Book Club: The Liberation

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Author: Kate Furnivall
ISBN: 9781471155567
RRP: $29.99

Kate Furnivall has written a number of books set in exotic locations, and I had read none of them. The Liberation is my first of her works and I will admit that the page count was enough to have me hesitate before picking it up, and then it was selected as a book club title so the hesitation had to end.

Italy in 1945 is a place of devastation, British and American troops are still in place to help restore order and the locals are fighting to survive. The only money is in the pockets of the troops, and the paid off local law enforcement. The streets are in ruins and many people are selling off what they can just to eat.

Catarina Lombardi is a young woman with determination and a will to survive; she is out one day selling handcrafted wooden boxes when she crosses paths with a number or different people that will completely change the direction of her future, and the way she thinks about her past.

The Lombardis live in the small town of Sorrento where they are renowned master craftsmen working with wood. Catarina inherited her love of woodworking from both her father and grandfather, and her skills are certainly up there with theirs. It was interesting that when Catarina took boxes out to sell she passed them off as work by her father or her brother, even though she had made them herself, because she wouldn’t be able to get the same prices for her work.

The Liberation is evocative, it is dark, it is suspenseful and it certainly kept me reading long after I should have been sleeping – and when I had two kids (that aren’t mine) hounding me to play with them instead of reading. The page count was high but I was so entranced that I still got through it in 3 days.

Action is non-stop and you are never quite sure what’s going to happen next, or who the bad guys really are. The police make a living from pay-offs, the mafia are a force to be reckoned with and their territory is even avoided by the police, the troops are viewed with suspicion if not open hostility and they are only trying to help get Italy back on its feet but having to do it with little support from the locals.

Italy has such a long history and is home to countless priceless artifacts from paintings and sculptures to religious icons and antique furniture, many of which have disappeared during the war and in its aftermath. A taskforce has been put together to track down missing relics and bring them back to the Italian people, but the casualties mount up and there are more questions than answers.

Catarina is forced into a position where she is left questioning everything, and in danger at every turn; not sure who to trust or how to keep her family safe. Instead of spending days in her workshop creating items to sell she is facing danger from all directions in her quest to clear her father’s name.

The intrigue and deceit of this story is woven so seamlessly that it really is difficult to untangle and work out where the biggest threats come from. Asking questions can be a dangerous business, regardless of which side of the law you are on. The war is over and Italy is rebuilding but the explosions and the death aren’t finished yet.

The resilience of the Italian people is commendable in the face of adversity, and though the troops are there to help the people still see them as intruders and aren’t willing to answer their questions. Not necessarily a bad thing when talking to the troops is likely to get you killed.

The Liberation will entrance and enthrall while it keeps you guessing and trying to get to the bottom of all the mysteries hidden within its pages.

Thanks Kate Furnivall and Simon & Schuster for a fabulous book.

Kate Furnivall can be followed on Facebook and Twitter.

The Liberation is published by Simon & Schuster and is available now from Angus & Robertson Bookworld, Booktopia and where all good books are sold.

Thanks to Simon & Schuster 30 of our Beauty and Lace club members will be reading The Liberation so please be aware there may be spoilers in the comments below.

59 thoughts on “Book Club: The Liberation

  1. Thank you for the opportunity to read the Liberation! I have not read any book by Kate Furnivall before and was looking forward to a completely different writing style and story. The Liberation did not disappoint. Between a family feud, the war and underwritten a love story, I thoroughly enjoyed reading and discovering the next twist, plot and descriptions of life after the war.

    Honestly, I was surprised at how long it was but I could not put it down, I become involved in the story of Caterina, her fathers death, the long history and loyalty of the Italian families. In truth I thought that Caterina would end up with a member of the feuding family, Carlo Caveleri.

    I enjoyed the Caterina character, she has a strength many women had to find at that time during and after the war, the loyalty she holds that has been installed by her grandfather which she tries to instill in her younger brother and the missing mother all make this this one of the most intriguing books, chuck into that the American and British soldiers doing their jobs of intelligence officers. What a read

    Highly recommend!


