The Enemy of Love

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Pub Date 26 Sep 2023 | Archive Date 30 Sep 2023

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1943. Wartime Italy.

Casa Maria sits at the heart of the small Umbrian town of Amatino, famous for its food, wine and the di Luca and Capaldi families who run it. But now Italy is consumed by war and everything must change.

For talented cook Sophia di Luca, the discovery her father has left the trattoria not to her, but to the volatile and charismatic Giorgio Capaldi, is a bitter disappointment. Still grieving the sudden death of his wife, and in no mood to compromise, Giorgio’s return to Amatino threatens everything Sophia has struggled to achieve.

As Mussolini falls and the Germans march in, the two families find themselves in conflict not only with a terrifying new enemy, but also with each other.

Annabelle Thorpe’s gripping novel does for wartime Italy what Victoria Hislop does for Greece.

'A joyous read, which really spoke to me about the indomitability of the human spirit. A wonderful book.' Elizabeth Enfield, author of Ivy and Abe

Praise for Annabelle Thorpe:

'Unputdownable!' Claire Dyer, author of The Last Day

'A pacy, engaging tale of human weakness and of passion so overwhelming it can make fools of us all' Daily Express


1943. Wartime Italy.

Casa Maria sits at the heart of the small Umbrian town of Amatino, famous for its food, wine and the di Luca and Capaldi families who run it. But now Italy is consumed by war...

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ISBN 9781803289144
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Featured Reviews

Annabelle Thorpe's novel, The Enemy of Love, takes readers on a journey to Mussolini's Italy during World War II, where we witness the bonds of family and friends as a small Italian village finds itself in the crosshairs of the war. The world is at war, but in Amatino, Sophie di Luca's life is the Trattoria di Luca, the restaurant she assumed her father would leave to her; instead, he arranged for Giorgio Capaldi to take over the restaurant, throwing Sophie's life into chaos.

The author provides the reader with a vivid picture of Amatino and its inhabitants during a time of great upheaval. The characters are interesting and compelling, each with unique motivations and desires, making it easy for readers to become invested in their lives. Although a bit slow at the beginning, the building tension caused by the conflict between Sophie and Giorgio moves the story along from start to finish.

The Enemy of Love is a well-written, compelling novel that explores themes of grief, love, and family conflict in a time of turmoil. This is an excellent read for those who love historical fiction and are curious about Italy during this turbulent time in histo

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When Mussolini is deposed, the people in Amatino, the villagers think their lives will get back to normal. When the Germans infiltrate the village, the Capaldi and Bertilli families decide they need to fight back. What will the cost be to them? Can they overcome their grief to find hope and love again? Their priest reminds them, "Love is the enemy of war."

In The Enemy of Love, Annabelle Thorpe explores Italy in the last part of World War II. If I had known Italian, I would have enjoyed the book more, but I was able to figure out what the Italian phrases through context clues. This book highlights the importance of family and neighbors. I was able to read an ARC on #NetGalley.

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#TheEnemyOfLove I downloaded from Netgalley & couldn't put down. I love finding books that have grit & make you think.
⭐️ While set at a very hard time when Germans were occupying Italy, I loved being in Italy. The description, the people, the language. It all made me feel like I was there!
⭐️ The story & the writing. I was hooked on each person, what they were going through, and what was going to happen to them.
⭐️ The community & how everyone looked after each other with food and drink - such is the Italian way.
⭐️ The history. Sometimes, it's good to have perspective & realise how lucky we are now. The events in this book were heartbreaking.
⭐️ I fell into Annabelle's writing style straight away. I love when a book feels like home.
Highly recommend!

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A heartwarming tale of two people caught in the crossroads of war. The characters were beautifully written. The struggle the women faced inorder to be heard and appreciated is beautifully depicted. A good read for the historical fiction lovers.

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There's not a lot of book set in Italy during WWII and was curious about this one. It's a compelling story, the historical background is vivid and well researched.
There's a lot of drama and emotions while the story plays a greater game.
Many thanks to the publisher for this arc, all opinions are mine

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I enjoy historical novels that are set in the WWll era. The Enemy of Love was a bit different from most because it was set in Italy during WWll. The use of the Italian phrases in the book slowed me down as I had to consult a dictionary for better understanding. But that's ok, you're never too old to learn new things. At first, it reads like a novel about an Italian family that owned a restaurant, but that changes with the departure of Mussolini, and the presence of German forces becomes apparent. Fans of historical fiction will enjoy this novel. Thanks to author Annabelle Thorpe, publisher Aria & Aries, and NetGalley. I received a complimentary copy of this ebook. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

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Books about World War II are a favorite of mine. This book is different than most because it focuses on Mussolini's Italy during World War II,

The book was fantastic. The author did a fantastic job capturing the feeling of the citizens of Italy during this time period.

The country is in turmoil and everyone is on high alert as a result emotions are running high as well. The main characters Sophie and Giorgio experience strong feeling of grief, love, and several moments of disagreement.

The book is a great choice for historical fiction fans and are curious about Italy during the war.

Highly recommend.

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Such a beautiful depiction of Italy in WWII, 1943. The description of the setting, characters, food etc. enamours you towards the book. I also loved how rich with history this is and not just a cliché romance, I felt like a learned a lot and it was a really heart-warming story of love and family. Overall this was such an amazingly poetic book and I highly recommend.

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Set in Italy 1943, during WWII, it follows 2:families who are trying to keep going, despite the German occupation of their part of Italy, Amatino. The Capaldis’ and Da Lucas’ have known each other for years, but find themselves initially at odds when Giorgio Capaldi arrives back in the village to take over the running of Casa Mia, which Sophia Da Luca assumed she’d be doing, after her father dies. Soon, they have more to worry about than who rules the kitchen.

