Messina, Sicily December 28th, 1908.
Seventy thousand people never woke up. Of the first sixty days after the catastrophe, it rained forty-five, making rescue extremely hazardous for the doctors, nurses and rescue crews. When all was said and done, the death toll estimate stood at two-hundred thousand people. Some details in regard to the earthquake have been changed to help the flow of this story. The overall account of this tragedy, however, remains intact. This is a fictional tale based on historical events, yet by no means represents all that happened in Messina.
This book is dedicated to the men and women who sacrificed themselves willingly to help during this great tragedy, and to those who were lost that fateful night.
Encouraged to follow her heart, Lucy James studied hard and became a doctor—a surgeon, in fact—only to be looked upon as inferior in 1908 society. But being ostracized didn’t bother Lucy. She never desired to be a member of the boy’s club. All she ever wanted was to heal the sick and hurting.
When Messina is devastated by an earthquake, Lucy quickly volunteers to help in the makeshift hospital. A fact that raises Dr. Giovanni Castello’s blood pressure. Will he permit her to stay long enough to prove her medical expertise?
Giovanni lives in Messina and chooses to stay and help the people. Working in the horrific conditions, he and the new lady doctor does whatever they can to aid the injured, hungry, and homeless. Giovanni questions Lucy’s presence and safety in Messina’s current condition. He needs men capable of taking care of themselves in a world thrown into chaos, not this woman.
Heart-breaking? Gruesome? Riveting? Yes. Yes. Yes.
Thankfully, Galvano doesn’t leave her characters amid the horrors of devastation but sweeps them to the family home of Giovanni’s ancestors where he and Lucy become better acquainted and find hope for the future. But when they think they’ve found happiness, tragedy strikes again.
Galvano has done an excellent job describing the devastation during this historical event. Her characters are well-rounded and likable. I enjoyed the way she allowed their friendship to evolve through the day-to-day triumphs and heartaches.
I confess, Messina was a pleasant surprise. It’s not your ordinary book. So if your reading time has stalled and you’re looking for an out-of-the-box experience, I recommend Messina.
I was given a copy of this book by the author but not required to write a review.
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Liz Galvano has been writing since she was a little girl. Her stories combine old style adventure and romance with a dash of humor. She loves family, food, animals, and all things Italian. Liz lives with her husband Jeff, two rambunctious dogs, two entitled cats, and a horse who thinks she’s a princess.
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