The Sweet Hills of Florence, by Jan Wallace Dickinson #BookReview

ANZ LitLovers LitBlog

Florence is one of the great tourist destinations of the world – a world heritage site of priceless Renaissance art and architecture.  (You only need to look at its Wikipedia page if you need any convincing).  My memories of the city are full of galleries and cathedrals  – and although I thought of Mussolini when we saw his famous balcony at the Palazzo Venezia in Rome, he didn’t cross my mind for a moment in sunny Florence.  So the dark history of civil war in Florence during the German Occupation in Jan Wallace Dickinson’s debut novel The Sweet Hills of Tuscany was a revelation to me.

The novel introduces Mussolini in 1941 hosting Hitler’s state visit to Florence, bragging afterwards of his godlike status to his lover Clara.  At the same time, the aristocratic Albizzi family reacts with dismay. Annabelle, who’s only a dreamy teenager who would rather read books in her father’s library, doesn’t really understand much of what’s going on…

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