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Once Night Falls A Harrowing Historical Novel Of The Extraordinary Acts Of Ordinary People In Nazi Occupied Italy Italy, Luca Benedetto Has Joined The Partisans In Their Fight Against The German Troops Ravaging The Shores Of His Town On Lake Como While Risking His Life To Free His Country, Luca Is Also Struggling To Protect Sarah, His Jewish Lover Who S Hiding In A Mountain Cabin As The Violent Nazi Occupation Intensifies, Luca And Sarah Fear For Than Their Own LivesIn The Heart Of Their Village, Their Mothers Have Also Found Themselves Vulnerable To The Encroaching Nazis But Luca S Mother, Undeterred, Is Devising Her Own Revenge On The Occupiers With Mussolini Deposed And Allied Armies Fighting Their Way Up The Peninsula, The Fate Of Italy Hangs In The Balance, And The People Of Lake Como Must Decide How Much They Re Prepared To Sacrifice For Family, Friends, And The Country They LoveThe Most Trying Of Times Will Create The Most Unexpected Heroes And Incredible Acts Of Courage In This Stirring Narrative As Seen Through The Eyes Of Those Devastated By War Torn Italy Falls short at the endI was enjoying the book and it s direction, then in a single chapter it abruptly ended and tacked on an epilogue The characters do not get a fair ending. Why did pain exist Why did evil exist Why had God allowed men like Hitler and Mussolini to come to powerBeginning with the reprisal killings at Piazzale Loreto, the story goes through Italy s political and militaristic transitions during Mussolini s dethronement by the king starting with Mussolini s banishment hiding at La Maddalena It has graphic moments and incorporates a fair amount of history It recounts the Nazi s invasion of Italy though brief and describes the implementationWhy did pain exist Why did evil exist Why had God allowed men like Hitler and Mussolini to come to powerBeginning with the reprisal killings at Piazzale Loreto, the story goes through Italy s political and militaristic transitions during Mussolini s dethronement by the king starting with Mussolini s banishment hiding at La Maddalena It has graphic moments and incorporates a fair amount of history It recounts the Nazi s invasion of Italy though brief and describes the implementation of antisemitic laws and practices in Italy during WW2 The story runs through each character s conflict mostly at night as the title implies and continues as does Mussolini staying hidden Each character is connected in some way and wants to learn Mussolini s whereabouts to either help kill him, help reinstate him, or help imprison himIn this fictional tale, Mussolini s death is not featured since the story ends beforehand Because of this, I cannot say that I completely liked the fictional ending The epilogue does account for his death, though the epilogue is a statement of factsNow the king has removed il Duce from power and hidden him away, and everybody is desperately trying to find him the Allies to take him prisoner, Hitler to rescue him, our comrades to kill himThere are a lot of characters in motion, and they skip around quite a bit The chapters alternate without pattern, and a new character is introduced all the way until chapter 12 This took some adjusting as a reader.For example chapter 1 Sarah, chapter 2 Mussolini, chapter 3 Frederico, chapter 4 Luca, chapter 5 Maria, chapter 6 Don Claudio, chapter 7 back to Mussolini, chapter 8 Silvio Merino, chapter 9 back to Luca, chapter 10, back to Sarah, and chapter 12 Otto.There are not any indicators under or above the chapters such as the location, date, or character POV, so you have to figure it out as you go.The characters POV include members of the Italian resistance, Benito Mussolini, priests, Nazi s, Jews in hiding, Italians hiding Jews, counterfeit artists.My favorite chapters were told from Mussolini s POV and the Don Claudio the priest POV.It is a good entertaining story The writing is simple and easy to understand There are traitors and secrets I still really liked it even though it was hard to get emotionally attached to the characters though since there were so many I also wish the ending would have been different It felt abrupt and left me without closure There is mild vulgar language and scenes that imply sexual acts 3.5 stars rounded up to 4 because it was entertaining Once Night Falls by award winning author, Roland Merullo is a World War II drama set in Italy in 1943 Luca Benedetto, who has a Jewish lover, Sarah, has joined the partisans in their fight against German troops in the region around Lake Como, close to the Swiss border He is not alone in his struggle against the occupying forces Luca s mother is called upon by a group of German soldiers to cook for them and she forms a daring plot which, if it fails, will have devastating consequences The l Once Night Falls by award winning author, Roland Merullo is a World War II drama set in Italy in 1943 Luca Benedetto, who has a Jewish lover, Sarah, has joined the partisans in their fight against German troops in the region around Lake Como, close to the Swiss border He is not alone in his struggle against the occupying forces Luca s mother is called upon by a group of German soldiers to cook for them and she forms a daring plot which, if it fails, will have devastating consequences The local priest, who is battling his own demons, finds a way to help the partisans, fully aware of the serious risk he is undertaking Meanwhile, Mussolini has been deposed and Allied armies are fighting their way up from Sicily The country is at a crossroads and the locals of Luca s village must decide how much they are prepared to sacrifice for the sake of their future.Despite its setting, Once Night Falls ishistorical fiction than it is thriller The first half of the story is a little confusing as the author weaves, quite quickly, between characters and scenes so that it takes a long time to get to know each character properly and where the story is heading Accordingly, I found the novel a little slow paced, at least in its earlier stages That said, Merullo s award winning ability as a writer shines through and once you do get to know the characters and what exactly is going on, it is a fascinating and interesting story Not too many war novels deal with ordinary people in an ordinary village in war torn Italy and the colourful characters are deftly, creatively and seamlessly woven into the factual background a complex fast paced story told brilliantly at first, the number of characters and the jumping between them was hard to follow, but the action was always interesting and gradually the pieces came together several characters wrestle with the desire to resist the Nazis and Mussolini when nothing is clear and nobody can be fully trusted these struggles are well portrayed and the reader gets to understand the characters emotions as well as their actions

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