The Artist and the Soldier


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Rattray (David)

I would give the plot of this book very high marks because of its originality, and the various actions scenes are well-done and very interesting to read. Where the story worked less successfully for me was in the love story. There's a lot of "tell" versus "show" and while I feel we learn a lot about the characters' backgrounds and actions, there is less in-depth emotional development of the characters and the dialogue is a bit stilted. In addition, a few plot points seemed Also, Bastian's sister Ilsa is a nurse, who just happens to find Bastian in Italy against all odds.

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I will definitely look forward to Petta's next book. Max supposed Bastian was right. The life they chose to lead, or not lead, was not pre-scripted. They could do with it what they wanted. The thought comforted Max as he drifted off to sleep, next to Bastian, their hands intertwined into a bouquet of fingers. I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review. Review also posted at Gay Book Reviews - check it out! Nov 04, Skirmish rated it it was ok Shelves: lgbtq. World War and the Holocaust but none that I enjoyed more than this one.

The book was outstanding in the sense,that it was about a taboo subject,more so,since taking place in the thirties and forties. Two teenage boys,both living in New York go to a Summer camp,meet and fall in love. They meet once again before going,their separate ways. They meet again in Rome,where one is doing undercover work for his Country and the other is saving hundreds o I. They meet again in Rome,where one is doing undercover work for his Country and the other is saving hundreds of Jews while helping a famous film director with his movie.

Needless to say this book is full of near heart stopping moments and staggering twists and turns. It has many actual facts that did take place on or near the times mentioned in this novel.

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If you are a real lover of WWII fictional History, you will truly enjoy the different avenues of this one. View 1 comment. Apr 12, Michaela Carter rated it it was amazing. Navigating the complex terrain of the friendship, love and sexual awakening of two young men in the shadow of Nazi occupation, Petta summons tenderness, vulnerability and insight. An Artist and a Soldier reminds us what it means to be human in the face of fascism.

A timely book! Apr 05, Malissa rated it it was amazing.

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I received an early copy and had the pleasure of being one of the first readers of the novel. This is a fascinating coming-of-age story about two young men during WWII. Creative and thoughtful, the story's historical background is well researched. It is a quick and delightful read filled with poetic intrigue. Apr 25, Olga Miret rated it really liked it. When I was approached about the possibility of reviewing this book, I was fascinated by the historical background behind it, which I was not familiar with. The author manages to combine a coming-of-age both male protagonists, Max and Bastian, are very young at the beginning of the book and love story with a fascinating historical b When I was approached about the possibility of reviewing this book, I was fascinated by the historical background behind it, which I was not familiar with.

The author manages to combine a coming-of-age both male protagonists, Max and Bastian, are very young at the beginning of the book and love story with a fascinating historical background.

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The two youths meet at a Nazi summer camp in New York. Both their fathers are German and want them to grow up aware of their heritage. Max and Bastian are, in many ways, mirror images of each other, opposites that, indeed, attract. Bastian looks German blond, tall, strong , is impulsive and always excels when it comes to sports, and outdoor activities, whilst Max takes after his Italian mother, is quiet, and has the soul of an artist.

They both suffer trauma and have difficult childhoods, although in different ways. The unlikely pair becomes close and Bastian supports Max when tragedy strikes, although things take a bad turn, and they end up separated by life and circumstances. They go their separate ways, and we keep waiting, convinced they will meet again. Bastian is still daring, impulsive, and is plagued by self-hatred and doubt. Max, who has always been more accepting of his own identity and has become stronger and more determined, has been living in Italy, has studied film, and finds a great opportunity to help Italian Jews.

He takes part in the project of filming a movie under the protection of the Vatican and comes up with the idea of offering them contracts there. De Sica is determined to keep filming for as long as he can to keep all those people safe, and this historical fact provides a fascinating backdrop to the story of the two lovers. She is strong, a fighter, and is determined to find her brother, no matter how far she has to go and what she has to do.

Her experiences as a nurse during the war are gripping, and she keeps working despite terrible personal loss, hardship, and deprivation. Although the love story is central to the book, this is not a light and easy book to read. Apart from the tragedy and the terrible events that happen during the war, there is child abuse, mental illness, bullying, and the novel does not shy away from the unsavoury aspects of life.

The characters are not all good and perfect either, and they sometimes do things that are questionable, while at others they can behave like true heroes. The writing beautifully conveys the emotions of the characters, the setting Rome as an open city provides a great backdrop , and the relationships, without going over the top with the descriptions, and ensuring the story keeps moving at a good pace. Being a big movie fan, I would have liked to read more about the filming of the movie, but the author refrains from getting sidetracked, and the guest appearances by the actors of the film and the interventions by De Sica are all the more enjoyable for being kept under control and not overwhelming the main story.

It is a dangerous world we are living in.


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Did something as inconsequential as film belong in this new world? What we are doing here is not frivolous. It is saving us, our humanity. The ending feels appropriate and fits in well with a love story. It shows that both characters have grown and learned to accept who they are and what their relationship means. Other issues are resolved as well, and although some of the coincidences and the way the characters always seem to be in the right place at the right time require some suspension of disbelief, this does not go beyond the expectations for the genre.

In an end note, the author explains the conception of the story and clarifies that although Max, Bastian, and Ilsa are creations of her own imagination, the historical events and backdrop are accurate, and she has used her fictional characters as a conduit to tell the story. I believe this would be a great selection for book clubs, as there is much to discuss and many interesting aspects that will attract readers of different types of stories.

I recommend this book to readers of historical fiction, especially those interested in WWII, Italian cinema, and love stories with complex protagonists. May 02, mary ann cook rated it it was amazing. I enjoyed the book from the very beginning. I even looked up the German youth camp in the US and saw that it is still in existence today. The friendship that blooms between the two protagonists was intriguing. The book moves at a good pace.

A real page-turner with twists and turns not expected. Truly enjoyable read! Apr 04, Lauren Nalls rated it really liked it.

Samantha Jade - Soldier

The Artist and the Soldier by Angelle Petta, is an original story that incorporates two main historical events that up until now, may have not been well known by many. What an amazing true-life premise for a The Artist and the Soldier by Angelle Petta, is an original story that incorporates two main historical events that up until now, may have not been well known by many. What an amazing true-life premise for a great story! The authentic feel of this camp shines through as Petta weaves a secret romantic relationship between two young men who fall in love there.

A Tale of 3 Marketers: The Artist, The Soldier, The Gambler (Part 1)

This was a great place to bring them together for their first meeting, and to kick off the plot in this story. It made for a compelling read. The author has created an original, well written, and fascinating work that takes me back to one of the most important turning points in modern world history.

Because forbidden love in a time of war is the main point of this work, tension was the one thing I would have liked to feel a little more of, as a result of the relationship Max and Bastian were engaged in. I wanted to feel the absolute danger potential of them getting caught, and to know more about their motivations for engaging in such risky behavior at a time one could have, and probably would have, died for his decision to act upon his feelings of love for another man, if discovered.

Overall I gave this novel 4 stars because of its unique plot, original story, and well-written prose.


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  7. It was a very entertaining read. Oct 05, Andrew rated it did not like it Shelves: historical-fiction , historical-romance , wwii-historical-fiction , wwii-historical-romance , lgbt-trans , notgoodnothorrible , let-down.

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