Sunday, April 11, 2021

Review: Our Darkest Night by Jennifer Robson


Title: Our Darkest Night
Author: Jennifer Robson
Published: January 2021, William Morrow Paperbacks
Format: Paperback, 384 pages
Source: Publisher

To survive the Holocaust, a young Jewish woman must pose as a Christian farmer’s wife in this unforgettable novel from USA Today bestselling author Jennifer Robson—a story of terror, hope, love, and sacrifice, inspired by true events, that vividly evokes the most perilous days of World War II.

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 . . .


My thoughts:  It's no secret that I am a fan of Jennifer Robson's historical fiction novels. I've read a few of her own books and a few of the ones she's written with others as part of anthologies. I just love the way she writes so as soon as I saw this book coming out, I knew I had to read it and I was not disappointed.

For as many books I've read on World War II, I love that each one brings a different perspective and that is exactly what we have here. This time, our setting is in Italy, which for me is new and I loved that. I also loved that characters that Jennifer created for us. Nina and Nico just come alive on the pages and I could not help but fall in love with them as we learn their story. 

This is the type of book that is as much thought-provoking as it is heartbreaking and emotional. I kept thinking what I would have done if I were to have found myself in either of these character's shoes. Could I have pretended to marry someone for the sake of saving myself? Could I risk my life and those I love for the sake of someone else?

This story captivated me from the beginning and had a hold on me the entire way through. These two characters showed such strength and bravery in the face of uncertain times and it was so hard not to be affected by their stories. I loved that this story is inspired by the author's husband's family. It just has such a deeper meaning to it and I love that she was willing to share it with us. This is definitely a story I won't be forgetting anytime soon and one that I highly recommend.


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