch also introduces us to Lapo, a writer turned farmer in the Italian countryside and Alessandro, his son who searches for purpose and morality in a moment in time that challenges everyone’s sense of humanity. While giving us a similar character depth as Sally, Lynch also uses these voices to keep the reader engaged with the history of the moment. As someone who didn’t know a lot about Mussolini’s time in power, she manages not to be heavy handed with it, but rather present it in context with the character’s realities.
Lynch balances a lot with the novel and is successful with its multiple effects on the reader. The historical context asks the reader to consider their own morals and empathy, to question how political and social pressure might change who they think they are. At the same time, Lynch is a writer who ultimately wants to give the reader a full adventure: the excitement, joys, and panics of being in unfamiliar places and situations that force us to grow.
**this review will be on Goodreads, Instagram, and developing other promotional content directly with the author.
Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the advanced copy. I love this book! Christina Lynch has written a wonderful book with characters to fall on love with. Historical fiction at it best.
Wow, what a great story! Definitely loved the Italian influence in this book. The character was an amazing addition to this storyline and pretty much made the whole book. Must read!
Sally Brady's Italian Adventure provides a different take on WWII history following Sally from Dust Bowl America to Musollini's Italy. I found the story very charming and overall it was a very quick read that I enjoyed, The characters pop off the page and provide a side of WWII fiction.
Very interesting historical fiction! Embraces many important topics of resiliency, love, and loss. Highly recommend! Thank you NetGalley for this advanced copy!
I really loved the characters in this book. Italian history was as much a part of the book as it was of Alessandro, and the author brings to life Italy perfectly. Sally Brady is a chameleon of a woman who brings the reader in immediately; Lapp is a father who would sell his soul if it meant saving his son; and Alessandro is a man of conviction who seems tossed around by a world at war. The plot is engaging and is woven together intricately and perfectly.
Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
If humor can be found in Mussolini’s Italy it’s on these pages. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Being historical fiction, I got a glimpse into what Italy was like under Mussolini’s rule and how divided of a country fascist Italy actually was.
Abandoned as a child, Sally is adopted and eventually sent off to school in Switzerland. Years later she finds herself a gossip columnist in Rome when war breaks out. Being an American she now is on the run.
This is a powerful saga of love, friendship, loss and betrayal. Ultimately, it is the resilience of the human spirit that stays with you long after the last page is turned.
I look forward to reading more from this author.
Christina Lynch has gifted her readers with a truly unique WW2-era heroine. Sally Brady’s talents could have graced a battlefield general, or a james Bond-ish master-agent, but instead she is a vagabond cum POW who manages to slither down the slipperiest of slopes and emerge whole.
I loved her spirit;
I loved her heart; and,
I loved the fairy tale ending which she richly deserved.
Netgalley provided me a complimentary copy of this book in return for a candid review.
Sally Brady was a great character, I really loved getting to know her as a character. It was what I was hoping for from the plot and it was really well written. I loved the aspect of this and thought it was a beautifully done story. The rest of the characters were what I was hoping for and did what I was expecting them to. I enjoyed how Christina Lynch wrote this and can't wait to read more from the author.
“Your babbo is useless,” Pappone had said to Alessandro when he was fourteen. “He doesn’t know how to do anything. He inherited money. That’s it. He’s a pathetic parasite.” “He can write a villanelle,” Alessandro replied.
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