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The Garden of Letters

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Overview

THE NEW NOVEL FROM THE AUTHOR OF THE LOST WIFE

Set against the rich backdrop of World War II Italy, Garden of Letters captures the hope, suspense, and romance of an uncertain era, in an epic intertwining story of first love, great tragedy, and spectacular bravery.

Portofino, Italy, 1943. A young woman steps off a boat in a scenic coastal village. Although she knows how to disappear in a crowd, Elodie is too terrified to...

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The Garden of Letters

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Overview

THE NEW NOVEL FROM THE AUTHOR OF THE LOST WIFE

Set against the rich backdrop of World War II Italy, Garden of Letters captures the hope, suspense, and romance of an uncertain era, in an epic intertwining story of first love, great tragedy, and spectacular bravery.

Portofino, Italy, 1943. A young woman steps off a boat in a scenic coastal village. Although she knows how to disappear in a crowd, Elodie is too terrified to slip by the German officers while carrying her poorly forged identity papers. She is frozen until a man she’s never met before claims to know her. In desperate need of shelter, Elodie follows him back to his home on the cliffs of Portofino.
 
Only months before, Elodie Bertolotti was a cello prodigy in Verona, unconcerned with world events. But when Mussolini’s Fascist regime strikes her family, Elodie is drawn into the burgeoning resistance movement by Luca, a young and impassioned bookseller. As the occupation looms, she discovers that her unique musical talents, and her courage, have the power to save lives.
 
In Portofino, young doctor Angelo Rosselli gives the frightened and exhausted girl sanctuary. He is a man with painful secrets of his own, haunted by guilt and remorse. But Elodie’s arrival has the power to awaken a sense of hope and joy that Angelo thought was lost to him forever.
 
 

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What People Are Saying

From the Publisher
Advanced praise for THE GARDEN OF LETTERS
"Richman seamlessly weaves together the languages of music and love, reaching into the heart of the reader with artful portraits of heroism, sacrifice and redemption.  Fans of The Lost Wife will again savor Richman's ability to tell a remarkable story about people who are unforgettable and real."— Pam Jenoff, International bestselling author

“Lyrical and rich…filled with beauty and tragedy, romance and heartbreak.”—Jillian Cantor, Author of Margot “Graceful, mellifluous... read this book.”—Jenna Blum, New York Times bestselling author of Those Who Save UsThe Garden of Letters demonstrates artistry of the highest order. Lyrical and compelling, Alyson Richman’s novel of a cellist coming of age in wartime Italy is as layered as a symphony. Exquisite.”—Erika Robuck, author of Fallen Beauty

“A brilliant novel that will haunt me for years to come.”—Kristina McMorris, bestselling author of The Pieces We Keep

“Alyson Richman crafts a transportive novel vivid with history and fragile with hope.”—Jessica Brockmole, author of Letters from Skye

Praise for THE LOST WIFE
"A truly beautiful heartfelt story...I couldn't put it down once I started it. Ms. Richman is a very special talent."—New York Times bestselling author Kristin Hannah

"Staggeringly evocative, romantic, heart-rending, sensual and beautifully written, Alyson Richman's The Lost Wife may very well be the Sophie's Choice of this generation."— New York Times bestselling author John Lescroart

"Moving, unforgettable and so expertly told, you have to wonder if the author has a gift of time travel—this is storytelling at its very best."—Sarah Jio, New York Times bestselling author
 

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780425266250
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 9/2/2014
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 37,699
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Alyson Richman is the author of The Mask Carver’s Son, The Rhythm of Memory, The Last Van Gogh, and The Lost Wife. She lives in Long Island with her husband and two children. 

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 11 )
Rating Distribution

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(8)

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(3)

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Sort by: Showing all of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 24, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    The Garden of Letters is a real joy to read. What I enjoyed most

    The Garden of Letters is a real joy to read. What I enjoyed most about the novel was that it portrays the perspective of the Italian people who fell under the fascist influence of Hitler and Mussolini. An innocent young woman, Elodie, and also an aspiring cellist, unwittingly becomes an integral part of the Italian Resistance Movement. Through her eyes, we see the fear, the struggles, the heart-wrenching devastation of World War II. When she flees for her own safety, she is saved by a man named Angelo Roselli who has a poignant history of his own. And between these two characters, what unfolds is a tale so poignant, so lush, it left me nearly breathless with satisfaction.




    The prose of this richly layered is beautiful in its simplicity, brilliant in its creativity, and the characters unforgettably real. This is one book sure to please. The memory will linger for a long time afterward. I can't rave enough about how much I enjoyed this splendid novel. 

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 13, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    . This is the second book by Alyson Richman that I have read

    .




    This is the second book by Alyson Richman that I have read and I can honestly say I enjoy her writing. This was between 4 and 5 stars for me but I feel I learned so much from it that I gotta stick with 5 stars. Before reading this book I had no idea about the Italian resistance during WWII. I feel that Ms. Richman does a fabulous job weaving history in her books without it feeling forced. "The Garden of Letters" is a story about love and hope during one of the worst times in history. 




    I would highly recommend this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 2, 2014

    Using the backdrop of World War II Italy, Alyson Richmon deliver

    Using the backdrop of World War II Italy, Alyson Richmon delivers an engaging story in her latest novel, The Garden of Letters.

