100 books like Love and War in the Apennines

By Eric Newby,

Here are 100 books that Love and War in the Apennines fans have personally recommended if you like Love and War in the Apennines. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of A Room with a View

Alice Leccese Powers Author Of Italy in Mind: An Anthology

From my list on falling in love in (and with) Italy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am passionate about the written word and effective communication. My articles and reviews have been published in major newspapers and magazines and for two decades I taught writing on the university level. Travel writing is a subset of my experience as editor of the best-selling In Mind literary anthologies and editor and writer for more than a dozen guidebooks. In addition, I have been “first reader” and editor for prospective authors and shepherded several books to publication, the most recent Red Clay Suzie by first-time novelist Jeffrey Lofton (publication January 2023). 

Alice's book list on falling in love in (and with) Italy

Alice Leccese Powers Why did Alice love this book?

Pick up E.M. Forster’s A Room with a View and cue a Puccini aria. British author Forster wrote a lavishly romantic novel with a transgressive theme. Heroine Lucy Honeychurch struggles against her straitlaced Victorian background until a trip to Florence loosens her inhibitions. Does she marry her fiance, the arrogant Cecil Vyse or the Bohemian socialist George Emerson? Although the ending may be obvious, it is the vicarious trip through early 20th-century Tuscany—complete with a kiss in a field of violets—that is the delight. 

By E.M. Forster,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked A Room with a View as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When I think of what life is, and how seldom love is answered by love; it is one of the moments for which the world was made.

Lucy Honeychurch travels to Florence, Italy, with her cousin and they were assured they would receive a room with a view of the River Arno, but instead are given a room overlooking a dull courtyard. A one Mr. Emerson and his son George offer their room, which as the desirable view, to the two ladies. From this opening sequence, A Room with a View sets off following young Lucy as she navigates through…


Book cover of Angels & Demons

E. Chris Ambrose Author Of The Mongol's Coffin

From my list on weaving adventure and history.

Why am I passionate about this?

As an art school drop-out who'd been majoring in sculpture, I'm fascinated by material culture—artifacts created by early peoples that reveal their cultural values. Often, the relics and sites that engage both archaeologists and readers suggest unexpected depths of knowledge that show human ingenuity through the ages. I strive to incorporate the details of an artifact or monument's creation into the clues and descriptions in my work, hopefully illuminating a little-known historical realm, if only by torchlight as the adventure unfolds. The fact that I get to explore so many exotic locations, in research if not in person, is a definite plus!

E. Chris' book list on weaving adventure and history

E. Chris Ambrose Why did E. Chris love this book?

While most people associate Dan Brown with his more famous work, The DaVinci Code, this first novel in his Robert Langdon series really founded the archaeological thriller genre.

I loved how this book transports readers to the milieu so thoroughly that it was a bit of a spoiler when I recognized one key location from my own time in Rome before the secret was revealed—but that's a testament to how well he conveys the scene! Brown invites us behind the scenes of secret societies, sharing insider information to raise the stakes.

I had the great good fortune to take a workshop with Dan just before DaVinci Code came out, and benefit from his enormous skill as a teacher. The man tells a ripping yarn, full of puzzles that blend fact and fancy. 

By Dan Brown,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Angels & Demons as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

CERN Institute, Switzerland: a world-renowned scientist is found brutally murdered with a mysterious symbol seared onto his chest.

The Vatican, Rome: the College of Cardinals assembles to elect a new pope. Somewhere beneath them, an unstoppable bomb of terrifying power relentlessly counts down to oblivion.

In a breathtaking race against time, Harvard professor Robert Langdon must decipher a labyrinthine trail of ancient symbols if he is to defeat those responsible - the Illuminati, a secret brotherhood presumed extinct for nearly four hundred years, reborn to continue their deadly vendetta against their most hated enemy, the Catholic Church.

