A Novel of Italy and the Second World War
By: Jennifer Robson
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: 1/05/21
My Rating: TBR
To survive the Holocaust, a young Jewish woman must pose as a Christian farmer’s wife in this unforgettable novel from USA Today bestselling author Jennifer Robson—a story of terror, hope, love, and sacrifice, inspired by true events, that vividly evokes the most perilous days of World War II.
It is the autumn of 1943, and life is becoming increasingly perilous for Italian Jews like the Mazin family. With Nazi Germany now occupying most of her beloved homeland, and the threat of imprisonment and deportation growing ever more certain, Antonina Mazin has but one hope to survive—to leave Venice and her beloved parents and hide in the countryside with a man she has only just met.
Nico Gerardi was studying for the priesthood until circumstances forced him to leave the seminary to run his family’s farm. A moral and just man, he could not stand by when the fascists and Nazis began taking innocent lives. Rather than risk a perilous escape across the mountains, Nina will pose as his new bride. And to keep her safe and protect secrets of his own, Nico and Nina must convince prying eyes they are happily married and in love.
But farm life is not easy for a cultured city girl who dreams of becoming a doctor like her father, and Nico’s provincial neighbors are wary of this soft and educated woman they do not know. Even worse, their distrust is shared by a local Nazi official with a vendetta against Nico. The more he learns of Nina, the more his suspicions grow—and with them his determination to exact revenge.
As Nina and Nico come to know each other, their feelings deepen, transforming their relationship into much more than a charade. Yet both fear that every passing day brings them closer to being torn apart . . .
"With stunningly intense and intimate prose, Jennifer Robson shines a light on the lesser-known fate of Italian Jews during World War II. By weaving the stories of those who were persecuted with those who tried to save them, Robson has penned an extraordinary tale of family sacrifice, resilience, and love."
-- Lynda Cohen Loigman, National bestelling author of The Two-Family House and The Wartime Sisters
"Heartbreaking and heartfelt, Jennifer Robson’s new novel is her best yet. With powerful prose and vivid characters, this unflinching novel shows not only the horrors of war, but the unshakeable power of love against hate. A must read."
-- Bryn Turnbull, author of The Woman Before Wallis
“This novel is set during a brutal time in history, but Jennifer Robson’s superb storytelling balances heartrending events with hope and humanity for a moving story of courage, integrity, and love amidst danger. Impossible to put down, this is her best book yet.”
-- Janie Chang, author of The Library of Legends
"Jennifer Robson pens a tale of devastating simplicity and poignant sweetness, superbly grounded in the horrors of fascist Italy. A Jewish medical student escapes deportation by trading her native Venice for rural farm life, posing as the Catholic wife of a priest-in-training turned resistance fighter--but at what cost to her faith, her unwitting new family, and the man she is coming to love? Our Darkest Night is tense and touching, sure to delight Robson's many fans and new readers alike."
-- Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of The Huntress
"An engrossing and memorable story, Our Darkest Night is a reminder that even in the darkest of times, we must open the door to courage and hope. Jennifer Robson is a master storyteller who will sweep you away with this wartime tale of the importance of family and above all, the enduring power of love."
-- Stephanie Marie Thornton, USA Today bestselling author of And They Called It Camelot
“Robson shines with this stellar WWII story. The brutal reality and atrocities of war are on full view with devastating clarity. Expert characterizations and perfect pacing are rounded out by lyrical prose … This will break readers’ hearts.”
-- Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“A powerful, emotional, and unflinching story of love, sacrifice, and resilience during one of history’s darkest moments, Jennifer Robson’s Our Darkest Night is historical fiction at its finest. Robson’s beautiful prose evokes a visceral reaction as she creates memorable, extraordinary characters in a richly detailed setting that comes alive for the reader.”
-- Chanel Cleeton, New York Times bestselling author
Our Darkest Night by Jennifer Robson is a profoundly moving story of ordinary people who show extraordinary courage in their fight against the evil and devastation of World War II Italy. With nuanced characters and beautiful, evocative prose, Robson weaves a compelling tale of bravery, perseverance, and the immeasurable power of love in the face of adversity. Haunting and inspiring, heartbreaking and hopeful, this novel is unforgettable"
-- Kristin Beck, author of Courage, My Love
Our Darkest Night is a rich, atmospheric Italian journey of survival from an ancient city to the rustic countryside to the concentration camps. With poignant precision, Robson tugs at the heartstrings, demonstrating that the strength of family bonds goes well beyond blood in this beautiful tale of love, survival, and triumph."
-- Stephanie Dray, New York Times bestselling author of America's First Daughter
"Equal parts romantic and devastating, violent and tender, Robson’s latest held me in thrall from the first pages. Nico and Nina’s story movingly portrays our deepest humanity and darkest nightmares, and the world-changing power of the families we chose."
-- Kerri Maher, author of The Kennedy Debutante and The Girl in White Gloves
About the Author
An academic by background, a former editor by profession, and a lifelong history nerd, I am lucky enough to now call myself a full-time writer. I’m the author of six novels set during and after the two world wars: Somewhere in France, After the War is Over, Moonlight Over Paris, Goodnight from London, The Gown, and Our Darkest Night: A Novel of Italy and the Second World War. I was also a contributor to the acclaimed anthology Fall of Poppies: Stories of Love and the Great War.
I studied French literature and Modern History as an undergraduate at King’s University College at Western University, then attended Saint Antony’s College at the University of Oxford, where I obtained my doctorate in British economic and social history. While at Oxford I was a Commonwealth Scholar and SSHRC Doctoral Fellow.
I am represented by Kevan Lyon of the Marsal Lyon Agency and my personal publicist is Kathleen Carter of Kathleen Carter Communications.
I live in Toronto, Canada, with my husband and children, and share my home office with Ellie the sheepdog and her feline companions Sam and Mika. Website