This is one of the books that 'fell' into my basket while I was in Sainsbury's on Friday after work. I started reading it on Saturday and finished it on Sunday.
"A mysterious stranger known as 'The Wolf' leaves an infant with the sisters of Santo Spirito. A tiny silver key hidden in her wrappings is the one clue to the child's identity. When Rosa turns fifteen, she must leave the nuns who have raised her and become governess to the daughter of an aristocrat and his strange, frightening wife. Their house is elegant but cursed, and Rosa - blessed with gifts beyond her considerable musical talents -- is torn between her desire to know the truth and her fear of its repercussions. Meanwhile, the hand of Fascism curls around beautiful Italy, threatening her citizens. In the face of unimaginable hardship, will Rosa's intelligence, intuition and her extraordinary capacity for love be enough to ensure her survival? A compelling and beautiful tale about sacrifice and reward, of beauty and horror, and of redemption."
The book starts in 1914 in Florence, Italy but it doesn't really start until 1930 when we are properly introduced to the main character Rosa the story follows the trials and tribulations of her life in Italy under the rule of Mussolini and during the Second World War. There is also a little mystery about her heritage, which she slowly discovers more about throughout the course of the book.
I really enjoyed reading this, one of the reasons I picked it up was because it was based in Italy and set in the past, both things I really enjoy. The style of this novel is something I wouldn't normally have picked up because I tend to read novels which are mainly set in modern day but take a dip into the past as someone learns about their heritage. I enjoyed that the story wasn't obvious in the way it was leading when Rosa finds out about her heritage I had guessed part of it but there was a twist I hadn't guessed at all and I liked that it wasn't easy to guess and an obvious conclusion. I really enjoyed the connection that many things had in Rosa's life without her or the reader knowing until pieces were given to us later on in the story even though Rosa had yet to piece them together we could do.
This is the first book i've read by Belinda Alexandra but I will definitely be picking up her others, if you've enjoyed reading Victoria Hislop or Rosie Thomas novels then I think you will enjoy this too.