    The story opens with the introduction of Elodie Bertolotti, an accomplished cello prodigy. She lives in Verona, Italy and was blessed at birth with her father’s gift of music and her mother’s hypnotic beauty. War is the furthest thing from Elodie’s world until Mussolini’s Fascist regime is on her family’s doorstep. Elodie has no intentions of being drawn into the resistance movement until she meets Luca—a young man with a passion for his books. With the Occupation looming on Verona’s horizon, Elodie realizes her musical talent can contribute more than a lull of listening enjoyment and save lives from the devastation and ravages of war. Perhaps this is the reason Elodie was graced with her gift of music.

    War is not selective in those it scars. Alone and frightened, Elodie’s journey takes her to Portofino. She is a stranger in a strange place as she steps off the boat. It would not have come to this had she not forgotten the secret code she was supposed to play on her cello for the Wolf that night. The Verona she barely escaped is now a sad memory and her reality is that it is a place she can never return to. Fortunately for Elodie, young doctor Angelo Roselli is at the docks and what she doesn’t know is he will be her sanctuary. Angelo is weighted down by his own burden of battle wounds in the form of guilt and remorse. Destiny has placed these two strangers in this moment with little more than a glimmer of hope and the prospect of new beginnings.

    Alyson Richman accomplishes a heartfelt connection for the reader with her rendition of what it must have been like to survive one of the most iconic wars of our time. Her style lends a tangible ‘in the moment’ sense of being right beside the characters during the Occupation in Italy during World War II. Richman lends her distinct voice to her main character, Elodie Bertolotti, enabling the reader to feel the depth of her tragic experiences and loss. Yet, the sublime thread of hope Richman has woven throughout the story provides a comfortable cadence for the reader’s use in turning each page. Richman breathes life into each character and uses the premise of the importance of Elodie’s cello playing that reaches beyond music to one’s ears as the substance to establish a strong pace in moving the story eventually to its ending. This story is full of heart and this is the very essence of what a solid story is intended to be: the ‘perfect escape.’

    Quill says: The Garden of Letters is a moving account of endurance and perseverance and Ms. Richman deserves praise for its delivery.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 15, 2014

    The Lost Wife still resonates so deeply with me that I worried I

    The Lost Wife still resonates so deeply with me that I worried I’d be subconsciously comparing the two novels in my mind. The books have some elements in common, after all. They both take place during WWII. They both contain a tragic love story, but are about far more than love. They both have a protagonist with a passion for a form of art. Lenka, from The Lost Wife, was an artist. Elodie, from The Garden of Letters, was a cellist. Both women possess a level of courage that is awe-inspiring.




    The similarities end there, however, and I can honestly say that I never once thought of Josef and Lenka while reading about Elodie and Luca. I thought of very little beyond my need to find out what happened next. I did not tear through the book—reading an Alyson Richman novel too quickly would be a bit like gulping down an expensive bottle of wine in ten minutes. The prose is lush, each scene having been crafted with obvious care. It should be savored, even in those moments that leave a bitter aftertaste. 




    The Garden of Letters contains the most beautiful and sensual love scene I’ve ever read, and I read a lot. It’s a many-layered painting that is neither graphic nor gratuitous. It also contains an act of brutality that makes me shudder every time I think of it. 




    I highly recommended this novel.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 11, 2014

    Excellent blend of history romance and art

    Sometimes heartbreaking sometimes surprising. Perfect weekend read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 19, 2014

    Very enjoyable read

    A beautifully written book. The author captured the time period and the culture of Italy. The characters were well developed and very realistic. Ms. Richman researched the time period of WW II and weaved it into the story plot. A young musician gives up a great deal for the war against the nazis and facism. Good story

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  • Posted September 2, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Elodie is a cello prodigy living in Verona, Italy during WWII.  

    Elodie is a cello prodigy living in Verona, Italy during WWII.  Her childhood is free of worry and stress as she is concerned only with music. She has a photographic memory and so remembers every score after she has played it only one time.  Add to that the heightened sensitivity she exhibits as she melds into her cello and infuses emotion into every piece she plays, no matter how different or complex! She’s a wonder and her parents appreciate and nurture her very special gift, so wonderfully told that the reader can feel the music and ambiance it creates through each description!
    One day her father, a music instructor, arrives home after being brutally beat up by some German thug soldiers.  He never really recovers but that event changes everything for Elodie and her mother.  Elodie changes her name to Anna as she evolves into a trusted and respected member of the Resistance movement working to thwart the coming invasion by Germans.  Her service is heightened by the tender but passionate love affair that develops between Anna and the bookseller/Resistance leader, Luca.
    In between these scenes is another story of a love memorialized in an exquisite arrangement of love letters from Angelo serving in the war and Dalia.  It’s a “Love Story” of beauty and heart-rending sadness that lives on forever.
    After much suffering and loss, Anna is taken home by Angelo with only the purest of intentions.  For those who have lost much know that they have much to give to fellow travelers of devastation.  This leads to a new story that is heightened by Anna’s fierce loyalty and dangerous field activities that have led her to this quiet, healing place in Portofino, Italy!  
    The Garden of Letters is lyrical, poetic, literate historical fiction of the highest order!  Alyson Richman is one hugely talented writer whose writing displays the beauty and sensitivity she has infused into her characters, without sacrificing the starkness and terror of WWII along with the nobility and courage of Resistance fighters.  Gorgeous, extraordinary historical fiction this reviewer insists is must reading!

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    Posted October 11, 2014

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    Posted October 24, 2014

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    Posted September 21, 2014

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 14, 2014

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