Eternal - book cover
  • Publisher : G.P. Putnam's Sons
  • Published : 01 Feb 2022
  • Pages : 496
  • ISBN-10 : 0525539794
  • ISBN-13 : 9780525539797
  • Language : English


#1 bestselling author Lisa Scottoline offers a sweeping and shattering epic of historical fiction fueled by shocking true events, the tale of a love triangle that unfolds in the heart of the creeping shadow of fascism.

What war destroys, only love can heal.

Elisabetta, Marco, and Sandro grow up as the best of friends despite their differences. Elisabetta is a feisty beauty who dreams of becoming a novelist; Marco the brash and athletic son in a family of professional cyclists; and Sandro a Jewish mathematics prodigy, kind-hearted and thoughtful, the son of a lawyer and a doctor. Their friendship blossoms to love, with both Sandro and Marco hoping to win Elisabetta's heart. But in the autumn of 1937, all of that begins to change as Mussolini asserts his power, aligning Italy's Fascists with Hitler's Nazis and altering the very laws that govern Rome. In time, everything that the three hold dear--their families, their homes, and their connection to one another--is tested in ways they never could have imagined.

As anti-Semitism takes legal root and World War II erupts, the threesome realizes that Mussolini was only the beginning. The Nazis invade Rome, and with their occupation come new atrocities against the city's Jews, culminating in a final, horrific betrayal. Against this backdrop, the intertwined fates of Elisabetta, Marco, Sandro, and their families will be decided, in a heartbreaking story of both the best and the worst that the world has to offer.

Unfolding over decades, Eternal is a tale of loyalty and loss, family and food, love and war--all set in one of the world's most beautiful cities at its darkest moment. This moving novel will be forever etched in the hearts and minds of readers.

Editorial Reviews

"An accomplished historical novel that is both seeped in period detail and full of relatable characters.... Scottoline is a master at ramping up the suspense."--Washington Post

"In this book of her heart, Lisa Scottoline delivers what her readers expect and so much more, fast-paced intrigue, but also an authentic, tender coming of age tale of three best friends navigating the complexities of fascism, war, political and family strife and romantic competition."--Lisa Wingate, author of Before We Were Yours and The Book Of Lost Friends

"Eternal feels so real you can almost taste the cappelletti, as you get lost in the pages on your glorious and heart-wrenching trip to Italy."--Martha Hall Kelly, author of Lilac Girls and Sunflower Sisters

"Powerful and absorbing…at the heart of the novel is an enduring message, that what's perhaps most heroic in any life is to love fiercely and completely, in spite of loss and betrayal, and even beyond death."--Paula McLain, author of The Paris Wife and When the Stars Go Dark

"With characters who change and grow and enough twists and turns to keep you guessing, Eternal is blockbuster with cinematic intensity."--Christina Baker Kline, author of Orphan Train and The Exiles

"Make a plate of fettuccine, pour a glass of red wine, and settle in with this captivating tale. You will cry tears of sadness and joy. Scottoline's Italian heritage combined with all her diligent research will keep this story in readers' hearts."--Library Journal (starred review)

"A beautiful, heartbreaking, wrenching love story set in the Second World War. It's alive with characters I cared about deeply - including the remarkable city of Rome, itself - and their courage in the face of Fascism."--Chris Bohjalian, author of Midwives and The Flight Attendant

"This nuanced take on WWII Italy offers a variety of perspectives, but at its heart, this is a love story, with heroes lost being warmly remembered and love conquering all….Best-selling crime writer Scottoline successfully changes course in a coming-of-age WWII love story that will entrance fans and newcomers alike."--Booklist

"Scottoline's admirable foray into historical fiction…expertly brings historical events to life. Fans of WWII fiction will be drawn to this immersive, emotional novel."--Publishers Weekly

"Quite a change from Scottoline's bestselling contemporary thrillers: an ambitious, deeply researched historical account of three Roman families caught in the meltdown of Fascist Italy...Heartfelt."--Kirkus Reviews

"A powerfully moving story of loss, loyalty, fa...