Origin, the spellbinding…


Book cover of A Farewell to Arms

Gioia Diliberto Author Of Coco at the Ritz

From my list on the complicated choices facing women in war.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a writer of seven historically themed books, fiction and nonfiction, I’ve loved the intense, deep dive into World War I, World War II, the Civil War, and the Paris Commune that researching my books entailed. It’s been particularly fascinating to explore how women, whether on or near the front lines, or on the home front, negotiate life during war and how their behavior illuminates character. My protagonists are all women, and I’ve found that writing their lives offers a sharp opportunity to see the moral ambiguities of war. What’s more, their stories often transcend the personal to symbolize the spirit of a particular time and place at war.

Gioia's book list on the complicated choices facing women in war

Gioia Diliberto Why did Gioia love this book?

My favorite of Hemingway’s books, this great anti-war novel about a passionate love affair between a young, wounded soldier and the beautiful nurse who cares for him, never loses its power for me despite repeated readings.

I admire not only the book’s lyrical writing, exquisite observations and heartbreaking story, but also how the horror of what men are experiencing on the battlefield is mirrored in the tragedy of Catherine’s death in childbirth.

By Ernest Hemingway,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked A Farewell to Arms as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ernest Hemingway's classic novel of love during wartime.

Written when Ernest Hemingway was thirty years old and lauded as the best American novel to emerge from World War I, A Farewell to Arms is the unforgettable story of an American ambulance driver on the Italian front and his passion for a beautiful English nurse. Set against the looming horrors of the battlefield, this gripping, semiautobiographical work captures the harsh realities of war and the pain of lovers caught in its inexorable sweep.

Hemingway famously rewrote the ending to A Farewell to Arms thirty-nine times to get the words right. A…


Dormice & Moonshine: Falling for Slovenia

By Sam Baldwin,

Book cover of Dormice & Moonshine: Falling for Slovenia

Sam Baldwin Author Of Dormice & Moonshine: Falling for Slovenia

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm an Englishman who fell in love with a 300-year-old former sausage curing hut on the side of a Slovenian mountain in 2007. After years of visits spent renovating the place, I moved to Slovenia, where I lived and worked for many years, exploring the country, customs, and culture, learning some of the language, and visiting its most beautiful places. I continue to be enamored with Slovenia, and you will regularly find me at my cabin, making repairs and splitting firewood.

Sam's book list on books about Slovenia

What is my book about?

When two brothers discover a 300-year-old sausage-curing cabin on the side of a Slovenian mountain, it's love at first sight. But 300-year-old cabins come with 300 problems.

Dormice & Moonshine is the true story of an Englishman seduced by Slovenia. In the wake of a breakup, he seeks temporary refuge in his hinterland house, but what was meant as a pitstop becomes life-changing when he decides to stay. Along the way, he meets a colourful cross-section of Slovene society: from dormouse hunters, moonshine makers, beekeepers, and bitcoin miners, to a man who swam the Amazon, and a hilltop matriarch who…

Dormice & Moonshine: Falling for Slovenia

By Sam Baldwin,

What is this book about?

'Charming, funny, insightful, and moving. The perfect book for any Slovenophile' - Noah Charney, BBC presenter

'A rollicking and very affectionate tour' - Steve Fallon, author of Lonely Planet Slovenia

'Delivers discovery and adventure...captivating!' - Bartosz Stefaniak, editor, 3 Seas Europe

When two brothers discover a 300-year-old sausage-curing cabin on the side of a Slovenian mountain, it's love at first sight. But 300-year-old cabins come with 300 problems.

Dormice & Moonshine is the true story of an Englishman seduced by Slovenia. In the wake of a breakup, he seeks temporary refuge in his hinterland house but what was meant as…


Book cover of From Scratch: A Memoir of Love, Sicily, and Finding Home

Alice Leccese Powers Author Of Italy in Mind: An Anthology

From my list on falling in love in (and with) Italy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am passionate about the written word and effective communication. My articles and reviews have been published in major newspapers and magazines and for two decades I taught writing on the university level. Travel writing is a subset of my experience as editor of the best-selling In Mind literary anthologies and editor and writer for more than a dozen guidebooks. In addition, I have been “first reader” and editor for prospective authors and shepherded several books to publication, the most recent Red Clay Suzie by first-time novelist Jeffrey Lofton (publication January 2023). 

