Saturday, February 26, 2022



Florence, Italy, 1943 Gabriella at the young age of fourteen years old, is determined to save her family. Gabriella reaches out to her friend Stefanina, who is a member of the Italian resistance. The two young girls ride their bicycles at night with deadly compromising information in their bicycle baskets. And then one day Stefanina disappears. Many years later in London, 2019, Sofia is grieving the loss of her father, Riccardo, who was a famous painter. Sofia and her mother Isobel decide to set up an exhibit of his paintings. They begin to sort through the paintings that he painted during the war. It was a time in his life that he didn’t like to talk about. He was able to express himself through his paintings. While Sofia and her mother are searching through the paintings, they find that one of the paintings is missing. They are determined to find out everything they can about Riccardo and his paintings. Sofia soon discovers that her father had a sister whom she never knew about. Sofia and her mother fly to Florence to meet her Aunt Gabriella. In a locked bedroom in Gabriella’s house, Sofia finds the missing painting of a girl with a scarlet ribbon. Sofia discovers so much about the story and meaning of the hidden painting. 

I really enjoyed this story. It showed such courage and strength by the people during the war. I like how the small communities in Florence came together to help and support each other to survive at any cost. The author does an amazing job of describing the sights, sounds and smells of the herbs and rose gardens. I have always wanted to visit Florence and my heart went out to the Italians knowing that they also lived through such a horrible and difficult time. This book is both heartbreaking and inspiring as it portrays the hope and courage that so many people had during wartime. I thoroughly enjoyed this rapid page turner and I highly recommend it.

Thank you Suzanne Goldring for such a wonderful story. Thank you so much for your amazing detailed description of Florence. I enjoyed this story very much and I highly recommend it.

Rating: 5 out of 5.




Author:  Suzanne Goldring 
Publisher: Bookouture 
Publication Date: February 25, 2022 
Pages: 419 
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Florence, 1943. A missing painting. A war-scarred city. A brave young girl on a black bicycle risking her life for the country she loved…

As the bells toll and arrogant soldiers torment her family, fourteen-year-old Gabriella is determined to act. She seeks out her old friend Stefanina, an unlikely member of the Italian resistance with her dark curls and scarlet ribbon. Soon the two girls are criss-crossing the river with deadly information in their bicycle baskets. But then one terrible day Stefanina disappears…

London 2019.Sofia is mourning the loss of her father, a famous painter. Desperate to feel closer to him, she begins to go through his paintings of wartime Florence, a time in his life he would never talk about. But then she realises one is missing…

Determined to learn more, she discovers that he had a sister she never knew about. She flies to Florence, the place of his tortured memories, to meet her aunt Gabriella, an elegant old woman living in a palazzo filled with roses. Therein a little bedroom, locked away from the world, she finds the missing painting, a tiny picture of a beautiful girl with a scarlet ribbon.

As Sofia uncovers the story behind the hidden painting, a tale of extraordinary bravery and terrible betrayal emerges. But will understanding her family’s haunted past bring her peace, or further heartbreak?


Following an eventful career as a public relations consultant, specialising in business and travel, Suzanne Goldring turned to writing the kind of novels she likes to read, about the extraordinary lives of ordinary people. Whether she is working in her thatched cottage in Hampshire or her seaside home in North Cornwall, Suzanne finds inspiration in the secrets hidden by everyday life.

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