There have been quite a few books in a similar vein this past year, but I found this one more interesting and readable than most. It offers a more authentic telling than some. There is a really good picture painted about the village and all of its occupants., including the Germans they have to deal with, whilst still trying to remain their own people. I liked Sophia and Giorgio’s story, but also Elena and Isaacs friendship. I enjoyed this authors style of writing, and hope there may be another in this series, to find the answer to an unanswered question.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.

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Gorgeously-written The Enemy of Love is set in Umbria, Italy in 1943 WWII. Casa Maria is usually a place of idyll and celebrating family with good food and wine but freedoms are yanked away when the Nazis take control. Overnight Italy changes. Most take sides and even allies become enemies, friends turn against friends. Trust, loyalty, sorrow, love and hope intertwine and become blurred. People hardly had time to breathe before their families started disappearing.

Sophia di Luca is an excellent cook and is shocked when her father leaves the family trattoria to Giorgio Capaldi instead of her. Neither is thrilled but the two decide to work side by side and produce minor miracles in the kitchen. Sophia is proud and independent and stands up for what she thinks is right; Giorgio has tragically lost his wife and lives in grief and chooses not to take sides. Spitfire matriarch Nonna announces the trattoria would remain open and only those who could should pay. The dishes they lovingly create are described with mouthwatering detail and I love that Italian phrases and menus in Italian are included. Italy is beloved to me and author Annabelle Thorpe's stunning details transported me instantly, heart and soul.

Nazi Germans were often brutal and vicious but not all Germans shared their mentality. War details are not glossed over which contribute to the layer of reality which is painful but necessary. Mussolini is in power and loyalties are torn. Do you fight for country or family and to what lengths?

Food, nature character and emotional descriptions are living poetry, one of my favourite aspects of this novel. So easy to read in spite of the subject matter. This book has soul written into each word and engages all the senses. If you are a Historical Fiction fan, please do not pass this one by. I like that it is not canned or cookie cutter and descriptions aren't trite.

My sincere thank you to Aria & Aries for providing me with an early digital copy of this phenomenal novel.

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“War is the enemy of love, cara – it tries to teach us that hate and brutality is all the world is capable of”

I haven’t read a good ‘weepy’ for some time now and although romance was just one element of this multi-layered storyline, it formed the bedrock for everything else, ably demonstrating the impact war can have on mind, body, soul and relationships. Thus, I make no apologies for the number of memorable moments I featured from the book, as they truly reflect the wonderfully poignant and evocative quality and descriptive nature of the narrative and dialogue.

So, The story in a nutshell…


When, in 1943, Luigi de Luca dies, the future of Trattoria de Luca, a joint venture between the di Luca and Capaldi families, is thrown into disarray. With the men engulfed in a war no one is certain they can win, or even know what they are really fighting for, Sophia di Luca expects management of the Trattoria to fall to her. She has worked alongside her father day after day and is almost as good a cook as he was. She is independent, strong-minded and has a good business brain. However, she has underestimated her father’s strong traditional views, that an Italian woman’s place is in the the home, as a daughter, then wife and mother. So, when she discovers that before his death Luigi had sent to Rome to ask his old partner’s eldest son Giorgio Capaldi to come home and take over the Trattoria, you just know that sparks are going to fly.

However, Giorgio, having been injured and invalided out of the army, is a man still very much drowning in his own grief and being back home, surrounded by his well-meaning family and friends, is not at all what he had in mind, especially as none of them know the full extent of his sorrow. His Nonna Elena, lives above the Trattoria and despite her advancing years, her word carries a lot of clout, both within the Capaldi family and in the wider environs of the town itself. When the arguing and bickering between Sophia and Giorgio, over the management of the kitchen becomes more than she can stand, she comes up with the idea that they should run the Trattoria together, as equal partners.

Right now, as a result of the life-changing events he has had to deal with, the Allies are the primary focus of all Giorgio’s anger, so when Mussolini falls, the new President surrenders to the Allies, and the Germans sweep into town, he is in the very small minority of inhabitants who are cautiously optimistic. The Allies now suddenly want to set up Resistance Units in Italian towns, which doesn’t sit well with Giorgio and splits the population down the middle, dividing families and pitting brother against brother, father against son. However, when the new regime becomes imbedded in the community and begins to show its true colours, rounding up the Jewish community and hounding down the very youngest of boys to be conscripted, everyone is forced to take sides, even Giorgio, especially when Sophia’s young brother Matti is well and truly in their sights. Two terrible, gut-wrenching incidents, which show their German masters up for what they really are, serve to pull everyone together ready to fight for the common cause and this time Giorgio is ready to be front and centre of any assault, fighting alongside Sophia who is determined that she wants to play an active role in avenging her family and is refusing to stand on the side-lines.

Alongside all of this, the growing feelings between Giorgio and the feisty Sophia cannot be ignored, as much as they both try to deny it, to the amusement and frustration of family, friends and indeed, the rest of the community. Even Giorgio’s hot headed brother Rocco, who, before he had headed off to fight and having now returned, thought he had an agreement with Sophia, eventually has to accept that his was probably a rather one-sided arrangement and eventually gives Giorgio his blessing. The constant denials of any feelings between the two lovebirds only leads to more fighting and acrimony, until it is not only Elena who is at her wits end, but also the young padre Massimo, who is determined that his two friends should sort out their feelings for one another, just in case the worst should happen.

When everyone’s unimaginable nightmares come true, salvation for the young couple comes from a selfless act of kindness and gratitude, which although in itself is not the panacea they might have wished for, will hopefully keep them both safe until hostilities are over and they can be reunited.