Alice's book list on falling in love in (and with) Italy

Alice Leccese Powers Why did Alice love this book?

If you’ve watched the recent Netflix series about Tembi Locke and her Sicilian chef husband, you only know half the story. Locke’s memoir, beautifully told, concentrates on (spoiler alert) her healing after her husband’s death. Recently widowed, she traveled to her husband’s tiny Sicilian village to inter his ashes. Although in many ways she dreaded going to Sicily (and her mother-in-law’s house) she is drawn to a simpler way of life from the one she has in Los Angeles. For several succeeding summers she and her daughter return to her husband’s hometown in which little has changed for centuries. Except for the local priest from Africa, they are the only people of color. Locke’s journey is one from despair and exasperation to healing and appreciation.

By Tembi Locke,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked From Scratch as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Soon to be a limited Netflix series starring Zoe Saldana!

This Reese Witherspoon Book Club Pick and New York Times bestseller is "a captivating story of love lost and found" (Kirkus Reviews) set in the lush Sicilian countryside, where one woman discovers the healing powers of food, family, and unexpected grace in her darkest hours.

It was love at first sight when actress Tembi met professional chef, Saro, on a street in Florence. There was just one problem: Saro's traditional Sicilian family did not approve of his marrying a black American woman. However, the couple, heartbroken but undeterred, forged on.…


Book cover of One Italian Summer

Tonya Penrose Author Of Venetian Rhapsody

From my list on featuring a time-travel romance or relationship.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've been fascinated with time travel since I was young, and that's been a few moons. When the idea came to write books that play with time and space and cloak them in a romantic comedy, I got in my favorite writing chair to see who showed up with a story. I want to entice readers to take the journey, pondering suppose we could time travel? I think time is malleable, at least in my characters' hands. And they've done an excellent job of keeping me intrigued with their escapades in the past and present. I hope you enjoy the books I chose to recommend as much as I did. 

Tonya's book list on featuring a time-travel romance or relationship

Tonya Penrose Why did Tonya love this book?

I took a bit of a side trip away from romance in selecting, One Italian Summer, though love threads through this story.

The bond between mother and daughter can never be truly severed. From that premise, One Italian Summer throws open the door for a reader to experience a time slip where it's possible to reconnect with someone who has passed.

The author adds a magical twist and manipulates time to where the character, Katy, meets her deceased mom, then a younger woman in Italy. The author gifts the reader with a beautifully told, heartfelt story. 

By Rebecca Serle,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked One Italian Summer as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

“[A] magical trip worth taking.” —Associated Press

“Rebecca Serle is a maestro of love in all its forms.” —Gabrielle Zevin, New York Times bestselling author

The New York Times bestselling author of In Five Years returns with a powerful novel about the transformational love between mothers and daughters set on the breathtaking Amalfi Coast.

When Katy’s mother dies, she is left reeling. Carol wasn’t just Katy’s mom, but her best friend and first phone call. She had all the answers and now, when Katy needs her the most, she is gone. To make matters worse,…


Book cover of Early One Morning

Anna Valencia Author Of The Chestnut House

From my list on transporting you to the magic of Italy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I may be English by birth, but my soul has always felt Italian! I have lived and worked in Italy for many years, first in Rome, then Milan, and finally Tuscany when we fell in love with an abandoned farmhouse. I wrote The Chestnut House while we were living in the mountains of the Garfagnana in northern Tuscany, inspired by the wartime stories our neighbours shared with us. For me Italy is the perfect country—great weather, food, wine, language, and culture! I love both reading about it, and writing about it. I hope you enjoy the books on my list as much as I have!

Anna's book list on transporting you to the magic of Italy

Anna Valencia Why did Anna love this book?

