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What an amazing story - and such interesting books that it has led you to. I am also particularly curious to read about the life of ordinary people during the world wars. The things they went through and the ways they helped one another can be tragic and inspiring at once. You sort of figure that if people can survive in these circumstances, one really ought to be able to cope when the washing machine breaks down and the computer gets a virus!


This sounds like a fascinating read and her father's wish certainly was granted, wasn't it? An American father, an English mother, in Italy during the war. Your reading of diaries is certainly leading you to many enriching books. Well done.


I'm really glad you enjoyed it! isn't it a friendly read.
I think I have Images and shadows somewhere...but I've never seen the I must look for it Thanks!


Litlove--Reading about these sorts of experiences really does help put minor inconveniences into perspective, doesn't it? It is inspiring to read about people who seem so ordinary, but are able to do extraordinary things. And I am indeed looking forward to reading more about Iris Origo!

Penny--Reading this had been unplanned, it was by chance only that it turned out to be a diary. Serendipitous! She led quite an interesting life and I am looking forward to learning more about her.

Val--Thanks! I couldn't remember who suggested this, so I appreciate it! I ordered Images and Shadows and have the bio at home now, so will try and squeeze them in when I can!

Claire (The Captive Reader)

This sounds wonderful. All I've read of Italy during the war has been either military history or fiction written after the fact (like Portrait of the Mother as a Young Woman). I've been lacking any kind of social history or memoir, which is generally my real area of interest regardless of decade or region. Iris sounds like a fascinating woman with a very interesting life so I'll look forward to reading this!


Very interesting. Her book is mentioned by Alexandra Johnson as one of the great war diaries. It is a book I would like to read but I made a promise to myself to stick to my piles for some time when there are similar books to be found in any case, like other war diaries. But I must say that the fact that it's about Italy makes me want to read it even more.


Did you see that her house (um, mansion, really) is for sale?

Kathy Johnson

This sounds like a wonderful read. I know what you mean, too, about one book leading you on to read more that are somehow related. That's one of the great pleasures of reading: following your whims.


Thanks for bringing this book to my attention. It sounds worth checking out. I've linked to your review on War Through the Generations.


Italy and a diary, a two-for! Sounds like it was fascinating reading.


On my next visit to the library I'll have a look at Images& Shadows,it's a pity though they don't have this diary, would have liked that very much I think.

Rebecca H.

It definitely sounds interesting to learn about what countries other than England and America experienced in World War II, and also fascinating to hear about what ordinary people experienced. How cool that this book is leading you to so many others!


Claire--I also read Portrait of a Mother last year, but that is pretty much the extent of my reading. This was a real find and I am happy I read it. This is a great place to start and now I will be looking for more books about the period in Italy.

Caroline--I've only just discovered Alexandra Johnson and am looking forward to reading her books. Interesting that she mentions Iris Origo and not surprising-the diary was excellent reading. I have been pulling from my own piles lately, too, though I hate to admit I have been Very Bad lately about buying new books. You can always just add this to a list and look for it later--it is worth looking for and reading at some point. So many books to choose from, though, right?!

Bibliolathas--I did not. Thanks for the link--I'll check it out--I think it may be well beyond my, umm, budget! But imagine living there! I can't believe it's up for sale actually--what a dream place to live!

Kathy--I really enjoyed this--it was very interesting to read about and it made me want to continue learning more--always a good sign with a book. I also love how my reading meanders according to the books I choose and enjoy.

Anna--Thanks very much for linking to me! It is definitely worth looking for. She is a good writer and the diary entries were really very engrossing.

Stefanie--Yes, total bonus read! :) It was fascinating and if I didn't already have too many other books started I would pick up the biography right now, too.

Catharina--I'm looking forward to getting my copy in the mail. I've been giving in too often to my book buying urges, but I am excited about getting this! I'm ready to read more by her and about Italy during the War.

Rebecca--I hate to admit, but I have only ever really been interested in the war from the American or British perspective or from Holocaust survivors--not sure why I've not broadened my reading, but this was a real find and I am sure I will do so now. It is fun when one book leads to the next one--I'm sure I'll meander happily along for a while now. :)

Liz F

The Iris Origo is a lovely book and I'm glad that you have enjoyed it.
I must look out for her biography - but maybe not just yet because I have far too many books, both from the library and my own, to be going on with at the moment!
I too have been VERY bad re the purchase of new ones - nothing really expensive but a lot in volume - and this has co-incided with an almost frantically busy period at work which is limiting reading time. I have to snatch minutes where I can which is so not good for reading anything which requires concentration!


Liz--This was an excellent read. I have the biography all ready to go, but like you I have a massive pile of books started and underway, so I need to finish a few things before starting anything new. I've been very bad of late, too, even with those gift cards--I've not used them for everything I've bought. I am so easily tempted by the books people mention to me as recommendations. I have the same reading time, but am still slow at it!

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