It seems to me that Italy’s place in WWII at this time, was very complicated, with the country’s leader Mussolini, pushing his people first one way and then the other, leaving communities quite divided about who their enemy really was. Author Annabelle Thorpe did an excellent job at illustrating the confusion that caused, in this microcosmic, single timeline snapshot, of wartime life in a small fictional town in the Umbrian district of Italy. The wider theatre of war was of course, alluded to, but in no great detail and certainly not enough to detract from the narrow focus she had set herself for this story, which although beautifully executed and told with a panache and verve, was thoughtfully tempered by a deep sensitivity to the needs of her individual characters.

The timeline is easy to follow, the storyline is multi-layered, and the narrative is beautifully textured and nuanced, full of emotion and feeling. In such a close and insular community, which finds itself under German occupation, every strata of society is affected to varying degrees and no one escapes the wrath of an army flexing its military muscle. Jews, and people from other secular races, regardless of gender or age, are being rounded up, often beaten for the merest show of passive resistance, and with little order or supervision from higher authority, small clusters of unmarked graves begin to appear in secluded spots above the town. Young men of fighting age are also targets of the new regime and whilst there are those who can’t wait to stand up and be counted, some, such as Sophia’s young brother Matti, question exactly who and what they are fighting for, and seek to avoid capture, choosing instead to help the Allied Resistance movement which is gathering pace and strength across the country.

This open and descriptive style is also reflected in the cast of characters Annabelle has assembled, who are well developed and defined, and more than capable of telling their own story, which they do without any prompting. The really strong, standout characters for me were, Sophia, Isaac, Elena and Massimo, although to be honest, everyone played their parts to perfection. The two women, despite the vast difference in their ages and the eras in which they have been brought up, are remarkably united in their belief that despite their gender, they are more than capable of running a home and family, whilst still being independent enough to hold down a job, take their places and have their voices heard outside, in the wider society. Thus, any relationship between Giorgio and Sophia, is never going to be plain sailing, saccharine, or peaceful. However, when they can accept that they are equals in all aspects of a partnership, they will definitely work effectively and successfully as a good team.

Massimo, takes his role as padre to this small community, very seriously and is more than willing to put his own life at risk, in offering sanctuary to those who need it most. He is especially close to the Capaldi and di Luca families, and thus the Jew, Isaac, who has maybe not too secretly held a candle for Elena for many years, feelings which are reciprocated by the lady in question, although she might never openly admit it. Massimo stages his own small rebellion against his German captors, for which Elena and Isaac will be forever grateful. Whilst Isaac in his turn, makes the final and ultimate sacrifice of selfless love and devotion.

Annabelle gathers together in this story, all the emotions in the spectrum, with her strong, independent and feisty females. The impetuosity, over-enthusiasm and exuberance of a youth which doesn’t want to be suppressed. The compassion and selfless kindness of those least able to help themselves or others. And the sheer brutality and feral behaviour of those who have been indoctrinated with the belief that they reign supreme over others and can do no wrong.

She also uses a mix of real and fictional locations, although pertinent details enabled me to pinpoint whereabouts in the fantastic Umbrian Italian countryside I was. The ardent armchair traveller in me was teased by a genuine sense of time and place that I could almost step into and an atmosphere which lingered long after I had closed the final page. Annabelle definitely used the full palette at her disposal to paint both the physical location of her storyline and the portraits of her characters.

What typically makes reading such a wonderful experience for me, is that with each and every book, I am taken on a unique and individual journey, by some amazing authors who fire my imagination, stimulate my senses and stir my emotions. This storyline gave more than I could have hoped for on just about every one of those fronts, so thanks for some lovely memories to treasure Annabelle, although I might still have longed for a more conclusive ending, which neatly tied up all those ‘what if’ loose ends and denouements.

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A lovely (odd word for a WWII novel) story set in 1943 Umbria, Sophia and Giorgio find themselves at odds when her father wills his trattoria to Giorgio and this dominates the early parts of the book until the Nazi's arrive and then everything changes, Know that there's a fair amount of Italian, all of which is understandable though context, and that it actually adds to the atmospherics. Thanks to netgalley for the ARC. A good read for fans of historical fiction.

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I heard about this book and thought it sounded like a good read.

From the beginning of the story, the setting and the characters were brought to life. I was interested in the characters, and the book felt like an escape while I was reading.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for a free copy to review.

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The Enemy of Love is set in the small Italian town of Amatino during World War II. It's 1943 and. Sophia Di Luca has just lost her father, who ran the Casa Maria Restaurant with Elena Capaldi. Reluctantly, she now finds herself working with Elena's grandson Georgio, newly returned from the war. Sophia has dreams, ones which do not include the expectation she will settle down, raise a family and become a housewife. She has ambitions to run her own restaurant, and to visit New York where one of her uncles now lives. Georgio, is mourning the loss of his wife Angelina in an allied air raid, which killed both her and their unborn child. Sophia and Georgia know each other well having grown up together, but childhood friendships are a thing of the past. Now Sophia finds him a challenge as they take on the responsibility for running the restaurant. When Mussolini loses control of Italy, Hitler moves his troops in, occupying Amatino and life changes for everyone. The feel of a town occupied during wartime is written so well. You can feel the fear, see the cruelty and understand how everyone who lives there is under a constant threat, not only from the Germans, but from would be collaborators.
A wonderful read, beautifully written with some great characters. Elena, the wise, perceptive matriarch, made me smile with some of her observations. Bertelli, the larger than life film director living in his grand palazzo while wanting to help the resistance and, of course Sophia and Georgio who seemed to be destined for each other, only to have events, mostly beyond their control, pull them apart.
There is danger, drama and tragedy in this story, but through all the characters' struggles, also love and hope. There are hold your breath moments too. And the ending left enough loose ends for me to wonder whether a sequel is planned. I do hope so as there is great potential to continue the story. Well deserving of five stars – an exceptional read.
My thanks to Netgalley, Annabelle Thorpe and Head of Zeus for an ARC of The Enemy of Love in exchange for an honest review.

