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Insightful,
Dramatic,
Beautiful

3 reviews

The Garden of Letters
by Alyson Richman

Published: 2014-09-02
Paperback : 384 pages
3 members reading this now
11 clubs reading this now
0 members have read this book
Recommended to book clubs by 3 of 3 members
Written in dazzling prose and set against the rich backdrop of World War II Italy, Garden of Letters captures the hope, suspense, and romance of an uncertain era, in an epic intertwining story of first love, great tragedy, and spectacular bravery.

Portofino, Italy, 1943. A young woman ...
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Introduction

Written in dazzling prose and set against the rich backdrop of World War II Italy, Garden of Letters captures the hope, suspense, and romance of an uncertain era, in an epic intertwining story of first love, great tragedy, and spectacular bravery.

Portofino, Italy, 1943. A young woman steps off a boat in a scenic coastal village. Although she knows how to disappear in a crowd, Elodie is too terrified to slip by the German officers while carrying her poorly forged identity papers. She is frozen until a man she's never met before claims to know her. In desperate need of shelter, Elodie follows him back to his home on the cliffs of Portofino.
 
Only months before, Elodie Bertolotti was a cello prodigy in Verona, unconcerned with world events. But when Mussolini's Fascist regime strikes her family, Elodie is drawn into the burgeoning resistance movement by Luca, a young and impassioned bookseller. As the occupation looms, she discovers that her unique musical talents, and her courage, have the power to save lives.
 
In Portofino, young doctor Angelo Rosselli gives the frightened and exhausted girl sanctuary. He is a man with painful secrets of his own, haunted by guilt and remorse. But Elodie's arrival has the power to awaken a sense of hope that Angelo thought was lost to him forever.

Editorial Review

No editorial review at this time.

Excerpt

Chapter 1
Portofino, Italy
October 1943
Her rucksack contains her life reduced to small pieces. Though their physical weight is inconsequential, everything she carries feels heavy to her. She tries to pull her skirt underneath her, but the wind coming off the bay is relentless, and the cotton billows around her like a parachute. ... view entire excerpt...

Discussion Questions

1) A major theme of the novel is how we communicate without words, most notably through the power of music. How else do the characters communicate non-verbally?

2) The first line of the books reads “Her rucksack contains her life in small pieces.” Later on, Dalia produces a box filled with small trinkets that she replaces with Angelo’s letters. What would represent your “life reduced to small pieces?” What objects do you consider sacred?

3) Why does Dalia paper the room with Angelo’s letters? Why does Angelo leave them intact “like an ancient tomb?” And why does Elodie add to them? What does the “garden of letters” represent for each of them?

4) The characters often refer to passages from The Little Prince. “It’s only with the heart one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” What is the significance of these passages? How does it apply to Elodie’s life in Verona, and later on in Portofino?

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

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Book Club Recommendations

Member Reviews

Overall rating:
 
 
by [email protected] (see profile) 12/11/19

I enjoyed it

 
by robandjenbailey (see profile) 10/07/17

 
  "The Garden of Letters"by Susanmoore (see profile) 05/31/16

This beautifully written novel sheds light on the Resistance movement in Italy during the later days of World War II. But in addition, it is a well-wrought portrait of characters with whom you will fall... (read more)

 
  "The Garden of Letters"by katie16 (see profile) 04/07/16

The Club members like this book.

 
  "The Garden of Letters"by judymessett (see profile) 10/21/15

Great book which led to a great book club meeting today.

 
  "The Garden of Letters"by madority (see profile) 10/21/15

 
  "The Garden of Letters"by Verass (see profile) 01/26/15

This book shed light on the Italian resistance movement during the late stages of WWII as told through two different families. The author was able to bring together two different stories and themes into... (read more)

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