by Ronald H. Balson
Publication date: October 9, 2018
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
In the newest novel from internationally-bestselling author Ronald. H. Balson, Liam and Catherine come to the aid of an old friend and are drawn into a property dispute in Tuscany that unearths long-buried secrets.
An old friend calls Catherine Lockhart and Liam Taggart to his famous Italian restaurant to enlist their help. His aunt is being evicted from her home in the Tuscan hills by a powerful corporation claiming they own the deeds, even though she can produce her own set of deeds to her land. Catherine and Liam’s only clue is a bound handwritten manuscript, entirely in German, and hidden in its pages is a story long-forgotten…
Ada Baumgarten was born in Berlin in 1918, at the end of the war. The daughter of an accomplished first-chair violinist in the prestigious Berlin Philharmonic, and herself a violin prodigy, Ada’s life was full of the rich culture of Berlin’s interwar society. She formed a deep attachment to her childhood friend Kurt, but they were torn apart by the growing unrest as her Jewish family came under suspicion. As the tides of history turned, it was her extraordinary talent that would carry her through an unraveling society turned to war, and make her a target even as it saved her, allowing her to move to Bologna—though Italy was not the haven her family had hoped, and further heartache awaited.
What became of Ada? How is she connected to the conflicting land deeds of a small Italian villa? As they dig through the layers of lies, corruption, and human evil, Catherine and Liam uncover an unfinished story of heart, redemption, and hope—the ending of which is yet to be written.
Liam and Catherine have been asked to travel to Italy to help a good friend’s aunt. She is about to lose her home through mysterious circumstances. Liam and Catherine have to unravel years of strange paperwork and unknown adversaries dating back to WWII.
I read a lot of WWII books. It is one of my favorite time periods. This one is unique and I learned a good bit. I knew about Jews deeding their property to neighbors and friends but, I really had no idea about all the difficulties surrounding returning the property to the rightful owner. I don’t think I have ever read a book which dealt with this dilemma in such historical detail.
This is really a stand-alone book. I did not realize it was part of a series until I began writing this review. I definitely need to see what Liam and Catherine have been up to before!
The mystery surrounding Ada is captivating. The way the author flashes back really keeps the reader glued to this tale. This is such a history rich and enlightening novel. Don’t miss this one!