Every Time We Say Goodbye

A Novel

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Pub Date 14 May 2024 | Archive Date 28 May 2024


The bestselling author of The Jane Austen Society and Bloomsbury Girls returns with a brilliant novel of love and art, of grief and memory, of confronting the past and facing the future.

In 1955, Vivien Lowry is facing the greatest challenge of her life. Her latest play, the only female-authored play on the London stage that season, has opened in the West End to rapturous applause from the audience. The reviewers, however, are not as impressed as the playgoers and their savage notices not only shut down the play but ruin Lowry's last chance for a dramatic career. With her future in London not looking bright, at the suggestion of her friend, Peggy Guggenheim, Vivien takes a job in as a script doctor on a major film shooting in Rome’s Cinecitta Studios. There she finds a vibrant movie making scene filled with rising stars, acclaimed directors, and famous actors in a country that is torn between its past and its potentially bright future, between the liberation of the post-war cinema and the restrictions of the Catholic Church that permeates the very soul of Italy.

As Vivien tries to forge a new future for herself, she also must face the long-buried truth of the recent World War and the mystery of what really happened to her deceased fiancé. Every Time We Say Goodbye is a brilliant exploration of trauma and tragedy, hope and renewal, filled with dazzling characters both real and imaginary, from the incomparable author who charmed the world with her novels The Jane Austen Society and Bloomsbury Girls.

The bestselling author of The Jane Austen Society and Bloomsbury Girls returns with a brilliant novel of love and art, of grief and memory, of confronting the past and facing the future.

In 1955...

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Featured Reviews

"Every Time We Say Goodbye" by Natalie Jenner is a captivating novel set against the backdrop of 1950s London and Rome. The story follows Vivien Lowry, a playwright facing a career crisis after her latest play, the only female-authored play on the London stage that season, is met with critical disapproval. Despite the setback, Vivien seizes the opportunity to work as a script doctor on a film in Rome's Cinecitta Studios, a decision that takes her on a journey of self-discovery, love, and confronting the ghosts of her past.

The narrative unfolds against the rich tapestry of the post-war cinema scene in Italy, marked by a clash between the liberation of filmmaking and the constraints imposed by the Catholic Church. As Vivien navigates the vibrant world of rising stars, acclaimed directors, and famous actors, she grapples with the complexities of her own life, including the trauma of World War II and the mystery surrounding her deceased fiancé.

Natalie Jenner masterfully weaves a tale of hope, renewal, and the enduring power of art. The novel explores themes of love, grief, and the quest for redemption, drawing readers into a world where characters, both real and imaginary, come to life with depth and authenticity. Jenner's storytelling prowess, previously showcased in "The Jane Austen Society" and "Bloomsbury Girls," shines through as she delves into the complexities of Vivien's journey.

"Every Time We Say Goodbye" promises a poignant exploration of trauma and tragedy, offering readers a glimpse into a bygone era and the indomitable spirit of a woman determined to shape her destiny. With its evocative setting, well-drawn characters, and compelling narrative, this novel is sure to resonate with fans of historical fiction, women's fiction, and those who appreciate stories of resilience and self-discovery.

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Every Time We Say Goodbye by Natalie Jenner is historical fiction at its best!!
The author weaves a story with incredible characters in beautiful places (hello Italy) and does not disappoint.
Natalie Jenner's Vivien (from The Bloomsbury Girls) is a struggling 1950s playwright and is given a chance to work on a movie being filmed in Rome! The movie is about an Italian woman resistance fighter during the Nazi occupation. Wow!! I loved this book.
Thank you to the publisher, St. Martin's Press, and Netgalley for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

