Sunday, 14 March 2021

A New York Secret - Ella Carey


She looked at the telegram in horror, the words blurring in front of her eyes. She dropped to her
knees, feeling that her entire world was ending. The paper slipped from her hands as she put her head in her hands, sobs wracking her chest…

1942, New York. As war rages in Europe, Lily Rose is grateful for her perfect life: the love of her wealthy uptown parents in their beautiful brownstone overlooking the park and her dream job as a chef at one of New York’s finest restaurants, the art deco dream that is Valentino’s. But in her heart, Lily is drawn towards the bohemian Sicilian community in Greenwich Village, where gorgeous fresh fruit spills onto the pavement and the smell of freshly baked cannoli tempt her inside every Italian deli.

Part of the attraction is Tom Morelli, a talented chef and handsome grandson of Sicilian immigrants, whose deep brown eyes call to her and set her heart on fire. As wartime rationing bites in the city, Lily and Tom stay up late, dreaming up delicious meals that will see Valentino’s through the war and distract New Yorkers from the threat of sons and sweethearts being called up. Lily knows he has found the key to her heart.

Then Tom receives a devastating summons that changes everything: he is drafted to Italy. He must return to his beautiful homeland to fight a desperate war.

Suddenly alone, with only the memory of Tom’s last kiss, Lily turns to her parents for support. But when her mother finds out about her relationship, she is furious. When the war ends, Lily’s duty is to marry the man picked for her, raise children and never work again. They give her a heartbreaking ultimatum: end her relationship with Tom and give up her job or lose her family and inheritance forever.

Lily knows she must follow her heart to Valentino’s and to Tom. But when Tom is declared missing in action, Lily is totally heartbroken. If she pursues her dreams, will there be anything left for her when the war is over?

From top-ten bestseller, Ella Carey comes an utterly heartbreaking historical novel, inspired by true events, about the courage, love and friendships that sustain us in the darkest of days. Fans of Fiona Davis, Rhys Bowen and The Nightingale will be captivated.

Author Bio:

Ella Carey is the internationally bestselling author of The Things We Don’t Say, Secret Shores, From a Paris Balcony, The House by the Lake, and Paris Time Capsule. Her books have been published in over fourteen languages, in twelve countries, and have been shortlisted for ARRA awards. A Francophile who has long been fascinated by secret histories set in Europe’s entrancing past, Ella has degrees in music, nineteenth-century women’s fiction, and modern European history. She lives in Melbourne with her two children and two Italian greyhounds who are constantly mistaken for whippets.

Ella loves to connect with her readers regularly through her Facebook page and on her website.

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My Review

I loved this story from the moment that I picked it up. I'm not sure if it was the setting; wartime New York, or the storyline itself that first grabbed me. Either way, it was the characters, particularly Lily Rose, our heroine, which had me turning the pages. Like many women during the war, she finds herself doing the jobs that have always been for men and follows her dream of being a chef. Along the way, she also falls in love and questions what she really wants out of life, something very different to what her parents dreamed of.

I read this book quite quickly, desperate to know what was going to happen to Lily, Tom and their friends and family. I got drawn deeply into their story and was desperate to know what was going to happen to them all. 

I also enjoyed the fact that the story was about wartime America. It's something I know nothing about and despite having learnt a lot about the war at school, being British it was always from a British, Commonwealth or European point of view. This was an interesting alternative.

I loved this story and right up to the end I was on the edge of my seat, wondering how it was all going to play out. Highly recommended.

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