Early One Morning

Early One Morning by Virginia Baily

Two women's decision to save a child during WWII will have powerful reverberations over the years.

Chiara Ravello is about to flee occupied Rome when she locks eyes with a woman being herded on to a truck with her family. Claiming the woman's son, Daniele, as her own nephew, Chiara demands his return; only as the trucks depart does she realize what she has done. She is twenty-seven, with a sister who needs her constant care, a hazardous journey ahead, and now a bewildered young child in her charge.
Several decades later, Chiara lives alone in Rome, a self-contained woman working as a translator, assisted in her chaotic life by her cleaner Assunta. Always in the background is the shadow of Daniele, whose absence and the havoc he wrought on Chiara's world haunt her. Then she receives a phone call from Maria, a teenager claiming to be his daughter, and Chiara knows it is time to face up to the past.

Some of us found the dual time frame a bit disrupting of the narrative as it took a while to realise which time you were in. This is probably why some of us felt we had not got to know the main characters well. On the whole an engaging story, Informative of life in an occupied country in WW2, as well as well drawn descriptions of Rome and the countryside of Italy.

Submitted by Donaghadee Reading Group