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I had never read books that were set in Italy in WWII, so my interest was piqued when I read the synopsis - I’m also a fan of Italian food! The enemy of love is a heart-warming story that follows the families of Sophia and Giorgio and the German occupation of Amatino, a small village in Italy.
The book will suit readers who enjoy historical fiction and especially those who are looking for one told from a different angle for a change.
Thanks to NetGalley and Aria & Aries, Aria for the opportunity to read an advanced copy of this compelling book

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Italy 1943, Sophia is grieving the loss of her father when she discovers that instead of leaving his restaurant to her to run , he has left it to Georgia Capaldi.
Family drama turns to historical drama as Mussolini is deposed and the village is infiltrated by Germans.
This historical novel kept me entertained throughout, the characters made me want to be on their side and the scenery absolutely amazing.

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A moving and tragic story of the lives of two families in a Nazi infiltrated Italian town. Amid the horrors of the Nazi occupation is the love of Giorgio and Sophia both working to defend their families and the town. The lovely scenes of Georgia and Sophia play against the absolute ugliness and horrible treatment of the Nazis and of life. at times a very hard read but so worth your time.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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This book will take the reader through the emotional time of war, the hope of romance and life’s realities! The storyline, setting and characters all bring Italian life to the pages.
The storyline is very descriptive of family connections, beliefs and also managing a restaurant in a town dealing with upheaval!
Sophia loves cooking and expects to be in charge when her father passes away, her commitment and passion is no match for tradition!
Giorgio returns from war carrying baggage, his Nonna suggests a partnership with Sophia may ease the tension, to allow the restaurant to survive.
The characters are brave, the emotions are high and there is a real sense of how the community coped with so much hardship and fear of the situation.
A story of strength, capable men and women and sparks flying! An amazingly diverse journey!

Thanks so much to the publisher, NetGalley and author for the opportunity to read this book.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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The Capaldis and di Lucas have long been entwined, but when Sophia di Luca’s father leaves the running of the Casa Maria restaurant to wounded and widowed Grigorio Capaldi, complications arise within their closely knit families. As the events of 1943 unfold within Italy, there is cause for celebration as Mussolini loses power, and the war intrudes further into the village of Amatino than ever before as it becomes occupied by the Germans.

This is a wartime story of family issues, the beginnings of a Resistance movement, and complications that affect the possibility of a future together for Sophia and Grigorio. Along with the unexpected beauty of the author’s descriptive prose in an ultimately devastating prologue, the choice to use active present tense made this an even more compelling read, and it quickly became clear that I knew much less about the timeline of World War II within Italy than I had supposed.

From the clattering of pans in the Casa Maria kitchen to the furtive efforts to thwart the Nazi agenda, The Enemy of Love is an exciting page-turner of a Historical Fiction novel by Annabelle Thorpe.
Highly recommended.

My thanks to Aria for the invitation to read a temporary digital galley via Netgalley. A positive review was not required and all opinions expressed are my own.

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The funeral for her beloved Papa left Sophie di Luca gutted, with most of the small town of Amatino there to farewell a much-loved man. But it was 1943 in Italy, and the Nazis were just beginning to make their presence felt. The Trattoria di Luca was a magnet to food and wine lovers and with Sophie assuming the trattoria was now hers, she was shocked to see Giorgio Capaldi in the kitchen, preparing to cook up a storm. Could the two young people form a partnership to run the business? With the Capaldi wines and the Di Luca food, even with restrictions, it could work. Giorgio's grandmother, Elena, had always worked in the kitchen - her food was divine.

With Mussolini's fall from grace, the Nazis had arrived in droves. The cruel, the brutal, and the quietly kind - they were all there. But danger was everywhere and as the soldiers returned home after Mussolini's fall, they had to hide from the Nazis who were sending those they found to camps in Germany. Hiding Jews and returned soldiers, plus their families, was proving to be a challenge for those in the Resistance, and Sophie, Giorgio and others were soon deeply involved. When one of their number was killed, it made them all far more determined to oust their village of the Nazis...

The Enemy of Love by Annabelle Thorpe was an intriguing look into wartime Italy, their horrors and heartbreak being much the same as others places brutalized by the Nazis. There was a little too much in-fighting between the family members - it went on too long. With a war on, focus needed to be there. And there was one particular event which wasn't addressed before the end of the novel, so I still don't know the answer, and that's frustrating. But apart from that, I found this another good historical read which I'm happy to recommend.

With thanks to NetGalley and Head of Zeus for my digital ARC to read in exchange for an honest review.

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This is a book I would never have picked up myself. Even though I love books set in the World Wars I tend to stick to the ones set in England.
The story is mainly about two families, the di Lucas and the Capaldis who have known each other all their lives but Sophia di Luca and Giorgio Capaldi butt heads when Sophia realises her late father has nominated Giorgio to run their restaurant when she had been expecting to take over. Giorgio has been fighting in the war and has also lost his wife so he is in no mood for arguing. The war impacts the village suddenly and violently and Sophia and Giorgio learn to work together against the hated Germans.
I couldn't put this book down once I started reading, it's a fantastic story. The descriptions of the village, the people, the war and the atrocities committed were brilliant.! Sometimes I had to put the book down, the tension was so palpable I needed a break. Elena, is Giorgio's Nonna and she is a wonderful character. She may be getting old but she knows how to keep them in line. She has suffered a lot because of the war but she has an indomitable spirit.
Food plays a big part in this story. Reading about what they were cooking and the ingredients made me salivate.
The ending suited the book but there was one thing happening throughout and we didn't get closure on it and I felt let down by that. There could easily be a sequel but I think it's going to be a stand alone book. Anyone who enjoys stories set in the war years is in for a treat with this book.