  2. Early in “The Liberation” I found myself strongly reminded of Helen MacInnes’ thrillers, which tended to feature young and relatively naive girls careering around Europe, getting caught up in twisting plots of double dealing and intrigue, and discovering their own competence and strength – and often romance. Although this turned into a rather different sort of novel to MacInnes’, you could well describe it that way.

    It’s 1945 in Italy, a country still reeling from the impact both of World War II and the Allied “Liberation”. Poverty and starvation are rife, and with them all the social ills they breed. In the midst of this, young Caterina Lombardi is struggling to survive. Her grandfather is blind, her father killed in the war, and her mother abandoned the family more than a decade ago. Her brother is only 11, trying to help, but still so young.

    Caterina uses the woodworking skills her father taught her to craft trinkets to sell to the Allied soldiers, and she has her family pride. It sometimes seems that these are all that sustain her. And then someone accuses her beloved father of having been a thief and a traitor. Caterina’s efforts to clear his name upend her life, and indeed threaten it and her family’s lives.

    Although a thriller at heart, this is also strongly a character drama. Caterina grows and changes in very believable ways through the novel, and concern for her will keep many readers turning the pages faster than they’d intended. Other characters and their interactions with Caterina are well drawn and realistic – it’s easy to fall into these people’s lives and thoughts.

    Some plot elements won’t surprise you a lot (especially if you’ve been a reader of writers like MacInnes), However, the plot is tightly drawn and credible, and there are plenty of unexpected twists to intrigue.

    Overall, this was a novel that quickly absorbed me, and kept me turning the pages. The atmosphere of post-war Italy is evocatively drawn, and almost becomes a shadowy background character. Caterina is a heroine to empathise with, and the tension is high throughout the novel.

    In short, I thoroughly enjoyed “The Liberation” and would recommend it both to readers who enjoy thrillers with strong plots and those who look first for strong characters.

  3. I am a massive fan of Kate Furnivall’s so I had been looking forward to this book release for a long time. Once again, the hype was not without substance! The Liberation did not disappoint!

    Kate manages to draw the reader into the world of post WWII Italy and whilst global fighting has ceased, this does not mean that Italy’s struggles are over. The fallout is widespread – from the resistance fighters who fought against the Germans to the general population feeling the impact of a leader who aligned with Hitler.

    As the Allied forces take temporary control of the nation, Caterina is faced with the discovery that her father may not be who she thought he was. Between taking care of her blind grandfather as well as her little brother and working to provide food for them all, she has had to become the head of the household. Luckily, she is strong willed, determined and stubborn.

    When a Major in the US army throws her life into a spin that includes death threats, new friends and new enemies, Caterina must leave behind all she has taken for granted. What will she discover? Well that’s for you to read the book and find out!

    I would like to thank Beauty and Lace and Simon & Schuster for allowing me to be part of the review team and of course also thanks to Kate Furnivall for another fantastic read!

    I highly recommend The Liberation – 5 stars!

  4. The Liberation by Kate Furnivall is a story set in Italy in 1945 as British and American troops try to bring order to the country. The main character Caterina Lombardi is a young lady who is desperate to look after her brother and grandfather after her father has dies and her mother has disappeared.

    Her father was a respected wood craftsman a skill which Catarina has learnt and with this craft has been able to keep her family in money/food. Caterina learns by chance that her father is accused of being involved in stealing artefacts and restoring them for sale on the black-market. Caterina does not believe that her father could be involved in such events and works to clear his name.

    As Caterina tries to clear her father’s name this takes her into many dangerous situations for both herself and her family. She does not know who to trust and when she comes across Major Jake Parr and starts working with him to see if they can unravel the truth.

    This is a very powerful story, full of mystery, love, family, suspense and twists that I was not expecting. I would highly recommend this great read.

    Thanks Beauty and Lace and Simon & Schuster for the opportunity to read this book.

