#BookReview Elena by Rupert Colley

ElenaAbout the Book

Naples, 1944. Elena, aged twelve, is left orphaned and traumatized by war. But a gift from an American soldier shows her that kindness can still exist in a cruel world.

Post-war, and now a young woman, the memory of the soldier obsesses her. Eleven years after their first meeting, their paths cross again and Elena’s life will never be the same.

Find Elena on Goodreads

My Review

Available as a free ebook via the author’s website, Elena is the emotional story of a chance encounter and its repercussions. With their parents dead and their brother sent to work as forced labour in Germany, 12 year-old Elena and her sister Nina are trying to survive alone in a bomb-damaged Naples. Without money and close to starvation, a desperate act on Elena’s part is met with unexpected kindness and generosity by Nathaniel, a black American soldier. It ensures the sisters’ survival and Nathaniel becomes something of a hero figure in Elena’s eyes. She is convinced he will one day return to make good a promise. That conviction sustains her over the course of the next ten years but it means she is unwilling to look for love elsewhere. After all, what young man can compete with the hero you believe saved your life?   

Alongside Elena’s story, we see Naples recovering from the impact of war and taking gradual steps to becoming the vibrant city it once was. It acts as a kind of metaphor for Elena’s life. I won’t say much more for fear of spoilers but readers who love a heart-warming ending will not be disappointed.

In three words: Touching, evocative, tender

Rupert ColleyAbout the Author

Rupert writes: ‘I was born one Christmas Day, which means, as a child, I lost out on presents. Nonetheless, looking back on it, I lived a childhood with a “silver spoon in my mouth” – brought up in a rambling manor house in the beautiful Devon countryside. It’s been downhill ever since. I was a librarian for a long time, a noble profession. Then I started a series called History In An Hour, “history for busy people”, which I sold to HarperCollins UK. I now live in London with my wife, two children and dog (a fluffy cockapoo) and write historical fiction, mainly 20th-century war and misery. (Photo/Bio: Amazon author page)

Connect with Rupert
Website | Twitter 


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