cover image Our Darkest Night

Our Darkest Night

Jennifer Robson. Morrow, $17.99 trade paperback (400p) ISBN 978-0-06-267497-5

Robson (The Gown) shines with this stellar WWII story. In 1942 Venice, Antonina Mazin, a young Jewish woman, aspires to be a doctor like her father, despite crackdowns by Mussolini’s government on the rights of Jews. As the political winds turn more ominous, Antonina’s father arranges for her to go into hiding in a remote village, masquerading as Nina, the Catholic wife of local farmer and former seminary student Niccolò Gerardi. While their relationship at first is only for show, the two fall in love while working for the Resistance. But when a Nazi officer discovers Nina’s true identity, their lives are placed in jeopardy. The brutal reality and atrocities of war are on full view with devastating clarity. Expert characterizations and perfect pacing are rounded out by lyrical prose (“She lay on her side, stricken, watching the last of the sun fade to nothing, and she waited for the stars to bloom”). This will break readers’ hearts. (Jan.)