Our Darkest Night

Our Darkest Night

A Novel of Italy and the Second World War

Book - 2021
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It is the autumn of 1943, and life is becoming increasingly perilous for Italian Jews like the Mazin family. With Nazi Germany now occupying most of her beloved homeland, and the threat of imprisonment and deportation growing ever more certain, Antonina Mazin has but one hope to survive—to leave Venice and her beloved parents and hide in the countryside with a man she has only just met. Nico Gerardi was studying for the priesthood until circumstances forced him to leave the seminary to run his family's farm. A moral and just man, he could not stand by when the fascists and Nazis began taking innocent lives. Rather than risk a perilous escape across the mountains, Nina will pose as his new bride. And to keep her safe and protect secrets of his own, Nico and Nina must convince prying eyes they are happily married and in love. But farm life is not easy for a cultured city girl who dreams of becoming a doctor like her father, and Nico’s provincial neighbors are wary of this soft and educated woman they do not know. Even worse, their distrust is shared by a local Nazi official with a vendetta against Nico. The more he learns of Nina, the more his suspicions grow, and with them his determination to exact revenge. As Nina and Nico come to know each other, their feelings deepen, transforming their relationship into much more than a charade. Yet both fear that every passing day brings them closer to being torn apart . . .
Publisher: New York : William Morrow, An Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, [2021].
Edition: First Edition
Copyright Date: ©2021
ISBN: 9780063060432
Characteristics: 362,14 pages ;,23 cm.


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Apr 26, 2021

A must-read, written with historical insight, adding 75 YEARS later a voice for those whose age now is silencing their's. Humans are always capable of destroying one another, as in Hitler's Holocaust ... humans can also rise above historical madness to levels of insight, understanding, communal respect and support ... and the world will become a wondrously nurturing place for all. This book portrays the horror of rampant evil in battle with authentically humane ... yes, Godly ... values embedded in the human heart. This book is a treasure.

Apr 23, 2021

This is well researched historical fiction, balanced with a loving family story. Those who have enjoyed Jennifer Robson's other books should not miss this, and for those that have never read her- this is a good book to start with.

LPL_LeahN Apr 17, 2021

I really enjoyed this story...although heartbreaking at times, this is a moving tale of courage in the face of seemingly impossible odds. It's about the bravery and perseverance of the Jewish people, as well as that of those who resisted the Nazis, risking their lives to help their friends and neighbors escape arrest.

My only criticism is that I wanted to know Nina and Nico better. There were secondary characters I found more interesting than them, such as Gabriele Mazin, Nina's father, and Rosa, Nico's sister. Nico and Nina themselves seemed rather canned at times.

Apr 02, 2021

This was an enjoyable historical fiction read about WWII in Italy. I hadn't read one set in Italy before so I thought it was different enough that I would enjoy it. Nina leaves her parents behind in Venice to hide on a farm in the country (the doing of her father trying to save her because they are Jewish) and there she pretends to be the wife of Nico.

She lives with his family on the farm and learns to transition from a city girl studying medicine to taking care of farm animals. Her and Nico hide who she really is- they think she truly is his new bride. They of course fall in love but wow, it was out of nowhere, could we have gotten a little more between them before that happened?

I thought the first half of the book was much better than the second half- it got a little predictable and unrealistic. But overall, if you're looking for a WWII story set in Italy that explores families coping and struggling through the war, this will be a good read for you.

The Author's note mentions that she based the characters on people in her husband's family who did live through this. I will read ALL the books based on author's families, keep em coming! I think that is such a lovely way to bring their stories to life. Their lives mattered so please keep sharing their journeys, I will keep reading them.

Mar 16, 2021

I’m finding this a hard story to rate and review. On one hand it was very moving and I loved the premise and hero of the story. On the other hand, I felt it just barely went below skin deep. Maybe, it’s that there wasn’t much in here that I hadn’t already read before and there were moments I felt the author could have dug a little deeper. I hadn’t read this author’s work before, but I think I was expecting something a bit more hard hitting. Don’t get me wrong, the story addressed some of the horrors of WW2, but again just skimming the surface. In the end I liked the main characters, their romance, and their perilous predicament, but it was a lighter WW2 story that will ultimately blend into a number of others that I’ve read. Not necessarily distinct enough to stand on its own for those who’ve read many within this genre.

Feb 25, 2021

Painfully beautiful.

STPL_JessH Jan 12, 2021

If you enjoy historical WWII fiction, then Our Darkest Night is for you! Jennifer Robson includes so many tiny details that, when combined, create a vivid picture of wartime life both in Italy and some concentration camps. This is a book about family, faith, and forbearance.

Dec 12, 2020

Epic! A young Jewish Italian woman has a hero -- her father. When the Nazi threat forces her to hide in the country, she meets the new hero of her story. Nina and Nico's story is heartbreaking and hopeful. The two of them are borne up by their faith in their God and in each other. There were many times when this book drove me to tears for the plight of people like them. For the suffering and humiliation that was heaped upon them. Despite the inhumane treatment all around, Nico and men like him honored their fellow human beings while at the same time recognizing the evil that had to be eradicated. This story is personal to Jennifer Robson and you can see her high regard for her characters. Beautifully done and highly recommended.

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