The Italian Wife

By Kate Furnivall

ISBN: 9780751550764

Author Website:


The Italian WifeBrought to you by OBS reviewer Kayt


Italy, 1932 — Mussolini’s Italy is growing from strength to strength, but at what cost?

One bright autumn morning, architect Isabella Berotti sits at a café in the vibrant centre of Bellina, when a woman she’s never met asks her to watch her ten-year-old daughter, just for a moment. Reluctantly, Isabella agrees — and then watches in horror as the woman climbs to the top of the town’s clock tower and steps over the edge.

This tragic encounter draws vivid memories to the surface, forcing Isabella to probe deeper into the secrets of her own past as she tries to protect the young girl from the authorities. Together with charismatic photographer Roberto Falco, Isabella is about to discover that secrets run deeper, and are more dangerous, than either of them could have possibly imagined . . .

From the glittering marble piazzas, to the picturesque hillside villages and winding streets of Rome, Kate Furnivall’s epic new novel will take you on a breathtaking journey of intrigue, romance and betrayal.


The Italian Wife is set in 1932 in the midst of Mussolini’s hunger for a new Fascist Italy. In a fictional town named Bellina, a sixth city to the five this leader had built after draining Italy’s Pontine Marshes in the 30s. It was an engineering feat that actually employed 124,000 men in 1933. In this intriguing tale, a woman Isabella Berotti is one of the famed architect. She was married to one of Mussolini’s infamous soldiers, the Blackshirts. Ten years before this her husband Luigi was shot and killed in front of her and she was shot in the back. This story starts with this horrific event. Isabella was changed forever by the attack and not just physically.

Ten years after her life was changed, it was again directly changed this time by a young girl. A woman with wild hair comes up to her as Isabella is relaxing at a café in front of her triumph in architect a clock tower. The lady tells her she knows she is a good person and would she watch her young daughter Rosa for a few moments. As the lady leaves, she says something to Isabella that changes everything. She hints at knowledge of Luigi’s killers. When the woman climbs the clock tower and jumps to her death, everything changes. Also witnessing this tragedy is photographer Roberto Falco, who is documenting the work of the local Fascists.

These two people, Isabella and Roberto are drawn into a mystery that is not only dangerous, but could be the end of them. Author Kate Furnivall pulls the reader in with these imperfect and brave characters. The research she has done is amazing. The scenes come to life in her colorful writing. Twists and turns and things all tied in together take the reader on a wild ride. All of the characters and scenes are written so descriptively and full of intensity. The plot is not only strong, but immensely action packed.

The Italian Wife is a wonderfully written novel of love, romance, suspense, mystery and intrigue. This book would appeal to readers of romance, mystery and historical fiction. I loved the insight this author gave into the demons of Mussolini’s men and the way they controlled so much even in everyday life. The twists and turns were surprising, but fell in place perfectly. This is an entertaining and well written novel that keeps the reader drawn in and never let’s go. The extra information the author has into her research is also very interesting. A fabulous read for anyone.