Last Letter Home by Rachel Hore
9781471156946 Simon and Schuster
From the bestselling author of A Week in Paris, and the Richard & Judy Bookclub pick A Place of Secrets, comes a gripping and moving story spanning 70 years, set in Italy and in Norfolk. On holiday with friends, young historian Briony Wood becomes fascinated with a wartime story of a ruined villa in the hills behind Naples. There is a family connection: her grandfather had been a British soldier during the Italian campaign of 1943 in that very area.
Handed a bundle of letters that were found after the war, Briony sets off to trace the fate of their sender, Sarah Bailey. In 1939, Sarah returns with her mother and sister from India, in mourning, to take up residence in the Norfolk village of Westbury. There she forms a firm friendship with Paul Hartmann, a young German who has found sanctuary in the local manor house, Westbury Hall.
With the outbreak of war, conflicts of loyalty in Westbury deepen. When, 70 years later, Briony begins to uncover Sarah and Paul's story, she encounters resentments and secrets still tightly guarded. What happened long ago in the villa in the shadow of Vesuvius, she suspects, still has the power to give terrible pain ...Praise for Rachel Hore's novels: `A tour de force.
Rachel's Paris is rich, romantic, exotic and mysterious' JUDY FINNIGAN `An elegiac tale of wartime love and secrets' Telegraph `A richly emotional story, suspenseful and romantic, but unflinching in its portrayal of the dreadful reality and legacy of war' Book of the Week, Sunday Mirror 'Pitched perfectly for a holiday read' Guardian 'Engrossing, pleasantly surprising and throughly readable' SANTA MONTEFIORE