The sky is clear, star-stamped and silvered by the waxing gibbous moon.
No planes have flown over the islands tonight; no bombs have fallen for over a year.
Five hundred Italian prisoners-of-war arrive to fortify these remote and windswept islands.
Resentful islanders are fearful of the enemy in their midst, but not orphaned twin sisters Dorothy and Constance. Already outcasts, they volunteer to nurse all prisoners who are injured or fall sick.
Soon Dorothy befriends Cesare, an artist swept up by the machine of war and almost broken by the horrors he has witnessed. She is entranced by his plan to build an Italian chapel from war scrap and sea debris, and something beautiful begins to blossom.
But Con, scarred from a betrayal in her past, is afraid for her sister; she knows that people are not always what they seem.
Soon, trust frays between the islanders and outsiders, and between the sisters – their hearts torn by rival claims of duty and desire.
A storm is coming . . .
Caroline Lea grew up in Jersey and gained a First in English Literature and Creative Writing from Warwick University, where she now teaches writing. Her fiction and poetry have been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize, and The Glass Woman was shortlisted for the HWA Debut Crown.
This is a lovely story, based upon the true story of the wedding chapel built on Orkney in the Second World War, by Italian prisoners of War.
It is a love story, but it also explains human relationships and how people felt during wartime.
The writing is atmospheric and beautiful and the book will leave you gasping as it comes to it’s final conclusion.
If you enjoy books that are full of heart, paint vivid pictures with words and bring a little mythical beauty in too, you will love this book.
Thanks to Chrissie Antoniou at Penguin Random House and the author for the advanced reading copy of this book.