Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
Ciao Bella

Ciao Bella

A Novel

Gina Buonaguro and Janice Kirk

Thomas Dunne Books



For Graziella, the quiet, cultured life she lived in Venice with her musician husband, Ugo, was everything she could have hoped for. But when Italy allied itself with Nazi Germany in 1940, her world changed forever. Ugo, trading in his violin for a gun, joined the Resistance, while Graziella was forced to seek refuge at his family's farm in the nearby Euganean Hills. "Just until the war is over," Ugo had promised, but it has been months now since the Nazis retreated, and no one has seen him since.

With Ugo gone, it seems as if she will be trapped forever on this remote farm with her lost husband's difficult family. So when an American soldier named Frank is stranded on the mountain, Graziella embraces this unexpected chance at being happy again. But as tempting as it is to leave behind this war-torn country and her painful memories for a new life in America, can she go without learning her husband's fate?

With quiet grace and humor, Ciao Bella explores the possibilities of love and redemption in the wake of war, showing that some of the hardest decisions come only after the fighting has stopped.


Praise for Ciao Bella

“When her husband, Ugo, joins the Italian Resistance, the Canadian Grace becomes Graziella and goes to hide with his family in the countryside. When Ugo fails to return, even after the war is over, Grace begins to feel stranded and isolated, especially since Ugo's family has never approved of his marriage. The arrival of a young American soldier makes her remember her long-lost life as Grace, and she begins to dream about leaving Italy. Are love and loyalty permanent, or does the horror of war remove certain obligations? A compelling combination of romance, adventure, and serious thought, this slim novel is sure to appeal to many audiences.” —Booklist

“Corelli's Mandolin meets The Bridges of Madison County in this WWII tale of a love affair between an American soldier and the wife of a member of the Italian resistance. . . . A wistful story about the difficult decisions people must make in both love and war, Ciao Bella is drenched in Italian sunshine. The authors have penned a sweet, nostalgic story about how good people struggle to do the right thing, even when there are no good choices at all.” —Historical Novels Review

The Sidewalk Artist is an inventive semihistorical romance as well as a story of artistic and emotional self-discovery.” —The Boston Globe on The Sidewalk Artist

“Nifty plotting has the main story pause for passages from Tulia's book and the travelogue she's reading, keeping this entertaining novel from becoming a sentimental romance.” —People on The Sidewalk Artist

“The book has floated across the country on the wings of a love dream for half a year. Now, as summer reading lists start to grow, it's a likely contender for anyone looking for a fancy, contemporary fable that's smart but not jaded, innocent but not naïve.” —Toledo Blade on The Sidewalk Artist

“A charming, Hollywood-ready romance.” —Toledo Blade on The Sidewalk Artist

“Full of beautiful, sensual language, The Sidewalk Artist will touch anyone with a romantic bone in their body.” —The Kingston Whig Standard on The Sidewalk Artist

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Gina Buonaguro and Janice Kirk

Gina Buonaguro was born in New Jersey and now resides in Toronto, Ontario. Janice Kirk was born and lives in Kingston, Ontario. Their first novel together was The Sidewalk Artist.

Gina Buonaguro

Janice Kirk

From the Publisher

Thomas Dunne Books

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