Port of No Return by Michelle Saftich
Publication Date: July 31, 2015
eBook & Paperback; 244 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
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.
Port of No Return is the first novel in a series of two.
My Review: Oh, Friends…this book.
Can I just start off by saying something? There is a reason why I love historical fiction so very much. If done properly, an historical fiction can teach you a bit about history (obvi), set you in the middle of a specific time period, pull you into the lives of the characters and keep you highly entertained.
But then…oh, then. Then there are the rare few that grab your heart by the ankles (now there’s a visual) (never a dull moment here) and hold you hostage until the last page.
Welcome to Port of No Return.
This book is unbelievably good. The story follows the lives of Contessa and Ettore, happily married husband and wife and their growing brood of children, living their new normal in war-torn Italy. Until the day the bombs fall from the sky. When they emerge from their shelter, all they know and what little they own is destroyed and gone. While they find security once again in the home of a friend, all of that changes when Ettore must flee, shattering their temporary happiness and separating their family. The story then continues with the independent journeys of husband and wife, as they have struggles, adversities and victories in their quests to find each other once more.
Y’all, I was hooked on this story. I’m not one for feeling feelings, but I couldn’t help it. I was invested in Contessa and Ettore’s journeys, and could. not. for. the. life. of. me. put this thing down. I was emotionally wrapped up in this family, enabled all the more by the fantastic writing skills of Michelle Saftich. She fleshed out the characters wonderfully and brought the settings to life, dragging me (willingly, I might add) from sorrow, to happiness, to tension, to worry, to bliss. Such a beautiful and authentic look at war, humanity and the strength of family.
About the Author
Michelle Saftich is a first time author who resides in Brisbane, Australia, with her husband and two children. She holds a Bachelor of Business/Communications Degree, majoring in journalism, from the Queensland University of Technology (QUT). For the past twenty years, she has worked in communications, including print journalism, sub-editing, communications management and media relations. In 1999, she was named National Winner for Best News Story in the ASNA (Australian Suburban Newspaper Awards). Born and raised in Brisbane, she spent ten years living in Sydney; and two years in Osaka, Japan, where she taught English.
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