Many thanks to Aria and NetGalley for an early copy of this book.

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During the last years of World War II, life for Sophia di Luca is perilous. After the death of her father, Giorgio Capaldi has returned home to take over Trattoria di Luca. For decades, the trattoria was run by the di Luca and Capaldi patriarchs. Sophia envisaged that she would take over the running of the trattoria but a fascist society, dictates that she remains in the home. Giorgio is in turn, grieving the loss of his wife and unborn baby, killed during an allied air raid. Despite being childhood friends, both struggle with the changes of working together. When Mussolini is deposed and German forces begin occupying Italy, life changes for everyone in
The intensity of war is intricately interwoven into the lives of Sophia and Georgio, together with many of the secondary characters such as Elena. The historical aspect was well delivered and highlighted the struggles faced by those trying to keep some normality in their lives, despite the ever-growing threat of war and invasion. An interesting read with the Italian culture and language interspersed throughout.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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In Annabelle Thorpe’s latest, The Enemy of Love, Sophia is mourning the death of her father while preparing herself to take over his restaurant, Casa Maria, when Giorgio, a long time family friend, announces her father gave him the restaurant to run. Giorgio is in mourning himself of his wife and unborn child who had been killed a couple of years earlier in an Allied bombing in their Italian town of Amatino. Giorgio tells Sophia they can run the restaurant as partners since both learned true Italian cooking at the elbow of her father, so they can carry on his meals together.

When the Nazis arrive in town, things take a turn. Suddenly, deception becomes part of the recipe that Sophia and Giorgio are dishing up. Mixing in the Resistance, Allied decoders, and the true meaning of family, you have what is not only a story of Italy in WWII, you have a budding romance between two people who weren’t looking for it. You have a family of characters looking to save their town from all the Nazis bring with them. I really enjoyed the development of the story and was devastated by some of the choices the author made (though necessary) over the course of the book. I felt it ended abruptly, so I don’t know with the unanswered questions left at the end that there will be a sequel or not. If so, my intention is to read it. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Thank you to NetGalley and House of Zeus Ltd for the advanced copy. Opinions expressed are my own. This book is set for publication on April 13, 2023.

#netgalley #arc #bookstagram #annabellethorpe #theenemyoflove #houseofzeusltd

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I was impressed with the author’s ability to accurately portray the cultural differences in emotional complexity! I KNEW the book was set in Italy and written by someone who understood Italians within the first few pages. It rings authentic. Kudos to the author for immersing herself in the culture while she wrote this fantastic historical fiction account.

Thorpe’s love of these medieval towns and the bucolic landscapes of Umbria shows in her writing, endearing her book and characters to her readers. I’ve been to Orvieto, but had no idea about the tunnels and their history. After reading about how these tunnels sheltered the terrified townsfolk, escaping PoWs, and returning soldiers when Italy changed allegiance until the end of the war, I promised myself to return and take an underground tour of Orvieto.

My inner history geek was as excited as my inner foodie when I discovered this book is peppered with food references and information about Italy during WWII. The tug of war between joy and sadness was echoed throughout the book with the family drama and political reality. I’d become attached to the characters early on and this added to my enjoyment.

Thank you for a superb novel - a time-travel and immersive experience - that I will remember for quite some time. Umbria and the di Luca and Capaldi families have nestled deep in my heart and I can’t wait for a sequel.

I was gifted this copy by Aria & Aries and NetGalley and was under no obligation to provide a review.

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would like to thank netgalley and the publisher for letting me read this book

well i have to admit the title put me off this book and i admit to finding other books to read before this one but when i started it boy was i wrong about so many things.... and i was always hungry whilst reading this book lol

1943 italy and they are at war.... and the small town of amatino is about to have the germans there...though they are fighting on the same side the nazis run roughshod over the towns people.....

its a very dangerous time for all

but at the heart of this town is Trattoria di Luca a place run by di Luca and Capaldi patriarchs and when one of them dies sophia hopes to run it by herself but she is soon disillusioned by this notion as Giorgio capaldi is asked to take over...and at that time in mussolinis italy womens only place was to have a husband and children

but this story is far more than this and deserves to be read....its about the bravery of people at war and how the resistance started...

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1943 & Casa Maria sits at the heart of the small Umbrian town of Amatino, famous for its food, wine and the di Luca and Capaldi families who run it. But now Italy is consumed by war and everything must change. For talented cook Sophia di Luca, the discovery her father has left the trattoria not to her, but to the volatile and charismatic Giorgio Capaldi, is a bitter disappointment. Still grieving the sudden death of his wife, and in no mood to compromise, Giorgio's return to Amatino threatens everything Sophia has struggled to achieve. As Mussolini falls and the Germans march in, the two families find themselves in conflict not only with a terrifying new enemy, but also with each other.
A very well written book which drew me in from the first page. The characters had depth & were well portrayed the descriptions of the village & surrounding area made me feel as though I was there & the dishes served in the trattoria mouth watering. I really liked both Sophia & Giorgio but it was Nonna Elena who I loved. At times I found this book to be very emotional as I was so caught up in a village coming to terms with their German occupiers. It’s one of the reasons I don’t read WWII books very often they make me too emotional. I thought this book was a stand alone but there are somw questions which are not answered so I hope the author writes a sequel
My review is for a special copy I voluntarily read

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My rating:

Plot: 4 out of 5 stars
Writing: 4 out of 5 stars
Character development: 4 out of 5 stars
Overall: 4 out of 5 stars

Recommended for readers of:

Historical Fiction


This is a well written story that gives you an historical insight into life in a small Italian village during WWII. The effects it has on the relationships between family, friends and the other villagers and how each and every one of them has to decide how to deal with and respond to the invasion of the Germans into their village and their lives. Some are willing to do more than others and this creates tensions and dangers for everyone. The main characters are interesting and described in great details, this gave them a realistic feel

The book is very well written, vivid and with great attention to detail. The story flows well, and has the right mixture, of suspense, romance and a bit of mystery to make it captivating.