I lived in Rome for one summer, and am in love with the Eternal City. This book transported me not only to Rome but back to the wartime era, and I was gripped. I loved the poetic descriptions of the city and the surrounding countryside, and the characters were strong and believable. At the core of the novel is an agonising choice a young Jewish mother has to make, and the pain of that moment has stayed with me ever since. This novel is not only a joy to read but taught me more about what Italians went through during the Second World War. 

By Virginia Baily,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Early One Morning as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Two women's decision to save a child during WWII will have powerful reverberations over the years.

Chiara Ravello is about to flee occupied Rome when she locks eyes with a woman being herded on to a truck with her family. Claiming the woman's son, Daniele, as her own nephew, Chiara demands his return; only as the trucks depart does she realize what she has done. She is twenty-seven, with a sister who needs her constant care, a hazardous journey ahead, and now a child in her charge.

Several decades later, Chiara lives alone in Rome, a self-contained woman working as…


Book cover of The Postcard from Italy

Anna Valencia Author Of The Chestnut House

From my list on transporting you to the magic of Italy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I may be English by birth, but my soul has always felt Italian! I have lived and worked in Italy for many years, first in Rome, then Milan, and finally Tuscany when we fell in love with an abandoned farmhouse. I wrote The Chestnut House while we were living in the mountains of the Garfagnana in northern Tuscany, inspired by the wartime stories our neighbours shared with us. For me Italy is the perfect country—great weather, food, wine, language, and culture! I love both reading about it, and writing about it. I hope you enjoy the books on my list as much as I have!

Anna's book list on transporting you to the magic of Italy

Anna Valencia Why did Anna love this book?

I have read several of Angela Petch’s excellent novels, all set in Tuscany. I lived in Tuscany for two years, and her descriptions not only of the countryside but also the characters that inhabit this special part of the world are spot on. This novel kept my interest, was well-plotted, and a real pleasure to read. Her research into the wartime period is well done, and I love the details about how people lived back then. It really is another world. How our modern world integrates with it, and what we can learn from it, is something I feel she explores really well, by introducing the past to the present through her characters. 

By Angela Petch,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Postcard from Italy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Italy, 1945. ‘Where am I?’ The young man wakes, bewildered. He sees olive trees against a bright blue sky. A soft voice soothes him. ‘We saw you fall from your plane. The parachute saved you.’ He remembers nothing of his life, or the war that has torn the world apart… but where does he belong?

England, present day. Antique-shop-owner Susannah wipes away a tear as she tidies her grandmother’s belongings. Elsie’s memories are fading, and every day Susannah feels further away from her only remaining family. But everything changes when she stumbles across a yellowed postcard of a beautiful Italian…


Book cover of The House by the Sea

Anna Valencia Author Of The Chestnut House

From my list on transporting you to the magic of Italy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I may be English by birth, but my soul has always felt Italian! I have lived and worked in Italy for many years, first in Rome, then Milan, and finally Tuscany when we fell in love with an abandoned farmhouse. I wrote The Chestnut House while we were living in the mountains of the Garfagnana in northern Tuscany, inspired by the wartime stories our neighbours shared with us. For me Italy is the perfect country—great weather, food, wine, language, and culture! I love both reading about it, and writing about it. I hope you enjoy the books on my list as much as I have!

Anna's book list on transporting you to the magic of Italy

Anna Valencia Why did Anna love this book?

Set in both Devon and Tuscany—this is my perfect book! I loved the historic story of Floriana growing up near the beautiful villa in Tuscany, and it tied in so well with the modern-day story as well. As always Santa’s books are well crafted and a total joy to read, transporting you to the locations with her evocative descriptions. This makes a fabulous holiday read, and I have recommended it to many family and friends.