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Every Time We Say Goodbye by Natalie Jenner is a cinematic masterpiece that immerses readers in the post-war allure of 1950s Rome. Vividly weaving together the lives of a diverse cast, Jenner's elegant prose explores the complexities of love, loss, and the enduring impact of war. Against the backdrop of Cinecittà studios, struggling playwright Vivien Lowry becomes entangled in the creation of a controversial film about the female Italian resistance fighter La Scolaretta. The narrative skillfully navigates relationships, societal expectations, and the characters' wartime pasts, creating a rich tapestry of human resilience. Jenner's portrayal of post-War Italy is both glamorous and conflicted, reflecting a nation in transition. With thematic undertones of the Catholic Church's influence on the movie industry and poignant reflections on political manipulation, the novel resonates with contemporary relevance. Seamlessly integrating characters from Jenner's previous works, Every Time We Say Goodbye stands as a captivating tale that celebrates the power of cinema to tell transformative stories and encourages readers to embrace the sweet life in the face of tragedy.

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I have been staring at my laptop screen for the longest time because I am struggling with how to start this review and encapsulate my whole reading experience perfectly but I’m out of the words because oh my god this book was exquisite in all aspects and definite highlight of this month for me.

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From London to Roma!

It's 1955 and Vivien Lowry, of Bloomsbury Girls, is still smarting from disappointing reviews of her latest play. When offered the opportunity to work as a scriptwriter at the Cinecittà studios in Rome, she accepts. Natalie Jenner, author of The Jane Austen Society and Bloomsbury Girls, beautifully brings to life post-WWII Rome and the emergence of Italian cinema.

Although it’s ten years after WWII ended, the characters are still haunted by their war experiences: losing loved ones, surviving refugee camps, and witnessing wartime atrocities. This is a multi-faceted book, one of power, surrender, survival, healing, and acceptance.

If you've read Natalie's earlier books you'll recognize many names and characters; however, this book can stand alone. I knew very little about post-war Rome and the Italian cinema, but now I’m inspired to learn more about the real people whose stories inspired this work.

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Fans of Natalie Jenner's first two books take note: this book is definitely not as lighthearted as the first two. That is not to say that it is any less fantastic or worthy of reading, just that it goes much deeper into the darker side of WWII and its aftermath and a reader should be prepared for that.

In my early days as a NetGalley member, I requested an ARC of Natalie Jenner's first book, The Jane Austen Society. As a huge fan of all things Jane Austen I was intrigued. I was not disappointed (as you can see by my review of that title). I've been a Natalie Jenner fan ever since. Natalie writes with a richness and depth and authority that is rare. You cannot help but be swept up into the world she creates, and you can believe that the characters and the story she is telling could/did actually happen.

Every Time We Say Goodbye is set predominantly in Rome in 1955. Vivian, a character from The Bloomsbury Girls, sets off to Italy to search for answers about her missing Fiance, and to escape panned reviews from her latest play. Intertwined with Vivian's tale is that of a mysterious-at-first female Italian resistance-fighter/assasin called la scolaretta. The novel is, in true Natalie Jenner fashion, exquisitely written with precise detail. The reader is privy to the interconnectedness of the two stories while at the same time kept in the dark until the author, and the story, wants to reveal the details. At times painful and heartbreaking and at others healing and heartwarming, Every Time We Say Goodbye is a fresh testament to the post war world of Rome and the lasting pain of WWII. In and amongst the main characters is a side examination of postwar filmmaking and religious power. Another strong showing by Ms. Jenner!

My thanks to St. Martin's Press for the opportunity to read the book in exchange for my honest review.

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As is indicated by the title, EVERY TIME WE SAY GOODBYE, was a poignant but ultimately hopeful read. It felt familiar, since we first got to know Vivien in BLOOMSBURY GIRLS, but also it is brand new, taking place mostly in vivid Italy. And we enjoy our armchair travels even as we long for Vivien to finally learn what happened to her long-lost fiance and move on, make a real life for herself. Lucky for us, Rome is also full of well-known stars making a living in Rome's cinematic scene. So it's a fun read, even as we worry more and more for Vivien, who must finally learn to herself trust again. At the same time, we know that the history and changes wrought by war can't be ignored, and not everyone is to be trusted. I was enthralled with this new offering by Jenner, from the first to last page.

