The Walls of Lucca

Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
508 Pages
Reviewed on 08/30/2018
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Author Biography

As an Emmy-winning radio and TV broadcaster for football, baseball and basketball, Steve Physioc has been telling stories for 40 years. After a trip to Italy with his wife, Stace, he was inspired to tell a different kind of story — his novels, The Walls of Lucca and Above the Walls. He and Stace live in Kansas City and love to visit and spend time with their children, Ryan and Kevin, and three grandchildren.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Kathryn Bennett for Readers' Favorite

The Walls of Lucca by Steven Physioc takes us back in time to Italy during the First World War. A love story set in tense times while the fascist government of Mussolini is on the rise. Isabella Roselli, a young woman who has spirit and is also spiritual, works to bring down barriers that separate families. Isabella was orphaned and was raised by convent sisters who help her grow into the wonderful young woman she is. Her gifts include an ability to grow things and cook, all coupled with a kind heart. Many in Lucca are also inspired by Isabella’s kind heart for anyone who is hurting. Some of the lives she touches include Franco, a soldier who can't escape the horrors of war, and Angelina, a mother of four who has been widowed by the war.

I love a good historical romance and when you dive into one that is set during one of the worst times in history, you know you will get something that is full of a variety of emotions. Whether the backdrop is right in the war or right after, there are so many feelings and emotions, horror, and the strength it takes to get through and everything else. This book ticks all of those boxes for me. Author Steven Physioc has really managed to find the perfect balance of romance and real life. On a personal level, when I am reading a story I need it to feel as if it could be real in order to really enjoy it.

Isabella is the type of character I immediately understand and feel a connection with. She has had a tough start in life, but rather than allowing it to control her and turn her into a person soured by it, she thrives and turns into someone who spreads love and kindness. I don't want to spoil the story, but I can say if you love a good romance and a good solid story, you will enjoy this one for sure. Isabella has such a fantastic spirit, the kind of girl I could see myself being. Again, to me that makes the best type of book when you feel like you are walking with the characters. I can't wait to read the next book.

K.C. Finn

The Walls of Lucca is a work of historical fiction by author Steven Physioc. Set during the period between the start of the First World War and the rise to power of Mussolini, the plot follows an Italian family in the town of Lucca through their daily lives, romances, trials and tribulations. The central character is Isabella Roselli, who draws others to her with her bright spirit and talent for transforming the plants she grows into fabulous cuisine. Isabella seeks to help those who are hurting in her home town, but in doing do she evokes heartaches and triumphs and discovers the true meaning of family.

Steven Physioc writes with a strong emotional intelligence, especially with regard to the bonds of family love. Whilst the romantic elements of the tale were sweet, I’d say the book is far more effective as a dramatic saga and fans of that genre will not be disappointed. The description of the town of Lucca, its culture, food and people, is lush and engrossing, despite the frightening backdrop of war and Fascism that lurks at every turn. Human nature is explored in a compassionate and understanding manner, and though the novel’s conclusion is satisfying in itself, it also leaves plenty of room for more story in the future. Overall, The Walls of Lucca is a highly recommended read for fans of historical fiction, realistic war dramas and family sagas, encompassing a hopeful message about love and family in spite of the trials which can and do affect us all.

Maria Beltran

The Walls of Lucca by Steven Physioc is a historical fiction novel set in scenic Italy, specifically in the historic walled city of Lucca, during the turbulent years of the First World War. Isabella Roselli, a spirited orphan girl, is raised by the sisters of the Blessings Convent in Lucca, while in Puglia, Franco and Benny Carollo face the reality of being drafted into the Italian army to fight in the looming war. As fate would have it, Isabella and Franco meet each other in the centuries-old Martellino vineyard after the war, where their love for the soil brings them together. Times are difficult, however, with Italy torn between the socialists and the fascists led by the charismatic Benito Mussolini.

Steven Physioc's The Walls of Lucca is a historic trip back to the time when Italy was gripped by the pain of the aftermath of the horrific First World War and the upheavals of Mussolini's rise to power. It is the story of Isabella, a gifted orphan girl, who can seemingly grow anything under the sun and turn the most humble of vegetables into a delicious meal. It is also a glimpse into the psyche of Franco, a farm boy who has experienced first hand the horrors and the futility of war. Author Steven Physioc's writing style is vividly descriptive, so much so that one is transported to scenic Tuscany and, at the same time, it is also historically accurate. The Walls of Lucca is a tale of violence, jealousy, ambition, frustration and fear which makes Steven Physioc's readers learn the real meaning of love, faith, forgiveness, hope and loyalty. This book is certainly a very inspiring read!