Port of No Return by Michelle Saftich
Published July 31, 2015
Kindle Edition, 219 pages
Contessa and Ettore Saforo awake to a normal day in war-stricken, occupied Italy. By the end of the day, their house is in ruins and they must seek shelter and protection wherever they can. But the turbulent politics of 1944 refuses to let them be.
As Tito and his Yugoslav Army threaten their German-held town of Fiume, Ettore finds himself running for his life, knowing that neither side is forgiving of those who have assisted the enemy. His wife and children must also flee the meagre life their town can offer, searching for a better life as displaced persons.
Ettore and Contessa’s battle to find each other, and the struggle of their family and friends to rebuild their lives in the aftermath of a devastating war, provide a rich and varied account of Italian migration to Australia after World War II.
What can you do when you have nowhere left to call home? Port of No Return considers this question and more in a novel that is full of action, pain and laughter -- a journey you will want to see through to the very end.
Italian historical fiction is one of my favorite genres. I've had the pleasure of reading several very good novels of this genre these past few months and I now have another author of whom I've become a fan. Michelle Saftich has written a beautiful story of the Saforo family and Italians who once lived in Fiume, now a part of Yugoslavia, under the German rule during WWII.
Right from the first page I was pulled into the story and I simply didn't want to put it down. I was so invested in these characters that came alive for me. I cared about them and wanted to know how they would survive when they lost everything and Ettore is hunted for having worked for the Germans to support his family. The losses are hard and Saftich paints a believable and realistic picture of war-torn Italy and the displacement camps, but it's the characters that stay with you. And among the despair is always the underlying hope that they will pull through.
The children play a prominent role in the book and I liked that because it was realistic. Families in Italy had many children and the scenes with the children reminded me so much of the stories my aunt in Italy told me of her childhood during the war years. Best of all, the story flowed well and I enjoyed every moment of it.
I've read many WWII stories but this was told from the perspective of displaced Italians and what finally led them to leave their beloved country. This is Saftich's impressive debut novel and I am highly anticipating her next novel. Although this story ends well, it does lend itself to a sequel and of course, I am eager to revisit the Saforo family. If you like WWII historical fiction and books set in Italy, don't miss this one!
Disclosure: I was provided with a copy of this book for an honest review.
To read more reviews, please visit Michelle Saftich's page on Italy Book Tours.
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About the Author
Michelle Saftich is a first-time author who resides in Brisbane, Australia. She holds a Bachelor of Business/Communications Degree, majoring in journalism, from the Queensland University of Technology (QUT).
For the past 20 years, she has worked in communications, including print journalism, sub-editing, communications management and media relations. She is married with two children.
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