The Girl from Venice (by Martin Cruz Smith)

The Girl from Venice (by Martin Cruz Smith)

The Girl from Venice
Martin Cruz Smith
Published October 2016 

This would be a great holiday read if you were vacationing in Northern Italy. The story is primarily located the lagoon in Venice and Lake Garda to the west. The plot deals with the period towards the end of the war in 1945. The Germans are retreating, Mussolini is hanging on for dear life, the communists and partisans are jostling for position and the locals are swapping sides at a drop of the coin.

This backstory is cleverly weaved into the novel. Jews are being rounded up by the Germans after a tip-off from a local. A beautiful girl called Giulia, from an aristocratic family, manages to escape by diving into the lagoon. Fortunately, she is picked up by a charismatic fisherman Cenzo.

Yes, it is a love story but in frightening times. Cenzo “lost” his first wife to the charms of brother Giorgio. Will Giorgio be forgiven by his brother? The action moves from Venice to Lake Garda when Giulia is smuggled out of Venice.  Cenzo is forced to go to Lake Garda when he hears that Giulia is missing. As the war is ending, the Germans are looking to withdraw and Mussolini is looking to escape with his gold. Who can trust who?

This is an excellent read, and far removed from Martin Cruz Smith’s epic Russian based novels. 

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