Beneath A Scarlet Sky

Beneath A Scarlet Sky

A Novel

Book - 2017
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In 1940s Italy, teenager Pino Lella joins an underground railroad helping Jews escape over the Alps and falls for a beautiful widow. He also becomes the personal driver of one of the Third Reich's most powerful commanders.
Publisher: Seattle :, Lake Union Publishing,, [2017]
ISBN: 9781503943377
Characteristics: 513 pages ; 21 cm


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Jan 31, 2018

Amazing true story. Reminded me of the Nightingale, but perhaps a little longer winded. While I savored every page, it may have been one page too many. Still, despite it being a fictional story, it was loaded with Italian WW2 history, much of which I was unaware of. Definitely worth your time.

PimaLib_AnnieW Jan 28, 2018

I hate to give this anything less than 5 stars because this is such an important story to tell. I really enjoyed the first part of the book. I thought it was well written and well developed. However, at about the midway point, the writing became overly detailed and almost repetitious. I actually put it down at about 2/3 of the way through and don't plan on finishing it.

PimaLib_KatherineB Jan 26, 2018

I enjoyed the quick pace of the novel and the vivid storytelling that took place in its first half. However, I feel this book fell short of all of the hype and that it is not worthy of the praise it has received. At least reading this book allowed me to check off "a novel based on a real person" from my #ReadHarder challenge list.

Jan 16, 2018

Sullivan, a prolific novelist and collaborator with James Patterson on the Private series, has written a World War II novel based on the experiences and memories of Pino Lella, an Italian teenager who spied for the Allies while working as a driver for General Hans Leyers in Milan, Italy. The story follows the war in northern Italy from June 1943 to April 1945 when the Germans have turned on their Italian allies and are retreating from the advancing American forces. As Pino becomes more aware of the German atrocities, he struggles to maintain his facade as an obedient soldier in a Nazi uniform. Based on ten years of research and interviews with Pino as well as other survivors and their descendants, Sullivan has written a story that keeps the reader engrossed for more than 500 pages. Given the locale and the various events, factions, and individuals involved, I can see why this book has been optioned as a movie.

Jan 09, 2018

A riveting tale of war and love, Beneath a Scarlet Sky is a novel near and dear to my heart. This true story follows Giuseppe “Pino” Lella, a teenager living in Milan Italy—a city that has been ravaged by Nazis during World War II. Pino is a naive, typical teen who has been untouched by the war. He joins the Italian resistance to fight the Nazis, but fate plays him into the hands of General Leyers, Hitler’s right-hand man. Pino uses the opportunity to spy on the General and report back to the resistance, but has to keep the endeavor a secret. Only three people know what he is really doing wearing the swastika—his aunt, uncle and his dearly beloved, Anna. His family and friends resent him, but he finds comfort in Anna. While undercover, he witnesses horrific occurrences no man should see and experiences excruciating pain of all kinds no man deserves to endure. By the end, he finds himself surrounded by the ruins of his city, his deceased family and friends, and his shattered heart. He then begins to rebuild his relationships with loved ones that survived the war. The nightmarish situations he suffered through force him to evolve into a brave, war-hardened man. Pino, who is still alive today, closes the book with a soul-wrenching statement: “The war’s not over. I don’t think it’ll ever be over for me.”
To think that such a story is actually true only adds more to the haunting feeling that comes with this book. This novel is one of the best I’ve ever read, though I would not recommend this for anyone who cannot handle death or acts of gut-wringing cruelty worse than death. For the same reason, children below the age of 13 should not read this. I also would not recommend this for anyone who doesn't have the time to invest into it, for it breaches the 500-page mark. For everyone else, I HIGHLY recommend this. The story has been forgotten, lost in the whirlwind of time, and I believe this man deserves to be remembered for the pain and suffering he endured to save Italy. The only issue I had with this was that the book was slow at the start, but it built up to all the conflicts nicely. Other than that, this story was beautifully and eloquently written, which is all the more impressive considering the fact that the author was not Pino. Sullivan did an incredible job of relaying Pino’s inner thoughts and feelings. The book has neither a happy nor a sad ending—a little bit of both—which really sheds light on the reality of the tale. Fans of Salt to the Sea, From Sand and Ash, or The Nightingale would love this—because I love those books and God knows I absolutely adore this book. All in all, this book is one staggering, jaw-dropping tale and I think it’s time people remembered the story of Giuseppe Lella.

Nov 29, 2017

Took me awhile to get into this book - but it did hook me in! Was very impressed with the character and story!

Nov 13, 2017

This book has gotten A LOT of 5 star reviews over on that big, book online site. However, I wasn't impressed and am going against the flock of rave reviews.

I prefer to read non fiction because whenever I read fiction, the stories seem to be too fake/implausible.

I got this book because from what I had read about it, I thought it was non fiction, but in the Preface the author admitted it is fiction.

Also realizing the author co-wrote books with James Patterson did the opposite of impressing me.

The book is a fast read due to many conversations [I think I read the first 100 pages in a hour].

To me, it reads like a youth, Coming Of Age novel with a low quality of writing.

So, if you are interested in reading about a girl crazy boy in a simplistic written, far fetched novel, this is for you.

Oct 12, 2017

Such a promising premise, so poorly realized. The story of Pino Lella, a young adult in the later years of WWII Italy, who apparently experienced more adventures in a two year period than even the most accomplished spy, resistance or military hero (all boiled down in one person), offered a wealth of material for the break out WWII novel of the year. Even a high number of 5 star reviews backed this promise up.

The result does not live up to the promise or the hype.

If you are in the market for a pedestrian action novel written on a high MG/low YA level, this may be the book for you.

If you are looking for an insightful novel with characters (yes, I know the people were real, but it's fiction, therefore, they are characters) who are well-developed and come to life, you probably want to skip this one. There is a lot of action, but little of it is suspenseful. There is a lot of injustices and death, but it is written with little emotional depth. There are periods of soul searching and reflection, but all felt like they were boxes the author needed to check - crisis of conscience? got it in there, I'm good to go...

WWII novels are hot right now and there are many, many wonderful ones out there. Read one of those.

Sep 28, 2017

Best Historical Fiction I've read in a long time.

Aug 13, 2017

I appreciate the author taking the time to do his research. The story is told not from what the author thought, but from the heart of the forgotten hero.

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