Our Darkest Night: A Novel of Italy and the Second World War
by Jennifer Robson
Antonina Mazin, a young woman living in Venice with her father plans to become a doctor like him. However, in 1942-1943, it is illegal for Jews to practice medicine. In order to keep safe, with the help of a local priest and family friend Antonina assumes a new identity, Nina. Posing as the wife of Nicco Gerardi, Nina moves into his family’s home on a rural farm. All of a sudden, the “city girl” is expected to help with chores, cooking, cleaning, etc. At first their “marriage” is a sham, but eventually Nicco and Nina fall in love. Nicco works for the Resistance, helping other Jews escape, and is eventually arrested. A local Nazi official is suspicious of Nina from the beginning and eventually digs deep enough to learn her true identity. She is arrested and sent to a concentration camp.
A novel of acceptance, survival, sacrifice and kindness. I highly recommend this novel to fans of WWII historical fiction.