Book Review

Bridge of Sighs and Dreams

Bridge of Sighs and Dreams

Pamela Allegretto, Sep 2015

458 pages

WWII Historical Fiction

Purchased for Kindle app


The cover is perfect. Not only is it the title of the book, but it is the talisman they all hold throughout, the hope they hold onto through all the trials and horrors of the war. Through everything, they hold tightly to the dream of going to Venice to see the Bridge of Sighs.

The story focuses on two women, Lidia and Angelina. They are part of the same family, but they are fighting for different things and they end up fighting against each other just to survive.

The story takes place in Rome at the time of the German occupation. Lidia is married to Aldo, who is a very good portrait artist. They have a son Carmine, who is very well behaved and starts out as a “mama’s boy”. Lidia is a snob and wants power. She gets German officers to come to get their portraits done by her husband. She’s getting rich off the war. In more than one way.

Angelina is an artist and so is her husband, Pietro, Lidia’s brother. Lidia disapproves of Angelina. Angelina and Pietro have a daughter. Pietro ends up a prisoner of war. And Angelina and her daughter flee their ravaged village and end up in Rome living in a storefront working with the Italian resistance. All the while Lidia lives high on her hoarded gold and francs. Her husband is secretly gathering info from his portrait subjects for the resistance, and even her young son can’t stomach what his mother has become. He sees what she’s doing and he hears what goes on. He knows where she hoards her gold, too.

When the Germans and these people have done just about all that people can do to each other and the allies have liberated Rome, then the final showdown happens and no one is prepared for who does what when it does. This book is one you will need a box of tissues to get through. It will surely draw tears from you as man’s inhumanity to man in this war was about as bad as it can get and the author doesn’t spare us much of it. Especially since this is a family that is supposed to love each other and take care of each other. The characters were drawn finely with sharp pencils, not sparing them anything. Totally revealing of all their bad habits and character flaws. The history of the times is accurate and horrific. I highly recommend this book to anyone who reads wartime historical novels. This is the best.

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