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An Excerpt from Lilia by Linda Ganzini

Writing.ie | Magazine | Mining Memories | Tell Your Own Story
Lilia Ganzini

Linda Ganzini

Maria awoke to a choir of voices pouring in through the open window. Her eyes rolled open and glazed over; the rosary was still wrapped around her hand. The clamoring grew louder as a villager hollered at the gate.

“Maria! Maria! Look who’s coming! It’s your son!”

A rush of adrenaline coursed through her body. “Erminio!” In a moment of befuddlement, his name sounded on her lips, but Maria caught herself—it had to be Arturo.

My God, could it be?

She threw the covers off, hurriedly pulled on her clothes, and stumbled out into the hall, banging against the walls as she dashed downstairs. Her euphoric cries echoed through the house.

“Lilia! Boys! Wake up—Arturo is coming!”

Maria’s excitement stirred everyone around her. She blew open the front door.

“Virginio! He’s coming!”

Virginio had already dropped his tools and tore out of the barn and into the street. Breathless, Maria ran behind him. Her arms flailed and tears of joy and disbelief poured from her eyes as they strained into the distance. After weeks of prayers and the chaotic retreat of thousands of soldiers, Arturo was making his way down Via della Chiesa, leading the last of the troops. He was thinner and ragged, dressed in civilian clothing and covered in dirt and mud. His eyes appeared smaller and looked tired. He had been transformed. Maria saw lines in his face she had never seen before, but to her, Arturo was as beautiful a vision as ever.

“Oh my God, my son! My son!”

The dark visions of war were instantly yanked out of Arturo the moment he saw Maria. It was like walking through one of his many dreams, but this time it was real.

Arturo embraced his mother, who unraveled in his arms like a spool of delicate lace. “It’s all right, Mama. Don’t cry.” Her warmth and love radiated through his entire body.

“Papa!” Arturo looked up to see his father’s tear-streaked face break into a grin.

“My boy!” Virginio pulled him into a tight embrace.

“It’s good to be alive, Papa,” Arturo whispered, tears stinging his eyes for all the time they’d missed. “It’s good to be home.”

Lilia felt her entire world burst into sunshine as she ran into her big brother’s arms, the young boys flanking her sides. Everything felt brighter, crisper. The greyness of the landscape gave way to color.

“Arturo! I knew you would come back!”

“I always keep my promises.” A smile he had not felt in over a year cracked on Arturo’s face as he caressed Lilia’s hair. “How’s my favorite girl? And look at you, boys! How big you’ve grown!” Arturo pinched Bruno’s cheeks, and with the last of his strength, threw Giovanni and Riccardo over his shoulders, generating a chain reaction of laughter.

This long-awaited family reunion was a sight to behold for villagers, who watched in adoration. Amid the celebration, Maria dropped to her knees to kiss the ground. “Thank you, Lord, for answering my prayer . . . for bringing him home.”

(c) Linda Ganzini

About Lilia by Linda Ganzini:

Author Linda Ganzini offers a powerful page-turning novel of her mother’s inspiring true story in the tradition of Markus Zusak, The Book Thief, and Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl.

Lilia is an emotionally wrenching coming-of-age and compelling family drama. Trapped under Mussolini’s reign and Hitler’s occupation, this riveting tale is propelled by a brave girl’s courage and a family’s bond as they struggle to survive the battle between the forces of evil and the power of love.

Where there is love, hope remains.

Against the backdrop of fascist Italy during World War II and the Holocaust, Lilia sets the stage for the harrowing story of a family whose depth of heart overcomes a war tearing them apart—years marred by unfathomable tragedies, immense loss, upheaval, and countless betrayals.

Lilia resigns herself to a world crushed by misery, abject poverty, and a broken, bitter mother who suffered insurmountable grief. The burden of war, loneliness, and adult responsibilities rob her of a carefree childhood. Witnessing her parent’s challenge to stay alive during the Nazi occupation becomes Lilia’s greatest sorrow, one she makes the most heroic efforts to conceal. Ultimately, tragic loss and unanswered prayers dim the flame of her belief in the future. Will a seed of love reignite Lilia’s faith leading her towards an unforgettable and inspiring triumph over tragedy? Or will the dark shadow of war plague her destiny forever?

This poignant account will transport you to a lost moment in history that irreversibly changes a quaint Northern Italian village, transforming its people for generations to come. Through the eyes and fearless spirit of a young girl, Lilia’s family story comes to life on the page, and it will remain in your heart long after you finish the final chapter.

Order your copy online here.

About the author

Author Linda Ganzini is a natural-born creative. At a young age, she discovered her talent for art and singing. Over the years, she immersed herself in painting, writing lyrics, recording music that garnered international recognition, and would go on to earn awards for her graphic design work. A native of Canada, who spent her summers in Italy, Linda caught the travel bug and embarked on the adventure of living and working abroad in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. In addition to her artistic work, traveling, and exploring the great outdoors, one of Linda’s deepest passions is bringing her family’s story to life, creating a legacy for them, and providing a voice for the voiceless. Her award-winning book Lilia is a homage to her family and their history. She makes her home on beautiful Okanagan Lake, Canada. www.lindaganziniauthor.com

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