The Wedding Officer
Anthony Capella ★★★★★
What an unexpected wondrous story!
When I picked up this novel, in a second-hand store in Scotland, I was not expecting this 1£ book would become a new favourite of mine. Allow me to set the scene: It's 1943 and the beautiful Italy is raged by WII. The Wedding Officer follows the life of a sparky and lively young woman, Livia, and a young and well-mannered English officer, James. The couple struggle against the challenges of the Italian wartime and war effort, and this historical fiction combines love and passion, sorrow and pain, and the beauty of culinary arts that Livia excels.
Magic of threes for this magical book:
1. Entertaining and Fun
I began reading this book out loud to my sister and already during the first few pages, we were both cracking up. The character dynamics within this story, especially between Livia and James, are humorous and witty and characterised by an vast variety of differences in temperaments and personalities. I loved how Livia and James contrast in their policies and engagements, and yet the couple finds balance and agreement together. Each character proposes new conflicts and new possibilities that are entertaining and amusing to read. If you're looking for a good laugh, pick up this novel!
2. Wonderful Characters
One of the greatest elements of this novel are its characters. From Livia's fiery personality to Angelo's resourcefulness, each personality adds depth to the story and purposes thrilling new plot developments. Each character has their own motives and passions allowing the story of Livia and James to encounter and intertwine with a variety of interesting subplots and characters. Also, the antagonists and conflicts of the novel are realistic and well-written. For instance, Alberto Spenza, a corrupt man with a desire to attract and marry Livia, offers unique struggles to the protagonists and presents brilliant cruelty of a villain.
3. Insightful and Educating
Personally, this novel is one of the first novels I have read that takes place during WII in Italy. I enjoyed gaining an entertaining and insightful history lesson of the events of 1943 and 1944, especially the eruption of Vesuvius and the cooperation of the Allies in Italy. Capella's novel manages to bring forth interesting perspectives of the war, such as the increasing prostitution and relations between Italian women and Allied soldiers, without feeling like a tiresome lecture. Furthermore, Capella's writing adopts a smooth flow with a satisfying balance between narration, dialogue, and description. I especially adored Livia's witty and wicked metaphors she used while cooking and baking that were well crafted and thought-out.
Overall, I recommend this novel to all, especially readers looking for a balanced read between serious and playful. This one is for you!
I am so lucky to have found this novel. It's not every day such a pearl is found for just 1£ at a second-hand store.