Kristin Beck first learned about World War II from her grandmother, who served as a Canadian army nurse, fell in love with an American soldier in Belgium, and married him shortly after VE Day. Kristin thus grew up hearing stories about the war, and has been captivated by the often unsung roles of women in history ever since. A former teacher, she holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Washington and a Master’s in Teaching from Western Washington University. Kristin lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and children.
Grateful Reader Review by Dorothy Schwab
Lucia and Francesca join the unsung women of history as their story of deep personal conviction and courage born out of fear and love, comes to the forefront in Kristin Beck’s stunning debut novel, Courage, My Love.
Readers will be swept along the banks of the Tiber River, across the piazzas and darting into the alleyways of Rome, as the spine-tingling story of Nazi invasion, Partisan missions, and espionage unfolds beginning in July,1943. Lucia Colombo, the single mother of Matteo, is the only daughter in a family of strong Fascists supporters, who has already lost one son in the war. Her family ties to the government are a constant worry and eventually Lucia must face and overcome the political dangers involved with protecting her son. Francesca Gallo, a polio survivor, and very unlikely “messenger,” is the eventual counterpart in Partisan activities with her fiancé, Giacomo, and Lucia.
Just as Lucia and Francesca sense the Germans around every corner, readers will feel equally anxious for the survival of the Partisans and Jewish families being hidden in convents and hospitals with “Syndrome K”. Each page is turned in suspense to find out if the Allies are indeed, arriving to force the Germans out of Rome. Kristin Beck’s characters are developed with equal amounts of childhood background, family strife, and political alignments. The secondary characters, Partisans, Nazi sympathizers and German officers are written with such depth and personal detail, that readers will find much to admire or even appropriately despise.
Lucia and Francesca find themselves many times “in bocca al lupo”, a wolf at the heels. But despite their fears and uncertainty, they keep on going. Readers will also feel “in bocca al lupo” but keep reading! Courage is rewarded!