The Last Paradise by Antonio Guarrido
Started 22 March
Finished 9 April
I downloaded this book as my March Kindle First choice. I didn't really expect to enjoy this, to be honest this; a novel set between depression-era America and the Soviet Union. Consequently I was very pleasantly surprised, as I thoroughly enjoyed it. In fairness, it wasn't a fun book, as it was quite stark and brutal, but it was an epic-feeling story.
I hadn't known that many Americans fled the US in the Depression era, in search of a worker's paradise in the USSR. I also have no idea how accurate the tale is, but, for me, it painted a vivid picture of the hopes of the immigrants, the brutality of the Soviet regime and how these hopes soon faded. In addition it had plenty of plot twists, so all in all, a book I would recommend.
Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan
Started 9 April
Finished 23 April
This book is based on a true story. It tells the tale of a young Italian, Pino Lella, during the second world war; from escaping the Nazis in Milan, through helping Jews to reach Switzerland by guiding them through the mountains, ending up enlisting at the age of 18, and becoming the driver of a senior officer in the German army, during which time he spied for the Allies. A truly fascinating story and well written. This, too, is a period in history I didn't know much about. Plenty of books are written about Germany, France, the UK and other countries during the war, but I haven't come across much about Italy.
What was particularly nice was the author's notes at the end, in which he describes how he came to tell the tale, along with updates on the fates of the main characters during the remainder of their lives. Another book I thoroughly enjoyed and also felt that I learned from.