Hello and welcome to my second instalment of ‘Map Monday’. This was inspired by the current pandemic and lockdowns and the inability to travel. I will share one book each week with you that is set somewhere different to where I live. I’ll chat a bit about the book and throw some interesting facts out there about the place. I hope you enjoy travelling through books with me…
This week I’ve picked…
A grey dawn in 1943: on a street in Rome, two young women, complete strangers to each other, lock eyes for a single moment.
One of the women, Chiara Ravello, is about to flee the occupied city for the safety of her grandparents’ house in the hills. The other has been herded on to a truck with her husband and their young children, and will shortly be driven off into the darkness.
In that endless-seeming moment, before she has time to think about what she is doing, Chiara makes a decision that changes her life for ever. Loudly claiming the woman’s son as her own nephew, she demands his immediate return; only as the trucks depart does she begin to realize what she has done. She is twenty-seven, single, with a sister who needs her constant care, a hazardous journey ahead of her, and now a child in her charge – a child with no papers who refuses to speak and gives every indication that he will bolt at the first opportunity.
Three decades later, Chiara lives alone in Rome, a self-contained, self-possessed woman working as a translator and to all appearances quite content with a life which revolves around work, friends, music and the theatre. But always in the background is the shadow of Daniele, the boy from the truck, whose absence haunts her every moment. Gradually we learn of the havoc wrought on Chiara, her family and her friends by the boy she rescued, and how he eventually broke her heart. And when she receives a phone call from a teenage girl named Maria, claiming to be Daniele’s daughter, Chiara knows that it is time for her to face up to the past.
This epic novel is an unforgettably powerful, suspenseful, heartbreaking and inspiring tale of love, loss and war’s reverberations down the years.
Interesting Facts about Rome:
- Rome was the centre of the Roman Empire that ruled the European Continent for several ages…..and, it has the smallest country in the world; Vatican City.
- Rome wasn’t always the Capital of Italy – it took the title from Florence in 1870.
- Rome’s first university (called La Sapienza) was built in 1303 AD. It is the largest in Europe and the second largest in the world!
- Rome was founded in 753 BC by Romulus.
- Rome has a museum dedicated entirely to pasta (located not far from the Trevi Foundation).
- Rome has 280 fountains and more than 900 churches.
- Nearly 700k euros worth of coins are tossed into Rome’s Trevi Fountain each year. The proceeds are apparently donated to Caritas to help those in need – love this!
- In ancient Rome, there were public urinals for men to urinate in. They then used this urine to wash their clothes and even used it to brush their teeth! -VOM!
- Apparently Rome was the first modern city to reach a population of 1 Million.