Thanks for stopping by! I’m delighted to be sharing my review for The Garden of Angels by David Hewson today. With thanks to the publisher for my audiobook via Netgalley. First things first let’s take a look at the description for the book…
At his beloved Nonno Paolo’s deathbed, fifteen-year-old Nico receives a gift that will change his life forever: a yellowing manuscript which tells the haunting, twisty tale of what really happened to his grandfather in Nazi-occupied Venice in 1943.
The Palazzo Colombina is home to the Uccello family: three generations of men, trapped together in the dusty palace on Venice’s Grand Canal. Awkward fifteen-year-old Nico. His distant, business-focused father. And his beloved grandfather, Paolo. Paolo is dying. But before he passes, he has secrets he’s waited his whole life to share.
When a Jewish classmate is attacked by bullies, Nico just watches – earning him a week’s suspension and a typed, yellowing manuscript from his frail Nonno Paolo. A history lesson, his grandfather says. A secret he must keep from his father. A tale of blood and madness . . .
Nico is transported back to the Venice of 1943, an occupied city seething under its Nazi overlords, and to the defining moment of his grandfather’s life: when Paolo’s support for a murdered Jewish woman brings him into the sights of the city’s underground resistance. Hooked and unsettled, Nico can’t stop reading – but he soon wonders if he ever knew his beloved grandfather at all.
The Garden of Angels audiobook whisked me away to the past and what an experience it was. As ever Richard Armitage narrates wonderfully. Giving a rich performance that captured my attention until the very end.
In The Garden of Angels we meet Nico who receives a manuscript from his grandfather, Paolo. This is the beginning of a journey to the past as both Nico and the reader experiences the events of occupied Venice in 1943. I have to admit that I hadn’t much knowledge of Venice during the war so it was definitely a new experience for me. As I listened it was so very easy to be transported to the past and a dangerous one at that.
When Nico reads his grandfather’s manuscript it was such a completely immersive experience. Making it very easy to be drawn into a dark and dangerous world. Even though the transitions from past to present were pretty seamless. I still had to collect myself after some of the events in the past. This was mainly because I had come to care for the characters. Even more so as the stakes became higher with every decision the characters made. Danger was at every turn creating a tension that increased as the story progressed.
I’m trying to be a little on the vague side when it comes to the plot because I would hate to ruin any part of the story. I highly recommend picking up a copy of this book so you can discover every little detail for yourself. Even more so if you listen to audiobooks. As I listened it felt as if I had been whisked away to Venice albeit at a very dangerous and dark time! The Garden of Angels was wonderfully rich in detail and the experience of listening definitely gave an extra special depth. Throughout this book the reader is immersed completely in the tangled and often secretive lives of the characters. I thoroughly enjoyed this vivid and atmospheric tale. Let’s just say that The Garden of Angels is guaranteed to make it onto my list of top books picks for 2021!