The Garden of Angels

Severn House. Apr. 2021. 320p. ISBN 9780727850119. $29.99. THRILLER
Full of layers, like a Russian nesting doll, this stand-alone thriller from “Nic Costa” series author Hewson has portions set in the present and 20 years earlier, but the core of the action takes place in 1943 Venice. Mussolini’s government has collapsed, and the Nazis have taken over northern Italy. The occupying forces are hunting down Jews; some Venetians are cooperating, some are resisting, and many are just trying to evade attention. Paolo Uccello, a shy teenage orphan now left to run his family’s failing weaving business, comes across a body that has been fished out of a canal. An offhand remark at the scene results in his sheltering two Jewish partisans, one of them seriously wounded. The young woman of the pair schemes to connect with the local resistance, while her brother recuperates and develops a friendship (and more) with Paolo. The explosive climax comes when the roundup, the weaving, the rebellion, and the relationship collide one winter day. The Uccello business survives but is forever changed.
VERDICT A good read for those who love their World War II thrillers with a bit of history included. Followers of Donna Leon’s “Commissario Brunetti” mysteries may appreciate the atmosphere and the intrigue.
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