  5. From the moment I started reading The Liberation I found it hard to put down ..Set in Italy starting in 1943 with the search for her Nonno it moved seamlessly though the years to 1945 ..Kate expresses the story though the war years as Caterina works to clear her fathers name of treason and her love for her family beautifully. there are many layers to the story and show how money talked during the war and how families survived.The Liberation is a very well structured/written story with no part being slow or boring ,I am looking forward to reading Kate’s other works

  6. The Liberation by Kate Furnivall is set in Italy, 1945. The war has ended and the clean up and repair of lives has begun. Caterina Lombardi has learnt the craft of wood from her father who was killed in the war. Caterina must use her craftsmanship to support her brother Luca and her grandfather who was left blind in an accident prior to the war. Caterina’s mother, Lucia, has left the family some time ago but does reappear after the war looking for what she can get after the man she left with is killed and her allegiance with the Germans comes apart.
    Caterina is enlisted to help Major Jake Parr of the American army and Captain Harry Fielding of the British army to find the stolen artefacts of the Italian people. What Caterina is unaware of is the danger she is placing herself and her family in when she discovers that some of the stolen artefacts had in fact been in her father’s possession prior to his death. Caterina is thrown into the Italian underworld of theft and disruption whilst she struggles to clear her fathers name whilst keeping herself and her family alive.
    I must admit I did struggle with the number of pages (552) but the storyline was enough to peak my interest and with a different twist with each chapter it was an exciting book to read. The ending was something I had not seen coming nor suspected throughout the whole book, when one of the thieves is someone that Caterina has grown to like and respect.

  7. The Liberation is set in Italy in 1945 just after the war has ended and the American and British Forces have come into pickup the pieces of a war effected country. The main character is a young women called Caterina Lombardi who has to take care of her younger brother and her blind grandpa as her parents are both gone. She is a talented wood carver and uses her skill to help her survive. Unfortunately the only money in Italy all seems to come from the troops.
    Caterina soon gets caught up in a mystery of stolen Italian art as her father is accused of involvement before his death. She tries to clear his name but ends up getting in trouble herself as the criminals try to keep her mouth shut.
    It is a book that really keeps you guessing to who the bad guys are and you’re not sure what’s going to happen. I liked seeing another side of the effect of war and I wasn’t aware of the effect of WWII on Italy before reading this book. I really enjoyed reading this book and I thank Simon and Schuster and Beauty and Lace for the opportunity to read this book. 🙂

  8. Wow, ladies, you have really made day. I would like to thank you all at Beauty & Lace for taking the trouble to read my book The Liberation and then to write such well observed and well constructed reviews. It is hugely rewarding to read your generous comments and to know you got as involved with Caterina as I was. Thank you, thank you. xxx

  9. The Liberation has a well developed story line that kept me on the edge of my seat. The Liberation is set in Italy in 1945
    Caterina is enlisted to help Major Jake Parr of the American army and Captain Harry Fielding of the British army to find the stolen artefacts of the Italian people.
    What Caterina is unaware of is the danger she is placing herself and her family in when she discovers that some of the stolen artefacts had in fact been in her father’s possession prior to his death. Caterina is thrown into the Italian underworld of theft and disruption whilst she struggles to clear her fathers name whilst keeping herself and her family alive.
    This is a very powerful story, full of mystery, love, family, suspense and twists that I was not expecting.

  10. The liberation by kate Furnival is a historical romance read.
    The Liberation is set in Italy in 1945 as British and American troops attempt to bring order to the devastated country and Italy’s population fights to survive. Caterina Lombardi is desperate – her father is dead, her mother has disappeared and her brother is being drawn towards danger. One morning, among the ruins of the bombed Naples streets, Caterina is forced to go to extreme lengths to protect her own life and in doing so forges a future in which she must clear her father’s name. An Allied Army officer accuses him of treason and Caterina discovers a plot against her family. Who can she trust and who is the real enemy now? And will the secrets of the past be her downfall?
    A fantastic read with brilliant characters. Very cleverly written. caterina was my favourite character. I loved the story too

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