Review copy provided through Netgalley at no cost to me.

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It’s pretty much like any other WW2 book I’ve read. Sophia and Giorgio are in love but don’t really want to admit it. The war comes to their small town and everything changes.
I kinda feel like a few things were left open and were never really resolved. This is a love story set in the middle of a war.
Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the early copy

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4.5 stars
The Enemy of Love is a beautifully written story of family, grief and war. I loved how we’ve been introduced to the two families and how they’ve united in their fight against the Germans. It’s full of action and at times my heart was in my mouth as we feel intimately involved with Sophia and Georgio and their family.
Food is a huge part of this story and Annabelle Thorpe has described the need for comforting meals throughout the trials they face. The descriptions of the food itself have been mouthwatering and every part of the story- whether in memory of someone or as a reminder of the strength needed.
Wonderful in-depth characters litter the story - adding such colour and warmth to the stark contrast of the Nazis - Elena, the matriarch of the two families is definitely my favourite character - with her feisty, never give up attitude she shows the youngsters how to survive.

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This is an epic story set in war-torn Italy in the 1940s. Detailed historical research creates an immersive story that draws the reader into the characters' lives. At its heart is the trattoria, which Sophia's father ran before his death. Sophia expects to run the trattoria and has to share the task with Giorgio. Giorgio is grieving the loss of his wife and unborn child, which initially colours all his actions. It is a story of family, community and the evil of occupation and war. Family division and drama dominate when the village is occupied, but gradually, love heals breaches, and they fight against the common enemy that threatens their culture and liberty.

The evocative and lyrical writing gives the reader a sensory delight of culture and food, contrasting with war's horrors. Betrayal, courage, friendship and romance are explored through the complex characters, and the gentle pacing allows the reader to absorb it all.

I like the setting, description, historical details, and dynamic characterisation.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

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The Enemy of Love by Annabelle Thorpe is a wartime epic set during World War II at a time when Mussolini is working with the Nazis, and the Italian soldiers are beginning to feel disillusioned with the war. It centres around two families, the Di Luca family and the Capaldi family. Following the death of her beloved father Luigi, Sophia di Luca expects to inherit her father’s restaurant, only to find that he has left it to Giorgio Capaldi, and she is expected to work with him. It is an Italy that had changed under fascist rule, and where strong women had been encouraged to work, they were being treated like second class citizens whose duty was to get married and have children.

The chemistry between Sophia and Giorgio is irresistably hot, but Giorgio has lost his wife, when she was killed by an Allied Forces bomb, and Sophia had an understanding with Giorgio’s brother Rocco who is a soldier away from home, so there are obstacles to them being together. I found it amusing that everyone around them could sense it more than they could themselves, and even the local Padre was frustrated by them!

The setting, in a fictional town called Amatino, in the Umbrian countryside, was idyllic, and described so wonderfully that I could picture the olive trees, the vineyards and even the funicular leading down to the farms below the town. I particularly enjoyed the imagery of the secret interconnecting caves and tunnels beneath the town, which allowed people to move around without discovery. The atmosphere in the town changed dramatically after Mussolini was deposed, and more Nazis entered the town with a stricter regime which included locating the Jews in the town and executing people they believed were against the Nazis.

The descriptions of the food had my mouth watering as I read this book, although food was scarce in the town, with a secret source of food, Sophia, Giorgio and his grandmother Elena were able to continue to run the restaurant and also secretly help feed some of the struggling locals. Elena was such a strong, vibrant character, a true matriarch, and the glue holding the families together.

The Enemy of Love was a story of family, love, grief, sorrow and the constant desire to survive at all costs.

I was excited to read that there is going to be a sequel to this enthralling story, as there were loose ends, and I feel that there is so much more of a story to tell.

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The Enemy of Love by Anna belle Throrpe

Set in the 1940s. Sophia is grieving her father's death and prepared to take over his restaurant, Casa Maria, when Giorgio, a long-time family friend, announces that her father has given him the restaurant to run. Giorgio is in sorrow for his wife and pregnant child, who were killed in an Allied bombardment in their Italian hamlet of Amatino a few years ago. Giorgio informs Sophia that they can run the restaurant as partners because they both learnt authentic Italian cooking at her father's elbow and can carry on his dinners together.

I love both of these characters and thier intreactons it's sweet. Among the horrors of Nazi rule is the love of Giorgio and Sophia, who are both fighting to protect their family and the community. The gorgeous scenes of Georgia and Sophia contrast with the Nazis' brutality and cruel treatment of life. It's a difficult read at times, but it's well worth your time.

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An epic family saga set in wartime Italy, full of love, loss, food and how war can change the dynamics of a family.
Based on two families - Di Luca & Capaldi and how they unite and turn aside their differences to fight against the Germans.
An immersive read, with an added bonus of gorgeous descriptive writing on food
You could taste the Italian food and feel as though you were there in Italy
Perfect historical fiction at it’s best

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An emotionally raw, poignant and sweeping tale of love.

