Monday, May 15, 2023

BLOG TOUR - Secrets of the Italian Island


Italy, 1943. A castle once full of love and laughter is left in ruins by the Nazis, as three sisters are torn apart by one terrible mistake…

New York, present day. Broken by the loss of her beloved grandmother Annalisa, who raised her all alone, Mia is shocked when she finds an old letter sent from Italy in her belongings. Annalisa never told Mia about the magnificent, vine-covered castle on Isola di Parissi where she spent one long summer under the Italian stars. Or that she was accused of something terrible in the darkest days of World War Two…

Arriving on the stunning Italian coast just a boat ride away from Parissi, Mia is devastated to find the island closed to visitors. Desperate to find out what her grandmother was hiding, she finds dark and brooding local guide 
Leo, who promises to help her sneak in.

As they explore the crumbling castle surrounded by lush olive groves, Mia begins to fall in love with passionate Leo and the beautiful country he calls home. And soon they find handwritten notes hidden in the walls, which confirm her grandmother’s heartbreaking story. Annalisa arrived on the island with her two sisters but was forced to abandon them when the Nazis invaded.

Mia soon realizes that the accusation against Annalisa might be true, and that Leo has his own reasons for wanting to dig up her family’s past. 
The terrible mistake Annalisa made tore apart the island community. Will it force Mia to leave Leo, and Italy, forever?

An epic, heart-wrenching tale based on the incredible true story of an island at war. Fans of Lucinda Riley, Fiona Valpy and Victoria Hislop will be utterly gripped.


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Title:  Secrets of the Italian Island
Author:  Barbara Josselsohn
Series:   Sisters of War #1
Publisher:  Bookouture 
Genre:   Women’s Fiction; Historical Fiction 
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   363
Date of Publication:   May 11, 2023
My Rating:   5 Stars

Saddened by the loss of her beloved grandmother Annalisa, Mia travels to Italy to solve a mystery. When she starts to go through her grandmother’s belongings, she makes a discovery that confuses her. She knows that she must find the answers to her grandmother’s past. The only way that she can do this is to go to Italy. She plans on traveling with her good friend, but that does not work out so she is on her own.

In dual timeline fashion, a story segues back to 1943 where three sisters had an important mission that had to do with their ailing father. They ended up working at a castle where their lives were irrevocably changed. This first book in a new trilogy by Barbara Josselsohn focuses on the oldest of the three sisters, Annalisa. Sadly, it took decades for something that she experienced to become clear.

Annalisa and her sisters worked at that castle on an Italian island that was eventually overtaken by the Nazis during World War II. In present day, Mia is determined to find the connection with what she discovered at her grandmother’s house, and what happened back during World War II. She has help in her quest when she meets someone named Leo while she is in Italy. While Mia’s intent is to clear her grandmother’s name, Leo has his own reasons for searching for answers at the same castle where Mia’s attentions are focused.

What a fabulous story! Aside from the talented writing, the drama was excellent, and I loved the similarities that existed between Mia and her grandmother Annalisa. I loved both of their stories and how the answers of the past were revealed. I look forward to the next books in the series as I want to know what happened to Annalisa’s sisters. 

Many thanks to Bookouture and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.


Barbara Josselsohn is an award-winning journalist and novelist who loves crafting stories about strong protagonists facing a fork in the road. Her novels center around second chances, family relationships and, of course, romance. She is the author of the Lake Summers series set in the fictional town of Lake Summers, nestled in the Adirondacks Mountains, which includes the books The Lilac House and The Bluebell Girls. Before joining with Bookouture, she published The Last Dreamer, a women’s-fiction novel from Lake Union Publishing, along with hundreds of articles and essays in major and regional publications about family, home and relationships. She lives just north of New York City and enjoys escaping to the beach or the mountains whenever she can. Other than writing, her biggest passion is her family: husband, her three kids, and her indefatigable shih-poo!

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