Readers Top Reviews

C WhiteJuliette Joff
I could not put this book down. I loved all of the characters and was transported to their time and space. Loved this book
I am used to reading Ms Scottoline’s crime novels. But I also love historical fiction, so I was excited to read this. I could NOT put this one down, and it was an emotional reading experience. It was also an educational experience for me, as I didn’t know much about the Italian Holocaust prior to reading this. Kudos to Ms Scottoline for this epic novel of love, loss and courage in the face of unimaginable circumstances.
amachinistDaniel C.F
The author, who is also a journalist, has written 32 novels. This is her first historical novel based on true events that occurred in Italy just before, during and shortly after the Nazi occupation of the county. In 143 short chapters and an epilogue, the author weaves the lives of three childhood friends and their families. Unfortunately, the dialogues of the main characters are at times pedestrian and repetitive and their actions are predictable. The story line builds up to the October 16, 1943 round-up of 1259 men, women and children in the Roman Jewish ghetto for transport to Auschwitz. At the end of the war, only 12 former residents survived to return. Today a plaque in the ghetto commemorates this event and wreaths are laid at the deportation site every October 16th. Sadly, in 2021, Liliana Segre, a 90 year old member of the Italian Parliament, and a survivor of Auschwitz, with the number 75190 tattooed on her arm, felt compelled to endorse a bill banning, fascist and Nazi parties and propaganda in Italy. She is under police protection and receives scores of hate mail everyday. This certainly underscores the importance of Lisa Scottoline's fictional recounting of fascism in Italy during the war. But, In the opinion of this reviewer, the tragic events of that time deserve a more elegant narrative and characters drawn in greater depth and subtlety.
Those who know me know that I don't like and rarely read romances. I had some reservations about reading this one, but I decided to buy it for my Kindle because I love Lisa Scottoline (I have actually read everything she has written), I like historical fiction for the most part, and I enjoy stories set during World War II because my Dad was a tail gunner in a B-17 in the Pacific during that war. I am on the leading edge of the baby boomers and have an insatiable need to read. So, against my inner cries that this was an unabashed romance, I began to read. OMG, what a story, and told so well (although that part doesn't surprise me, considering who the author is). I have read other historical novels about the war years in Germany, and also in Poland, England, and France, but never before about what happened in Rome. The research is thorough and extensive and the characters were so real that I felt like I really knew them. Yes, I suppose this novel could be described as a romance, but it is so much more than that. In the end, I loved it. I recommend it highly to my reading friends. For a while I was in a book club at a library in south Jersey and about 9 of us went to Lisa Scottoline's beautiful Pennsylvania home and enjoyed her yearly book club party in a huge tent on her property. We met Lisa and her daughter, and even got to tour part of her home. I saw her desk off the kitchen where "the magic happens," that is, where she writes. So much fun for all of us! But I digress. Pick up this terrific book and settle down to read. You will be glad you did.
This was a 10 star book. Fabulous, each character was so vivid. I have been to Italy twice so could picture some of the scenes in the book. I am Jewish and read alot of WW2 and books on the holocaust. Lisa scottoline has outdone herself and I cried and cried. Had trouble putting the book down and now I'm sorry I finished reading it.

Short Excerpt Teaser


May 1937

Elisabetta made up her mind. Marco Terrizzi would be her first kiss. She watched him doing bicycle tricks by the river, riding on his back tire, his head thrown back in laughter, his teeth white against his tanned face. His thick, dark hair shone with pomade in the sun, and his legs were knotted with muscles inside the baggy shorts of his uniform. He rode with joy and athleticism, achieving a masculine grace. Marco Terrizzi had sprezzatura, a rare and effortless charm that made him irresistible.

Elisabetta couldn't take her eyes from him, and neither could the others. They had grown up together, but somewhere along the line, he had gone from boyhood to manhood, from Marco to Marco. That he was terribly handsome there could be no doubt. He had large, walnut-brown eyes, a strong nose, a square jaw, and a broad neck marked by a prominent Adam's apple. He was the most popular boy in their class, and everything about him seemed more vivid than everyone else. Even now, the sun drenched him in gold, as if Nature herself gilded him.

Elisabetta wondered what it would be like to kiss him. She guessed it would be exciting, even delicious, like biting into a ripe tomato and letting its juices run down her chin. She had never kissed a boy, though she was already fifteen years old, and at night she practiced kissing on her pillow. Her tabbycat, Rico, with whom she slept, had grown accustomed to her routine, as cats endure the silliness of young girls.

Elisabetta had no idea how to make Marco think of her as more than a friend. She usually achieved what she set her mind to, getting good grades and such, but this was different. She was too blunt to flirt. She lacked feminine wiles. She had been a maschiaccio, a tomboy, when she was little, which was how she had grown close with Marco. She was trying to become more womanly, but she still didn't wear a brassiere. Her mother said she didn't need one, but the other girls made fun of her, talking behind their hands.

"Elisabetta, help, I'll drown!" Marco raced toward the river, and she was about to call to him, but stopped herself. She had read in a female advice column that denying men the attention they craved drove them mad with desire, so she ignored him, while the other girls responded.

"Marco, no!" Livia called back.

"Marco, be careful!" Angela gasped.

The boys waited to see if calamity befell Marco, but he cranked the handlebars, veering away from the river's edge. They laughed and returned to their textbooks, spread out on the grass. They were doing homework, having come from their Balilla meeting, the party's compulsory youth group. They all wore their uniforms, the boys in their black shirts and gray shorts, and the girls in white muslin shirts and black skirts.

This quiet spot on the riverbank, just north of the Ponte Palatino, had become a hangout of her classmates after school, though Elisabetta typically sat with Marco or Sandro, apart from the other girls. Somehow she had missed her chance to become their girlfriend, and it was too late now, for they rebuffed her overtures. Perhaps they had judged her as preferring the boys, which wasn't true, and she would have loved to have had a good girlfriend. Whatever the reason, Angela and the other girls kept her at a distance, and she tried not to let it bother her.

"Look, Betta!" Marco called again, using her childhood nickname.

"Use my proper name!" Elisabetta called back, from behind her newspaper. She did prefer her full name, as she hoped to become a journalist someday. She practiced her byline at night, too. By Elisabetta D'Orfeo.

"Elisabetta!" Marco rode over, sliding to a stop on the grass. "Hop on my handlebars. Let's go for a ride."

"No, I'm reading." Elisabetta hid her smile behind the newspaper.

Angela rose, brushing grass from her skirt. "Marco, I'll go, take me!"

"Okay!" Marco extended his hand, Angela clambered onto his handlebars, and the two rode off together.

Elisabetta lowered her newspaper, wondering if the female advice column had been wrong. If she wanted Marco, she would have to attract him another way. She sensed she was pretty enough, now that she had grown into her features, according to her mother. Her large, round eyes were greenish-brown, and her shoulder-length hair was a rich brunette, wavy and abundant. Her nose was strong, but proportional to her prominent cheekbones, and her lips were full. Her problem was her bocca grande, big mouth, which proved a disadvantage wh...