Fabulous book! Well written, action packed and educational. Loved it.
Just finished this powerful book. Definitely five stars! We seem to forget that the war did terrible things to many people and there are so many unsung heroes - one is Pino Lella. I am so glad that Mark Sullivan found the way to get this story into book form and bring to the fore these amazing young men and women. Italy hasn't been written about during the war as much as France and other European countries but they suffered greatly. Pino's two years were difficult ones and he spent them torn in so many ways. He was one man in a million. I even went on Google earth and followed many of the paths and places he passed through during his two years. It always brings a story closer to me when I can visualize where the person is and in this book, by virtue of the fact that it is biographical in essence, it was truly amazing to recognize the depth of Pino's knowledge of the mountains and the valleys. I am not the best at writing comments - but I do know this book was gripping and I could not put it down. Thank you Mark Sullivan for bringing this amazing story to light.
I tried to give the book four stars, but it wouldn't allow me. Super book! I keep thinking I don't want to read one more book about WWII, but then this came along. I hadn't read about the war in Italy. My grandparents came from Ivrea, near Milan, where most of the action takes place. The hero is truly heroic and may still be alive! The author made the Alps so clear, I almost felt as though I was there, escaping with the Jews with the help of Pino Lella.
IS THIS BOOK A HARDCOVER??
I thought it was wonderful enough to turn around and buy it. I love that this real life hero's story has been told. To the reviewers who called this far-fetched and girl crazy, I don't think they really read the book.
Amazing true story. Reminded me of the Nightingale, but perhaps a little longer winded. While I savored every page, it may have been one page too many. Still, despite it being a fictional story, it was loaded with Italian WW2 history, much of which I was unaware of. Definitely worth your time.
I hate to give this anything less than 5 stars because this is such an important story to tell. I really enjoyed the first part of the book. I thought it was well written and well developed. However, at about the midway point, the writing became overly detailed and almost repetitious. I actually put it down at about 2/3 of the way through and don't plan on finishing it.
I enjoyed the quick pace of the novel and the vivid storytelling that took place in its first half. However, I feel this book fell short of all of the hype and that it is not worthy of the praise it has received. At least reading this book allowed me to check off "a novel based on a real person" from my #ReadHarder challenge list.
Sullivan, a prolific novelist and collaborator with James Patterson on the Private series, has written a World War II novel based on the experiences and memories of Pino Lella, an Italian teenager who spied for the Allies while working as a driver for General Hans Leyers in Milan, Italy. The story follows the war in northern Italy from June 1943 to April 1945 when the Germans have turned on their Italian allies and are retreating from the advancing American forces. As Pino becomes more aware of the German atrocities, he struggles to maintain his facade as an obedient soldier in a Nazi uniform. Based on ten years of research and interviews with Pino as well as other survivors and their descendants, Sullivan has written a story that keeps the reader engrossed for more than 500 pages. Given the locale and the various events, factions, and individuals involved, I can see why this book has been optioned as a movie.
A riveting tale of war and love, Beneath a Scarlet Sky is a novel near and dear to my heart. This true story follows Giuseppe “Pino” Lella, a teenager living in Milan Italy—a city that has been ravaged by Nazis during World War II. Pino is a naive, typical teen who has been untouched by the war. He joins the Italian resistance to fight the Nazis, but fate plays him into the hands of General Leyers, Hitler’s right-hand man. Pino uses the opportunity to spy on the General and report back to the resistance, but has to keep the endeavor a secret. Only three people know what he is really doing wearing the swastika—his aunt, uncle and his dearly beloved, Anna. His family and friends resent him, but he finds comfort in Anna. While undercover, he witnesses horrific occurrences no man should see and experiences excruciating pain of all kinds no man deserves to endure. By the end, he finds himself surrounded by the ruins of his city, his deceased family and friends, and his shattered heart. He then begins to rebuild his relationships with loved ones that survived the war. The nightmarish situations he suffered through force him to evolve into a brave, war-hardened man. Pino, who is still alive today, closes the book with a soul-wrenching statement: “The war’s not over. I don’t think it’ll ever be over for me.”
To think that such a story is actually true only adds more to the haunting feeling that comes with this book. This novel is one of the best I’ve ever read, though I would not recommend this for anyone who cannot handle death or acts of gut-wringing cruelty worse than death. For the same reason, children below the age of 13 should not read this. I also would not recommend this for anyone who doesn't have the time to invest into it, for it breaches the 500-page mark. For everyone else, I HIGHLY recommend this. The story has been forgotten, lost in the whirlwind of time, and I believe this man deserves to be remembered for the pain and suffering he endured to save Italy. The only issue I had with this was that the book was slow at the start, but it built up to all the conflicts nicely. Other than that, this story was beautifully and eloquently written, which is all the more impressive considering the fact that the author was not Pino. Sullivan did an incredible job of relaying Pino’s inner thoughts and feelings. The book has neither a happy nor a sad ending—a little bit of both—which really sheds light on the reality of the tale. Fans of Salt to the Sea, From Sand and Ash, or The Nightingale would love this—because I love those books and God knows I absolutely adore this book. All in all, this book is one staggering, jaw-dropping tale and I think it’s time people remembered the story of Giuseppe Lella.
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