This is a novel set over decades, between Rome and Wales, how one woman’s selfless act impacted her family. Chiara Ravello and her sister are fleeing their occupied city when her eyes lock onto a stranger’s. The woman, her husband and her children are being taken. Claiming the woman’s son as her own nephew, Chiara takes his hand and never looks back. From that small act, grows a tale of heartbreak, sacrifice and identity.
We have chapters set in Wales and Rome, each time Baily puts us on those cobbled streets and tiny cafés. We have chapters set in the countryside that fill the reader with anxiety and dread, and chapters set in the modern day where secrets cling to Chiara’s chest. You fall in love with the characters and their struggles. That small boy grew up not knowing where he belonged, he acted out. He was in pain and in trouble. Though we never hear from him in the novel, we share his heartbreak because we feel it through Chiara. A true work of beauty.