Our Darkest Night
A novel of Italy and the Second World War
It is the autumn of 1943, and life is becoming increasingly perilous for Italian Jews like the Mazin family. With Nazi Germany now occupying most of her beloved homeland, and the threat of imprisonment and deportation growing ever more certain, Nina Mazin has but one hope to survive—she must leave Venice and her beloved parents and hide in the countryside with a man she has only just met.
Niccolò Gerardi was studying for the priesthood until a wartime tragedy forced him to leave the seminary to run his family’s farm. A moral and just man, he refuses to remain a bystander to Nazi and fascist atrocities. Rather than allow Nina to risk a perilous escape across the mountains, he offers her shelter. To keep her safe and protect secrets of his own, however, Nina and Nico must convince everyone—including his own family—that they are happily married and in love.
But farm life is not easy for a cultured city girl who dreams of becoming a doctor like her father, and Nico’s provincial neighbors are wary of this soft and educated stranger in their midst. Even worse, their distrust is shared by a local Nazi official with a vendetta against Nico. The more he learns of Nina, the more his suspicions grow—and with them his determination to exact revenge.
As Nina and Nico come to know each other, their feelings deepen, transforming their relationship into much more than a charade. Yet both fear that every passing day brings them closer to being torn apart . . .