- File Size: 1767 KB
- Print Length: 589 pages
- Publisher: Spun Stories Press (July 1, 2019)
- Publication Date: July 1, 2019
- Sold by: Amazon.com Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B07QBD2FLS
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,574,933 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
Farewell My Life: Buona Notte Vita Mia Kindle Edition
|Length: 589 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled||
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"This is not your typical mystery; it's for fans of thrilling action and historically-inspired events...Contra to the status quo of the genre, the men are the romantics - though in a deranged manner - and the women showcased are the core strength of the novel."--BookLife Prize.
"I loved the elaborate descriptions of all the places in this book. This is the kind of book that shows instead of just telling. The characters are very well-developed and interesting to read about. Angelina is a fascinating character, as is Grace. Along the duration of the book, Grace learns a lot about herself. I was amazed by her quiet yet vibrant personality, and her brilliant talent."--Pavani Mathur (The Voracious Bibliophile)
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I confess I bought the book for its cover, dark with a lovely young woman playing violin.
The novel is set between the world wars, in the United States, Germany, and Italy. Teenager Grace is remarkably talented, focused on her musical career. When Nicholas (Nico) Russell, a man her widowed mother (Angelina) is interested in, meets Grace, he immediately falls in love with her. An accomplished pianist, he offers to accompany her, and his playing compliments and enhances hers. She is interested only in making beautiful music with him, at first. I was hoping for a love story between two wonderful musicians, but that’s not what I got.
It turns out that Mr. Russell is not who he pretends to be. He’s actually Angelina’s half-brother, and soon he SPOILER ALERT! murders Angelina, but a lengthy police investigation never proves the death was anything beyond a medical drug overdose.
Soon, Grace has three suitors, and the naïve girl has inadvertently promised herself to all three. Her friend Mabel’s brother Charles is perhaps the best suited for her, but Grace’s Great-Aunt Paulina prefers Count Carl von Lietzow. Paulina dismisses Charles and Nico.
The Count decorates his new mansion to please Grace and sets aside a room to be her practice room. She spends more and more time at his villa, and less time practicing violin. The Count introduces her to sex, and to the seedier side of Berlin night life.
On the eve of Grace’s wedding to the Count, Nico has an altercation with him and kidnaps Grace. He tells her if she will not marry him, he will kill himself. She feels obligated to prevent his suicide, and they marry. She is already carrying the Count’s child.
Nico is working as a diplomat, and they travel around the world from post to post. Grace’s musical career evaporates as she tends to their children. Nico’s career takes precedence, and he’s drawn into espionage. I’m not going to tell you how the story ends. Let’s just say it’s not pretty.
The book is 1½ inches thick, about 550 pages. I was afraid it would take forever to read, but it was well-written enough that I finished it fairly quickly. Nevertheless, I feel more could have been done with the spy sub-plot. As it was, it felt tacked on to the end.
Farewell My Life is not my cup of tea. Although many very talented young musicians never go on to have a successful career, I was disappointed that Grace did not persevere to live up to her promise. I also felt she was unbelievably naïve. And the night club scene in the middle of the book was disturbingly explicit. Despite these objections, there were many interesting twists in the story that held my attention.
Yes, it is long with well over 500 pages.
Yes, it's a historical piece occurring after the Great War up until the start of WW II.
Yes, it deals with a heavy topics like incest, PTSD, and the always frustrating plight of women.
But it was NOT bland or depressing. In fact I read over half of it one day because I just couldn't put it down. I had to know what was going to happen.
Farewell My Life is a story in 3 parts.
In part one, "The Lost Mother", we are introduced to a family of Italian women living in Georgetown, Washing DC. Angelina, is a widow with two teenage daughter, living with her elderly Aunt Paulina. Angelina is a bit of a scandalous women. Unable to get a decent job because she is a woman, she sleeps with men for money and gifts, sort of a professional mistress. When a new man, Mr. Russel, comes to town and, against her wishes, inserts himself into her world she quickly become the fierce protective mother. At first sight he falls in love with her younger daughter Grace. She is a dreamy, beautiful, and a very talented violinist. Angelina has suspicions that Mr. Russel has a dark history and begins her own investigation. He does have a past connection to Angelina and if that knowledge were to become public it could destroy his relationship with Grace.
In part 2, "An Unsuitable Suitor", the family has moved to Berlin Germany so that Grace can study with a famous instructor and further her career as a violinist. It doesn't take long before she attracts the attention of two new suitors. Men fall in love with her and she seems to always friend zone them until someone points it out to her. She really isn't interested in love and marriage, She tries to stay focused on becoming a career violinist. Violet, her older sister, hit the nail on head when she says "Let me guess. He was kind and attentive and you had no idea he was interested in you - until it was too late." Despite her best efforts to stay focused on her music, Grace has to decide who she will marry and what will happen to her career as a violinist.
By far, this was my favorite part of the story. It's essentially a prince or the pauper love triangle, but he's not a prince and no one is really poor. The story also get a bit spicy and dives deep into the dirty, unsavory side of Berlin. After the Great War Germany is a very poor country and its people are forced to do whatever work to earn money. Here we are introduced to LGBT characters, and Anita Berber, who recreates her drug induced fantasies in her dances.
The ending of part two was so heart breaking though. I felt so bad for Grace, I wanted that guy to get punched so bad! Why him Grace?! Frustrating.
Part 3, "Farewell my Life", skips into the future 16 years. Set, once again, in Berlin Germany but this time the Nazis have taken power and the world is getting ready for another war. In the final act Grace, now a wife and mother of four, has to deal with the consequences of decisions made in her youth. She's spent a lifetime sacrificing her own happiness for the benefit of her husband. She gets one more opportunity to be with the man that will make her happy, and her husband finally gets served some cold hard Karma. It's beautiful. It's epic. Its everything my daytime soap opera watching heart ever wanted.
I was disappointed that Grace's sister, Violet, didn't have more of a part in the end. She played such a big role through the book that it kind of seemed like it was going to be a story about both of the sisters. However, she does play a short but important role in the end.
Great historical fiction! Definitely recommend.