The Lion and the Swastika

I won The Lion and the Swastika, by Anna Bruni Benson, in a giveaway on Goodreads. I actually received the book at the end of October, but due to NaNoWriMo, I just now got around to reading it.

This book is basically a coming of age story set during World War II, told from the view point of a young girl, Marina. It is set in Italy, primarily Venice, and includes much history that I haven’t really read about before.

In the beginning of the book, Marina is a young carefree girl. She has grown accustomed to daily sirens, but her life hasn’t seemed to be affected much. Things quickly change as the Nazis/Fascists invade and occupy Italy. Marina is forced to grow-up quickly and even does her part delivering messages and passing information for the partisans. It was during these tasks that she met Guido and fell in love. She is outraged at the injustice and is all to eager to to her part to fight for and defend her beloved country.

Part history, part romance, and part inspiration, this book was very enjoyable to read. Anna Bruni Benson, the author, does state that the story was based on her own experience. However, it is not specified if she based Marina’s character on her personal experiences, or just bits and pieces that she incorported. It would be interesting to know the answer to this question.

I really enjoyed reading this book. I wanted to know more about the characters, especially the budding romance between Marina and Guido. For the most part, it was well written, although there were a few minor typos in the printing of the book. I don’t pretend to be an expert on history, but I do like reading about it, especially through the point of view of characters like Marina.