By Santa Montefiore,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The House by the Sea as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An irresistibly compelling from the internationally bestselling author Ten-year-old Floriana is captivated by the beauty of the magnificent Tuscan villa that overlooks the sea just outside her small village. She likes to spy from the crumbling wall into the gardens, and imagine that one day she'll escape her meagre existence and live there. One day, Dante, the son of the villa's powerful industrialist owner, invites her inside. From that moment on Floriana knows that her destiny is there, with him. But as they grow up they cross an unseen line, jeopardising the very thing they hold most dear. Decades later…


Book cover of A Bell for Adano

Joseph Guzzo Author Of Mousetrap, Inc.

From my list on inspired me to become a writer and my son a reader.

Why am I passionate about this?

My first job upon graduating from college was working for an invention-marketing firm. This wasn’t my intention; armed with a degree in journalism, I was ready to take on the world. Unfortunately, the country was enduring a recession, and after six months of unemployment, I was happy to be offered a copywriting position. So often during the two years I spent there, I would think to myself, “This could make such a great novel.” It took me a while—and with more than a few rejections along the way—but inspired by the writers and books I’ve included in my collection, I finally got around to penning my own tale.

Joseph's book list on inspired me to become a writer and my son a reader

Joseph Guzzo Why did Joseph love this book?

I was a senior in high school, and my English teacher gave us customized reading recommendations. He thought I might like this book. He had no idea. Though often a serious work—it’s set in World War II Italythis novel exudes charm like nothing I’d ever read. There are books, TV shows, plays, and movies that you may like or even love, but when they charm you? You never forget them. Also, there’s a minor character in the book who shares my last name. I returned the favor in my novel by giving my protagonist the last name Adano.

By John Hersey,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Bell for Adano as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This classic novel and winner of the Pulitzer Prize tells the story of an Italian-American major in World War II who wins the love and admiration of the local townspeople when he searches for a replacement for the 700-year-old town bell that had been melted down for bullets by the fascists. Although stituated during one of the most devastating experiences in human history, John Hersey's story speaks with unflinching patriotism and humanity.


Book cover of The Longest Echo

JuliAnne Sisung Author Of Curse of the Damselfly

From my list on unconventional, courageous women.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was a child, my mother and I shared and discussed Zane Grey books. I loved his portrayal of the past and read every one. My obsession with historical fiction grew, and I wrote my first draft of Elephant in the Room at age sixteen. I’m stuck in the period between 1875 and 1940 because of the simplicity driving life as well as the complexity of larger events changing the world. Wilder, Steinbeck, Twain, all picked me off my feet and set me down in their shoes. I’m not able to remove them. I write about courageous women because we are, whether it’s expressed or is in waiting.  

JuliAnne's book list on unconventional, courageous women

JuliAnne Sisung Why did JuliAnne love this book?

Set in Italy during WWII, Liliana Nicoletti becomes involved in the partisan cause to save her country from the Germans. When her family encounters an escaped POW, she learns what it means to fight the Fascists who are destroying her community and joins the resistance.  

Her mother and sisters shot, mud and blood streaming over her face, she picks up the rifle she hadn’t used in years and vows to find her father. Realistic and horrific, the first half of the tale paints a picture of courage beyond what we imagine possible and of relationships formed from the tangled threads of love and need. After the war, angst mixes with hope as Liliana and James search for the men who slaughtered innocent people. Is justice or revenge driving her?

The author drew me into the story with vivid details and kept me on the edge of my seat with twists and turns. I cared…

By Eoin Dempsey,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Longest Echo as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Against the backdrop of WWII-ravaged Italy comes a powerful and emotional novel of love, survival, justice, and second chances by the bestselling author of White Rose, Black Forest.

Occupied Italy, 1944. In the mountain regions south of Bologna, Liliana Nicoletti's family finds escaped POW James Foley behind German lines. Committed to the anti-Fascist cause, they deliver him to a powerful band of local partisans. But when the SS launches a brutal attack against the Resistance, Liliana's peaceful community is destroyed. Alone and thrown together by tragedy, James and Liliana fight together as Monte Sole burns. Forging an unbreakable bond, they…


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