Reviews for Eternal

by Lisa Scottoline

Publishers Weekly
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Scottoline’s admirable foray into historical fiction (after her Rosato & Associates series) visits pre-WWII Italy during Mussolini’s rise to power as three teenage friends navigate a love triangle. Elisabetta D’Orfeo works at a restaurant to support her alcoholic father. Marco Terrizzi, the son of a bar owner, begins his rise in the Fascist government, using his wit and charm to hide the secret of his learning disability and inability to read. Sandro Simone, a brilliant student, lives in Rome’s Jewish quarter with his obstetrician mother and lawyer father, Massimo. Sandro’s parents want him to date a Jewish girl, but he is determined to court Elisabetta, plans that are put to a halt by Mussolini’s racial laws barring relationships between Jews and non-Jews. Elisabetta succumbs to Marco’s charms, but their relationship is derailed after Marco falsely takes credit for a notebook left for her by Sandro to encourage her writing. As the Nazis occupy Rome, threatening to arrest and deport Jewish residents, the Simones are stripped of their livelihoods. Sandro and Massimo are eventually rounded up by the Nazis, and Marco and Elisabetta go to increasingly dangerous lengths to try to rescue them. While the dialogue is a bit wooden at times, Scottoline expertly brings historical events to life. Fans of WWII fiction will be drawn to this immersive, emotional novel. Agent: Robert Gottlieb, Trident Media Group. (Mar.)


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From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Fascists are often portrayed as one monolithic, Nazi block, but Scottoline, famous for her legal thrillers, focuses on a trio of young Romans to explore how Italian fascism pre-dated, inspired, and differed from what eventually subsumed it. Elisabetta has a difficult home life, but she takes solace in being the object of affection for two young men, Marco, an up-and-coming member of Mussolini’s bureaucracy, and Sandro, a Jewish mathematics student whose father is also an ardent Fascist. When the Nazis' influence leads to abhorrent, anti-Semitic race laws in Italy, Jewish Fascists, fervent party members for 15 years, are astounded as everything is taken from them. When Italy attempts to leave the Axis and make a separate peace, its former German allies quickly turn into cruel occupiers, and lives are lost with astonishing speed. Scottoline conjures atmosphere and culture in lush landscapes and city scenes and delectable culinary descriptions. This nuanced take on WWII Italy offers a variety of perspectives, but at its heart, this is a love story, with heroes lost being warmly remembered and love conquering all.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: The hook is how best-selling crime writer Scottoline successfully changes course in a coming-of-age WWII love story that will entrance fans and newcomers alike.

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