Hello, Sunshines, I have the massive pleasure to be sharing my review of the stunning; Into The Burning Dawn by Natalie Meg Evans, full disclosure I was scheduled to share this review as apart of the blog tour last week, yet due to a demonic 10-week old pup, no sleep and being used as a teething ring, I totally forgot..Ooop’s apologies!! So, here it is, better late then never I suppose, anyway I can’t wait to share this gorgeous book with you all. Firstly, I want to say thank you to Sarah and Noelle at Bookouture for inviting me to this blog tour.
Into The Burning Dawn by Natalie Meg Evans
Genre: WW2 Historical Fiction
In the terrace courtyard of the palazzo overlooking a sparkling bay, the scent of ripening lemons filled the air. His deep brown eyes gazed into hers with determination and longing. ‘Will you do it? Risk everything and join us?’
Twenty-one-year-old Imogen Fitzgerald was raised in an English orphanage and never knew her parents. So when World War Two breaks out, she refuses to leave the life she’s worked so hard to build for herself, teaching English to little Marco and Eloisa in the beautiful Italian city of Naples. With their father Giancarlo away fighting for the fascists, there’s no one else to care for these lost children. Imogen’s dark hair and perfect Italian will protect her for now, but if anyone discovers her secret identity as an enemy of Italy, Marco and Eloisa will be left with no one.
As the shadows of bomber planes darken the azure-blue waters of the bay, the one person Imogen can depend on is Fabrizio, the children’s uncle. He’s never seen eye-to-eye with their father, and Imogen is forbidden to speak to him… but whenever they secretly meet in the lemon groves Imogen instantly feels safe. Fabrizio talks passionately of the resistenza, the underground group fighting the regime, and soon Imogen herself is involved – smuggling food along the rocky coast, and even supplying information on Giancarlo to help fight the Nazis and end this awful war.
But when Giancarlo suddenly returns, injured from the fighting, Imogen is shocked to find him much changed. Rather than the fascist sympathiser she knew and resented, she sees in Giancarlo a man who would do anything to protect his children and his beloved Italy. Was she wrong to expose him as a traitor?
Torn between two sides, Imogen’s own life is thrown into terrible danger when a child goes missing and her secret identity is exposed… did she put her trust in the wrong man? And is it too late to save herself, and the children from the horrors of war?
An absolutely stunning and evocative historical read about the bravery of ordinary people in dark times, that will sweep you away to the breath-taking coastline of Italy. Perfect for fans of The Nightingale, The Tuscan Child and All the Light We Cannot See.
Buy link here – Amazon
This is a powerful story of endurance, of determination, of courage in the face of so much evil. I am a massive fan of WW2 fiction, especially those which revolve around the resistance the stories that come out of such atrocities about brave men and women doing their all for freedom and justice is inspiring. Into the Burning Dawn is just that, it’s heartbreaking, haunting and a beautiful nod to those who risked everything for hope and love.
I’ve not read any of Natalie Meg Evans’ books before this and I seriously think I have been missing out on something very special indeed, I adore her attention to detail, her creative and passionate writing. It’s obvious that Natalie has a real love of this era, that love for the story comes through as you read and become so emotionally involved with the characters. I have already added some of her backlist to my wish-list, they all look amazing!
Set during the onset of the second world war, English governess; Imogen is in Italy right at this moment, she is the governess to the children of an Italian aristocrat. She loves little Marco and Eloisa like they were her own, their father; Giancarlo is off fighting with the fascists and act that can bring so much danger to their door, but she refuses to leave the life she has built for herself just become the country she calls home is now embroiled in this deadly war. She stands firm and stays, with her dark colouring and native sounding Italian she can easily pass as an Italian, but if people should find out who she really is she, Imogen is in deep danger. Imogen is a brave young woman, a little naïve to the world around her but I really liked and admired her courage in the face of so much danger, she wants to do right, she wants to help but she may have made a few mistakes along the way.
Imogen grows increasingly close to Giancarlo’s brother; Fabrizio who as different from his stern older brother as night is from the day. Imogen relies on Fabrizio, she trusts him like she trusts no other and the more they spend time with each other; albeit secretly under the cover of the Lemon grove she soon finds herself not only falling for the handsome man who tells her tales of the resistenza but she admires his courage. Their secret relationship is forbidden, but as we all know forbidden liaisons often become the most passionate, but in this case, there is a far more important thing’s happening. Imogen is seeing the unjust and the wrongs that are happening all over the country, she is hearing the most awful stories and wants to help, she is soon involved with the resistenza from supplying food to information.
But, she soon becomes torn as Giancarlo returns home wounded and completely changed from the man she had thought him to be, has she accused him wrongly? Did she really do the right thing when she was passing all those secret messages about him to the resistenza? I won’t spoil it but I will say that the brothers aren’t what they seem, it’s neither black nor white with them, what we thought may not be how it seems and this is exactly what Imogen discovers as the story moves steadily towards the climactic finale.
I was completely torn between the brothers just as Imogen was, at first I wasn’t a huge fan of Giancarlo he was far too rigid and stern for my liking, but when he returns home we see that he is a noble, honourable, intelligent in a way I felt a little sorry for him as he was looked upon in certain ways and judged too harshly. I think all he did was for his family and for his country, and yes I was drawn to him a little more he intrigued me.
Where-as as the younger brother stole my attention and my breath away the moment he first appeared, he is charismatic, cheeky, devil may care, he reminds me a little of James Dean; there is a certain rebellious twinkle that makes the heart aflutter – not to mention riding around the Italian countryside on that old motorbike. Yup, this Italian stud is a heart-breaker! And yet as we soon learn and as Imogen soon learns we should never judge a book by its gorgeous shining cover, there is more to this man.
I thoroughly enjoyed this, it’s a little long and drawn out at times but the story is story immersive and engaging you can easily look past those long-winded chapter’s. If you love the likes of Clara Benson, Alison Richman and Andie Newton then you are going to devour this one.
Overall, Into the Burning Dawn is a mesmerizing, poignant, emotional, gripping, passionate and compelling novel, the writing is powerful and evocative, the plot stuns and enthrals and the characters are intriguing. I cannot recommend this enough.
About the Author
Natalie is a RITA nominated, USA Today Bestselling author of six novels: The Dress Thief, The Milliner’s Secret (re-titled “The Girl who Dreamed of Paris”), The Wardrobe Mistress, Summer in the Vineyards, The Secret Vow and most recently, The Paris Girl. Look out for a heartwrenching WW2 inspired novel set in Italy, due out Autumn 2020.
Visit her website at https://www.nataliemegevans.uk
Natalie Meg Evans has had a varied career, first as an actor in London’s fringe theatre, then as a PR exec and company director and finally, dream achieved, as a full-time writer. She lives with two very lively dogs in rural mid Suffolk.
Natalie has collected numerous awards for her writing including the UK’s Harry Bowling Prize (2012). The Dress Thief was nominated for a coveted RITA Award by Romance Writers of America and it won the Greek Public Book award for the best foreign novel; also, the UK’s Festival of Romance readers award (where readers rather than industry professionals select and judge). The Milliner’s Secret was shortlisted for the same award.
Natalie was also nominated for the coveted Daphne du Maurier award and was named a finalist for a Romance Writers of America Golden Heart award.
Natalie’s titles are available as Spoken Word. She loves to hear from readers.