Its 1943 and Chiara Ravello and her sister are about to flee Rome to the safety of the countryside. While doing last minute errands, she sees families being loaded onto trucks by the ghetto. She locks eyes with a mother who pushes her son forward. Impulsively Chiara clams the boy is her nephew, and he is released to her. Now she faces a hazardous journey with a child with no papers and a mentally impaired sister. Thus begins a lifetime of struggle with Daniele, a boy she comes to love like a son. Decades later after Daniele has disappeared, she receives a call from a teenage girl claiming a link to him. Now she must face up to the past and try to find him after a 10 year absence. This is a story of the power of loss and love.— Janis
Two women's decision to save a child during WWII will have powerful reverberations over the years. Chiara Ravello is about to flee occupied Rome when she locks eyes with a woman being herded on to a truck with her family. Claiming the woman's son, Daniele, as her own nephew, Chiara demands his return; only as the trucks depart does she realize what she has done. She is twenty-seven, with a sister who needs her constant care, a hazardous journey ahead, and now a child in her charge. Several decades later, Chiara lives alone in Rome, a self-contained woman working as a translator. Always in the background is the shadow of Daniele, whose absence and the havoc he wrought on Chiara's world haunt her. Then she receives a phone call from a teenager claiming to be his daughter, and Chiara knows it is time to face up to the past.
About the Author
Virginia Baily holds a PhD and MA in English from the University of Exeter. She founded and co-edits Riptide, a short-story journal. She is also the editor of the political series of the Africa Research Bulletin. She lives in Exeter, Devon.