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Escape to Florence    by Kat Devereaux order for
Escape to Florence
by Kat Devereaux
Order:  USA  Can
Harper, 2023 (2023)
Softcover, CD, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Kat Devereaux's Escape to Florence moves back and forth in time to link the lives of Stella Infuriati, a teen Italian Resistance fighter in World War II, and modern day Tori MacNair, who flees to Florence to escape an abusive husband in Scotland.

At fourteen, Stella joins 'a network of girls and women who carried messages, smuggled illegal publications and false papers, and took essential supplies' to partisan groups in the hills. Though daunted by the torture and death of a close friend, she keeps going, working as well with the village priest. Her parents forbid it, but are mainly concerned about her brother Achille.

In 2019 England, Tori mourns her beloved grandmother, who has left her a small inheritance and a letter, encouraging her to go back to Florence, where they spent happy times together in her childhood. With vehement and continuing objections from her mother and sister Charlie, she leaves her controlling husband Duncan and goes to Florence. There, with the help of handsome lawyer Marco, she learns about her grandmother's past, and works on a book.

She finds a link between her grandmother and Stella's brother Achille, who became a famous racing driver, the Red Devil of the Valdana, after the war. But there's no trace of Stella after 1945. 'She's a ghost.' The puzzle of Stella's fate, as well as Tori's struggle to move beyond her abusive marriage, pull reader interest through this absorbing story.

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