If I could have just one more hour with my mother, I’d spend it in a book club with her. My mom first brought me to a book discussion when I was 7 years old. We discussed Evan’s Corner by Elizabeth Starr- Hill with other Moms and Kids at the Syosset public library. I can remember the name and plot of this book from 45 years ago.

By talking about books, we remember them. Discussing books takes us to deeper levels of conversation and brings out topics that would not otherwise come up. I recently read Beneath a Scarlet Sky: A Novel by Mark Sullivan in preparation for a Jewish women’s book group at my congregation.  Although there are oodles of books about WWII and the holocaust this one had a unique story, based on actual events.

Pino is a Catholic teenager in Italy. He tries to ignore the war but finds himself rescuing Jews, joining the Nazis, and spying on the Nazis. I liked the story even more as it went on. I thought about each of the characters: who was good and who was evil and then thought, is anyone one or the other? The books’ focus on the end of the war and the lives of non-Jewish Italians was new material for me. I am looking forward to discussing this story, before it is made into a television movie starring Tom Holland (no relation).

Beneath a Scarlet Sky: A Novel is my favorite type of historical fiction. Actual history is unfolding but in a fictionalized way.  In historical fiction the author can include dialogue and details often not possible in non-fiction.  I don’t think I’ll remember Mr. Sullivan’s novel 45 years from now, like Evan’s Corner but you never know!

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