Love, love, loved it!!

Loved the enlightening story, the emotion laced within the pages, and the beautiful writing, I've not read this author before but I certainly will be reading more from her as this book is just incredible!!

I was lucky enough to have been sent a complimentary hardback copy, so I will share my full review and showcase the book on my Insta in the coming weeks!

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A beautiful story set in WW2 Italy, filled with love, intrigue, the horrors of war and the beautiful Italian backdrop. This is a compelling story and it feels as if it was well researched. An evocative story and can recommend to fans of Ww2.

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This book is set in a little town in Umbria in Italy which is not too far from Rome. Anyway it’s a small town with a square with a nice restaurant owned by two families, farms in the valley’s and vineyards surrounding the village. Sounding like a nice Italian farming town.

From the two families running the restaurant one of the owners has passed away and he has left his part to the son of the other owner. His daughter Sophia, is not at all pleased with this decision. But she has to deal with it. But working alongside Giorgio seems to be more fun than she had envisioned and together, and with nonna Elena, Giorgio’s grandmother, they run the restaurant. As the story is set during World War Two something is yet to happen.

The people of the village are in the middle of all the struggles and have to deal with German soldiers inhabiting their house. At that time Mussolini rules Italy and as one might know during 1943 the fascist regime fell and Mussolini was defeated. Most of the Italians wanted to end the alliance with Germany and have the Alliance help them free Italy I order to end the war.

In this light it is hard to know who you can trust and the one neighbour who seems friendly might actually become your enemy. Against this backdrop we follow Sophia, her mother and her two siblings and Giorgio, his father and grandmother and his siblings. The story might be small but as I actually not knew that much about Italy during the war it learned me a lot, also because I searched the internet for more information about Italy during WW2, and it gave me a good picture of how life must have been for the ordinary Italian citizen.

Because the war is still going on at the end of the book, I get the idea that it might have a sequel.

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The Umbrain town of Amatino in Italy, becomes a strategically important location for the Germans during the Second World War, it has an airfield, train line and it’s close to Rome. For years the di Luca and Capaldi families have been friends, they serve traditional local food at their restaurant Casa Maria and wine from the Capaldi Vineyard.

Sophia di Luca always though her father would leave the trattoria to her, but in Italy, women are expected to marry, have children and not run a business. He's arranged for Giorgio Capaldi to return from Rome, he left Amatino when his wife and unborn child were killed during an Allied bombing raid.

Sophia and Giorgio’s grandmother Elena have been keeping the restaurant doors open, it’s not easy due to food shortages and lack of supplies. Giorgio and Sophia are both suborn and strong willed and it doesn’t take long for the temperature to rise in the kitchen!

When Mussolini’s dictatorship falls, Gruppenführer Messell a senior group leader is sent to Amatino, he and his SS troops are looking for returned Italian soldiers, or men who have ignored their call up papers, Jewish people and members of the resistance. Everyone is worried, Sophia about her widowed mother, sister and her teenage brother Matti. Giorgio is concerned about his brother Russo, his grandmother Elena, her friend Isaac and the people hiding in the churches crypt. The resistance see it as their duty to steal, spy, and engage in acts of sabotage against the Germans and they have no idea this will lead to terrible repercussions for the people of Amatino.

I received a digital copy of The Enemy of Love by Annabelle Thorpe from NetGalley and Aria & Aries in exchange for an honest review. The author takes you back to wartime Italy and what it was like living in a small village, you discover the importance of the thousand year old tunnels built underneath the town and how the resistance hid in the nearby mountains. My favourite characters were Sophia, Giorgio, Elena, Matti, Father Massimo and Isaac, and it’s a story about family, traditions, food, war, and loss, tragedy, finding the strength to carry on and love. Four stars from me. I’m keen to read Ms. Thorpe’s next book and I hope it's about Giorgio and Sophia's relationship?

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The Enemy of Love by Annabelle Thorpe was a very moving novel. It was set in Amatino, a small Umbrian town in Italy. In 1943, Mussolini was struggling to maintain his rule over the Italian people. He was finally forced out of power and the Italian people were overjoyed. At the same time, they feared who would take his place. They had every right to be fearful. No sooner had Mussolini been ousted from his rule over the Italian people than the Nazis marched into Italy and reinstated Mussolini’s position. Life in Amatino was about to change drastically.

Two families were bound together by a restaurant they had owned and operated for generations. The patriarch of the di Luca family had just recently died. His daughter, Sophia was grieving terribly for her beloved father. Sophia had been helping her father run the restaurant by doing the cooking, serving and anything else that needed to be done. She had assumed that her father had passed the responsibilities of running their restaurant to her. Nothing prepared Sophia for the shock when she learned that her father had left the trattoria to Giorgio Capaldi. Sophia and Giorgio had grown up together. The trattoria was owned by both the di Luca and Capaldi families. Giorgio had lost his young wife and unborn child in an allied bombing incident. He was still grieving for his wife but came back from Rome to Amatino to honor the dying wishes of Sophia’s father. Elena, Giorgio’s grandmother suggested that Sophia and Giorgio work together. They agree to work as equal partners. That should have been their worst problem but it wasn’t. Unfortunately, the Nazi presence soon became unbearable. The Nazis began to destroy shops owned by Jews. The people of Amatino immediately began to hide their Jewish neighbors from the Nazis. Homes were taken over by German soldiers. Food supplies started to become scarce. Young and disillusioned Italian soldiers returning from the war were forced into hiding so the Germans would not arrest them or kill them. The people of Amatino were not happy with the strong Nazi presence in their town. They banded together to form a resistance movement and fight back. Would they be able to take back their town from the Nazis and if so at what cost?

