Playing With Fire, Tess Gerritsen

Playing With Fire opening line: From the doorway I can already smell the scent of old books, a perfume of crumbling pages and time-worn leather.

My blurb:

Julia stumbles on a music book of gypsy tunes in Rome that she buys to add to her collection. In it is an original piece of music that she plays when she returns to New York. It causes some reaction that makes Julia fear her toddler daughter Lily is out to kill her. When her husband tries to have her institutionalized she runs away to Venice to seek out the owner of the music. When she arrives she discovers a horrible truth. The Jews of Venice were taken away by force and the sheet music tells their story and uncovers a terrible truth.

Playing with Fire:
Julia doesn’t understand what is happening to her daughter, but she thinks she knows what’s causing it. She is terrified for Lily, and for herself, but what scares her more is that no one believes her.
If she is going to help Lily, she will have to find the answers alone, embarking on a search that will take her to the shadowy back streets of Venice.
There, Julia uncovers a heartbreaking, long-buried tale of tragedy and devastation – a discovery that puts her in serious danger. Some people will do anything in their power to keep the truth silent…
My verdict:

I found this book both difficult and beautiful to read at the same time. My Grandmother and her husband managed to escape from Italy during the war, but there were so many who didn’t leave, not believing the horror stories they were being told. The names of all the Venetian Jews killed in concentration camps is on a wall in the ghetto. An area heavily guarded by armed soldiers where you cannot get into the cemetery as it’s behind iron doors and the Synagogues are closed to all but observers on Shabbat and Holy days. There is a constant reminder of Hitler’s atrocity and this book, even though a novel, will help the world never forget.

Tess Gerritsen tells this story, based on true facts, with compassion. I loved walking the streets of Venice with the characters as Venice is all about getting from one place to another and the very disparate islands denoting who lives where.

Publishing information:
ISBN 9780857502940
Format Paperback
Published September 2016

Penguin Random House South Africa sent me this novel to review.

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