It’s the summer of ‘78 and 16 year-old Sebastian arrives with his parents and brother in the medieval Italian village of Colletta for a holiday.
His father, an investigative journalist, has taken the family there with no explanation and is then only fittingly glimpsed in the company of a strange American.
Bored, and tired of being treated like a child, Sebastian notices a young woman who sets his heart alight. However, whenever he tries to approach Rosetta, he finds she is not alone.
Older men carrying pocket knives skulk in the backstreets of Colletta, and the American is usually never too far behind,
Who is Rosetta?
And what is her connection to sinister events in an otherwise picturesque village?
This is a well written, well researched book. It not only covers some political history, but also the struggles of young Sebastian as he is coming of age, personally for me some of the political history parts were very heavy going, although very informative. This would definitely appeal to people interested interested in these types of historical events. I did take it in as I learnt of the occurrences of the American’s meddling with Italian affairs. In Operation Gladio.
The Kentish’s are going on a family holiday to Italy, but for Peter Kentish it’s not really a holiday (although his family aren’t really aware of this initially) he is an investigative reporter meeting someone who has agreed to give him a story which could make his career. Jacqueline Kentish his wife also travelling with her family, she loves to paint, so whilst her husband is doing his interviews she will be painting some of the picturesque views. So that leaves Sebastian and Dominic to keep themselves occupied, when they aren’t carrying their mum’s easel and paints back and forth. Sebastian is at the age where he is noticing girls, in Italy he becomes infatuated with Rosetta, much to his mother’s disapproval, although she gives the opinion no one will be good enough for her sons.
It’s summer of 1978, in the medieval Italian village of Colletta, the World Cup is on the television, each evening the Kentish’s along with other guests meet to dine outside. Dominic is the one interested in the football.
Bravo is the American contact who Peter Kentish is interviewing. When realises that the reporter has his family with him he becomes concerned that it could put them at risk, so decides to give no names in his interview, just the story. Even more so when he has a suspicion that Jacqueline Kentish is possibly related to himself. Bravo is ex CIA he is about to tell the story of Operation Gladio. Kentish had been trying to research the operation in 1977 but no one would speak to him on the record. But when President Aldo Moro had been assassinated on the 9th May, Kentish received a fax from Bravo saying he would speak to him about Operation Gladio. Which was why a month and 3 days after the assassination Kentish and his family are in Colletta.
What I enjoyed about this read is that in between the interviews which are full of lots of historical information, you get the lighter side of things with Sebastian and Dominic having the freedom to explore, swim. Sebastian and his infatuation with Rosetta, but also some witty conversations with several other main characters. Who are the men who carry knives? Does Bravo really need to worry or is he paranoid? Because this story is big even without naming names.
Colletta sounds like a charming idyllic place although it may have changed a little since 1978. If you like to learn some history within your reading then this is a perfect read for you. The characters are all well drawn, they are believable and mostly likeable. A great debut novel which seems to cross genre’s slightly.