Sophia and Giorgio, despite their squabbles, differences and denial, were not able to fight the attraction they were feeling for one another. It took them a long while to finally realize that they had feelings for one another. Sophia was so scared to let herself love anyone because anyone she had ever loved had died. She was so afraid of losing someone else that she admitted to being in love with. It took the wisdom of others to open Sophia’s and Giorgio’s eyes to the truth that was right in front of them. Would they recognize their true feelings in time to act upon them?

The ending was left with a lot of questions. Based on that, I assumed that Annabelle Thorpe was planning to write a sequel to The Enemy of Love. I hope that I am right. It would be disappointing not to have the unanswered questions that still lingered tied up. The Enemy of Love was about family, courage, strategic planning, caring, grief and the atrocities the Nazis committed during World War II. It was well written and researched. I enjoyed reading The Enemy of Love by Annabelle Thorpe and recommend it if you like historical fiction that takes place during World War II.

Thank you to Aria & Aries Publishing for allowing me to read The Enemy of Love by Annabelle Thorpe through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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I really loved this story by Annabelle Thorpe, it kept me really engaged and I loved the characters and the setting. I would absolutely recommend and will read this author again.

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Zum Inhalt auf deutsch: wir sind in der kleinen Stadt Amatino in Umbrien, zu Zeiten des 2. Weltkriegs. Das Herz der Stadt schlägt im Ristorante Casa Maria, das von den Familien di Luca und Capaldi geführt wird. Die Hälfte der männlichen Bevölkerung ist im Krieg, das Essen rationiert, aber Sophia di Luca hat die Casa Maria mit allem Herzblut und kulinarischem Enthusiasmus gemeinsam mit ihrem Vater und der älteren Elena Capaldi geführt. Nun ist ihr Vater verstorben, und Giorgio Capaldi, Elenas ältester Enkel, kommt zurück nach Amatino und soll gemeinsam mit Sophia das Restaurant leiten……keine gute Idee, findet Sophia, die das gerne eigenständig gemacht hätte. Auch Giorgio ist alles andere als begeistert, eine widerspenstige und eigensinnige Co-Geschäftsführerin zu haben. Doch als die deutsche Besatzung über die Stadt einfällt, wird sich der Alltag noch einmal komplett für alle ändern, und Giorgio und Sophia springen über ihren Schatten….und sollen sich ineinander verlieben.
Das ist so im groben der große Erzählstrang. Im Prinzip haben wir hier eine Liebesgeschichte, die sich vor dem Hintergrund eines kriegsbesetzten kleinen italienischen Ortes abspielt. 1943 war der Krieg im vollen Gange, Mussolini wurde in diesem Jahr zum Teufel gejagt, um dann aber wieder aufzutauchen, und die italienische Bevölkerung hatte mit dem Bombardement der Alliierten einerseits und der deutschen Besatzung andererseits zu leiden. Die Männer waren entweder offiziell im Krieg oder als Partisanen versteckt im Untergrund. Der Roman lebt von der – finde ich – authentischen Darstellung dieser Zeiten, und um den Überlebenskampf der Bevölkerung. Emotionale Zeiten, sehr mitreißend belletristisch verpackt. Ms Thorpe schreibt flüssig, bildhaft, gefühlsbetont und weiß Spannungsbögen zu setzen. Das hat mir sehr gut gefallen, das hat sich wirklich gut weg gelesen und ich konnte mit allen Protagonisten mitfiebern.
Was mir den Lesefluss aber immer wieder unterbrochen hat, waren die italienischen und deutschen Einwürfe. Um das Ganze authentisch zu machen (das war wohl die Idee dahinter), werden den Protagonisten des Öfteren italienische oder deutsche Sätze oder Worte in den Mund gelegt und in kursiv eingefügt. Das kann ganz gut ankommen – wenn, ja wenn die Sprache denn auch stimmen würde. Als deutsche Muttersprachlerin und jemand, die italienisch kann, muss ich leider sagen, zu 90 Prozent haben hier aber weder Grammatik noch Satzbau gestimmt. Wenn ich schon den deutschen Wehrmachtsoberst und die deutschen Soldaten authentisch in deutsch sprechen lassen will, dann sollten die Sätze schon stimmen, und sorry, das war maximal ne Google-Translator-Übersetzung, das hat alles nicht gepasst. Im italienischem ähnlich, und das ist dann halt unfreiwillig komisch. Da hätten vielleicht mal Muttersprachler gegenlesen sollen.
Mir war es teilweise auch zu viel der Kulinarik. Sophia und Giorgio (ach eigentlich alle italienischen Protagonisten 😉) sind entweder leidenschaftliche Köche oder Esser, und ich schätze mal, die Autorin auch 😉, und so haben wir hier sehr viele Gespräche darüber, was es jetzt gleich zu kochen und zu essen gibt. Ich esse auch gerne, vor allem italienisches Essen, aber hier hat sich echt viel ums essen gedreht. Ich habe das manchmal schon überflogen.
Abgesehen von diesen wenigen Abstrichen kann ich dieses Buch aber sehr gerne weiterempfehlen. Wir hatten Liebe und Krieg, Freundschaft, Familie und Verrat, das war schon großes Kino!
Übrigens: Krieg ist der Feind der Liebe – falls sich jemand fragt, wie es zum Titel kommt – da wird durchaus am Ende drüber philosophiert. Denn die Liebe ist das Wichtigste, was es im Leben gibt 😊!

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Thanks to for the opportunity to read and review this book

An enjoyable account of war torn Italy, fueding families, the resistance, family tradition, loves and losses, and survival.

#TheEnemyOfLove #NetGalley

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