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The Villa Triste by Lucretia W. Grindle
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The Villa Triste (original 2011; edition 2011)

by Lucretia W. Grindle

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10810111,760 (3.97)7
Member:chrisgalle
Title:The Villa Triste
Authors:Lucretia W. Grindle
Info:Kindle edition
Collections:mijn leesgeschiedenis
Rating:****
Tags:None

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The Villa Triste by Lucretia Grindle (2011)

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  1. 00
    The Light in the Ruins by Chris Bohjalian (karen_o)
  2. 00
    Het vergeten gezicht by Elle van Rijn (sneuper)
    sneuper: Both books mix a wartime lovestory with a present-day mystery. The wartime lovestory enfolds throughout the book en gives clues about the mystery that has to be solved.
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English (7)  Dutch (3)  All languages (10)
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
I've been renewing this library book for at least three months now. Always resisting actually reading it because it was a doorstopper at 629 pages. I actually found it an amazingly fast read once I took the plunge and I'm very glad I read it. Story of two sisters in the Italian partisan/resistance movement mixed with the modern-day murders of two old men who were partisan heroes. Sounds a lot like the Bohjalian book I just read, doesn't it? But this one was a lot better.

And I didn't complain about the editing even once! I actually believed all 629 pages were worth reading; can't remember the last time I've said that. ( )
  karen_o | Dec 3, 2013 |
This is more ambitious than the run-of-the-mill crime fiction at £0.89, and worth much more in every sense.

It takes the form of the diary of an Italian anti-fascist partisan interleaved with a contemporary whodunnit, the solution to the latter obviously relating closely to the events described in the former.

I found both parts of the narrative equally engaging, for different reasons, and with different reservations: the diary entries, concerning events surrounding the deaths of a partisan unit in 1944 were affecting in their evocation of what must have been horrendous times. But the characterisation here was flat, causing a particular problem because so much of the novel turns on identities (real, imagined and stolen), more specifically names (married, maiden and assumed). With only a couple of exceptions, I was quite unable to remember who on earth was who (although, come to think of it, this may be entirely intentional on the part of the author).

The contemporary detective novel is well enough done, although in these pages, while the smaller cast of characters is more easily distinguishable, they seem comparatively trivial; we get, too, little sense of contemporary Florence, or of any meaningful relationship between Italy and her past, except in the very specific cases of individual partisans, sixty years on. A minor cavil, perhaps.

The end of the novel comes more as a satisfying resolution than surprising revelation, but is no less effective for that.

I would heartily recommend this book to readers interested in a story of Italian resistance; it will be of less interest to avid thriller readers. ( )
  jtck121166 | Jul 13, 2013 |
Florence, 1943
Villa Triste opens with Caterina trying on a wedding dress in 1943. Her fiancee is a Medic on a hospital ship in North Africa, due home in two months for the wedding. Invasion, and because war changes everything, Caterina's sister, Isabella starts acting differently and disappears nightly. Working with the resistance, she pulls Caterina in and they must make choices that may take both of them away from everything and everyone they love.
Florence, November 2006
Alessandro Pallioti has a new office and a new title, in charge of Special Investigations. Giovanni Trantemento, a hero of the resistance, was shot, at age 87.And his mouth is stuffed with salt.
The novel goes back and forth from 1943 to 2006. For those who like this style, this is a wonderful book that will keep you reading into the night. Espionage, war, resistance, Nazis, it is all here, including how women were working in the resistance. Giancarlo Tenucci, Piero Balestro and Giovanni Rossi are names you will encounter in this compelling WW2 story, and the detective work by Pallioti keeps you turning the page. What was Villa Triste? Read the book to find out the many secrets of this Villa. Don't miss this novel, one of the most readable from Lucretia Grindle. I highly recommend it to all readers of a well written mystery, detective and WW2 tale. ( )
  bakersfieldbarbara | Jul 12, 2013 |
Een heel mooi boek dat zich afspeelt in het Italië van de tweede Wereldoorlog en in het Italië van 2006. Het is een misdaad verhaal wat door de tijd heen gaat en waardoor je langzamerhand het leven gaat kennen van 2 vrouwelijke partizanen. Zeer mooi geschreven. ( )
  Hollandy2k | Mar 30, 2013 |
A contemporary crime story with roots in wartime Italy. The pieces of the jigsaw took a long time to fall together, which only made the reading more fun. I strongly recommend it to anyone who likes great fiction. ( )
  chrisgalle | Nov 8, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
Lucretia Grindle has explored Tuscany's dark, disturbing soul and delved into an equally foreboding chapter of its history to distil a complex, enthralling thriller.
Unravelling a case as labyrinthine as the Florentine back streets is intrepid detective Alessandro Pallioti who has only one guide to lead him through the maze, Caterina's diary. With three bodies on his hands, including a fabled resistance leader, the insightful Pallioti is convinced the motives for the killings date back more than 65 years. The journal takes our policeman to the eponymous Villa Triste, loosely translated, "the sad house", a property with tragedy engrained in its fabric.
Carefully crafted with an authentic and compelling dialogue, Grindle saves her best story-weaving to the thrilling denouement that creates a surprise as unexpected and delicious as the finest Florentine cuisine.
added by sneuper | editExpress.co.uk, Stuart Winter (Aug 20, 2010)
 
Unusually for war fiction, this novel revolves almost entirely around women and their part in resisting the Nazi-Fascist alliance.
Telling her story through the contrived method of a journal which reads, unfortunately, as if it has been written by a novelist some decades after events, Grindle counterpoints the war-time story – which for all its artifice is truly compelling – with a modern-day tale.
While there are distinct flaws in this novel, foremost that Italy itself never comes alive in Grindle’s hands, and her heroines feel more American or British than Italian, The Villa Triste is nevertheless an engrossing and thoughtful thriller, plotted more tightly than Houdini’s knots, and emotionally powerful. Markedly more at ease in the contemporary chapters than in the past, one of Grindle’s distinguishing skills is characterisation and dialogue. And although for some the denouement may not come as a great surprise, this story overall is exhilarating. It is also, of course, profoundly sad – or triste, as they say in Florence.
added by sneuper | editThe Herald, Rosemary Goring (Jul 28, 2010)
 

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lucretia Grindleprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Peterzon-Kotte, SaskiaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Voor Susan en Darce
mijn eigen Isabella's
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My wedding dress slid over my head, the ivory satin cool and slippery.
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Florence, 1943. Two sisters, Isabella and Caterina Cammaccio, find themselves surrounded by terror and death; and with Italy trapped under the heel of a brutal Nazi occupation, bands of Partisans rise up. Soon Isabella and Caterina will test their wits and deepest beliefs as never before. As the winter grinds on, they will be forced to make the most important decisions of their lives. Their choices will reverberate for decades. In the present day, Alessandro Pallioti, a senior policeman agrees to oversee a murder investigation, after it emerges the victim was once a Partisan hero. When the case begins to unravel, Pallioti finds himself working to uncover a crime lost in the twilight of war, the consequences of which are as deadly today as they were over sixty years ago.
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When two sisters are forced to make impossible decisions while living under the brutal Nazi occupation of Italy, their actions set off a chain of events that ultimately impact a murder investigation sixty years later.

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