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Natalie Jenner's "Every Time We Say Goodbye," was a unique piece of historical fiction dating back to post WWII and taking place in Italy. Though I have yet to read any of Jenner's other titles, I understand some of the characters are featured in her other books! Can't wait to read those. 
In this one, Vivan Lowry is in a battle with the church over her latest play. She relocated to Italy from Great Britain after less than glowing reviews of her last screenplay. She's also interested in finding out more about her assumed dead fiance after discovering he wasn't killed during the war, but taken as a prisoner of war. Vivian experiences a bit of culture shock from her home of Britain, to the boldness of the men and the overreach of the church in Italy. Determined to make her play a success she forges her own path in Italy, connecting with her friends, a Sister in the church, and her own new romantic relationship. It's interesting to see how she deals with and changes from what has happened in her past, as well as how society changes after a war. 
Most books talk about occupied and post-war France, but there aren't many that dive into Italy during the same time. This one throws some light on that period, covering the resistance, collaborations, and the guilt survivors felt after the war. If you're into historical fiction with solid research, lovely writing, and finely crafted characters, check this book out when it is released in May 2024. Until then check out Natalie Jenner's other works!

Thank you to @netgalley @stmartinspress and @authornataliejenner for the early read! It was an honor.

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I have very much enjoyed Natalie Jenner's books and this was a great addition. Her approach to the WW2 era/post war feels very fresh and interesting to me.
Thanks to NetGalley and St Martin's Press for the ARC to read and review.
This book has a lot going on! It is primarily the story of Vivien, a playwright who moves to Italy to try to resurrect her career. She suffered terrible losses during the war and is working to resolve herself to the aftermath. She becomes involved with several romantic figures but this is not a romance book. It is a study of how people react to the horrors of war.
There are many characters in this book, in fact some seem to be random and name dropping. The main characters are quite well done and fully fleshed out.
There is so much poignancy to this story.
I have seen little historical fiction from the era set in Italy and I loved that! So interesting to see how the Vatican/ Catholic Church responded to the war the changes brought by its aftermath.
Highly recommended for those who enjoyed The Jane Austen Society and The Bloomsbury Girls. Very high quality historical fiction.
4.5 stars

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Every Time We Say Goodbye, by Natalie Jenner, will be an important novel of 2024!

I just finished the #netgalley which I was saving for Christmas. This is a story about hard things - her characters in the 1950s and their interrogation of the messy period of the second world war when Italy surrendered to the Allies but was promptly invaded by Hitler, who conducted a slaughter and rape campaign with the resulting chaos of escaping POWs, shifting allegiances and brave resistors. The counterpoint is the later-timeline of the thriving Italian cinema industry where gritty Vivien goes to be a script doctor and search for information about her fiancé David who was killed in the war with very little information at the time, but later, described as having escaped a detention camp in Italy. The grimness of the backstory is balanced by the fascinating lives of movie writers, producers and actors, beautiful vignettes in Rome and Italian villages, despite the heavy hand of the Vatican who can shut down movie productions on “moral” grounds, like bedroom scenes, or movies asking questions about the neutral/complicit response of the Catholic church to the Holocaust. Fantastic writing and deeply real complicated characters kept me reading toward the hope and redemption, even in the face of heartbreak.

Two things: I was at first disappointed that Jenner wasn't offering another literary-Anglophile story with beautiful narration. Her first two novels, The Jane Austen Society and Bloomsbury Girls, delighted me so much. This new novel has much higher stakes and sterner subject matter. And she pulled it off brilliantly. Also, if like me, you avoid woman-facing-away war novels for the masses, be assured this is a much higher literary achievement and also completely readable. You'll care about the characters and consider your time well spent.

Coming in May 2024. Thank you to #nataliejenner, #stmartinspress and NetGalley for the advance copy in return for an unbiased review.

#worldwar2fiction #thejaneaustensociety #lml_reads #cinecittà

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