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Reviewed by Edith Wairimu for Readers' Favorite
In the historical romance novel Greetings from Asbury Park: A World War II Love Story by Luigina Vecchione, a young Italian woman and an American soldier fall in love during his brief assignment in war-ravaged Italy. Even though Mariella is just a teenager, the war has forced her to grow up fast. During the German occupation, her family has witnessed and experienced many brutal scenes. School is the only thing that offers Mariella any form of hope but even that is taken away. There seems to be no end in sight as the war continues to drag on. When news arrives that American forces are approaching Italy, Mariella’s family is filled with hope. Soon after, people line up on the streets to celebrate the end of the war. When Mariella meets Jack, the handsome American soldier, she is immediately drawn to his kindness, but it will be years until they meet again.
Luigina Vecchione develops a brave lead character, wiser than her age, and who is dedicated to her family, the kind of character I could not help rooting for when reading this charming book. Mariella even confronts a German soldier, an action that is impulsive but also incredibly courageous. Mariella and Jack’s story is hopeful but also realistic. It spans a couple of years and during this time, both do not forget the brief period where they met before Jack’s assignment to Japan. Though separated by language and thousands of miles, the two share a powerful bond. The novel is not your usual World War II love story. It is expanded by a traumatizing family secret that Mariella’s family does not want to address and Mariella also goes through other moving events. I highly recommend Greetings from Asbury Park for its imaginative plot and inspiring heroine.