• The Italian Ballerina

  • A World War II Novel
  • By: Kristy Cambron
  • Narrated by: Barrie Kreinik
  • Length: 10 hrs and 18 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (30 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

At the height of the Nazi occupation of Rome, an unlikely band of heroes comes together to save innocent lives in this breathtaking World War II novel based on real historical events.

Rome, 1943. With the fall of Italy’s Fascist government and the Nazi regime occupying the streets of Rome, British ballerina Julia Bradbury is stranded and forced to take refuge at a hospital on Tiber Island. But when she learns of a deadly sickness sweeping through the quarantine wards—a fake disease known only as Syndrome K—she is drawn into one of the greatest cons in history. Alongside hospital staff, friars of the adjoining church, and two Allied medics, Julia risks everything to rescue Jewish Italians from the deadly clutches of the Holocaust. Soon a little girl who dreams of becoming a ballerina arrives at their door, and Julia is determined to reunite the young dancer with her family—if only she would reveal one crucial secret: her name.

Present Day. Delaney Coleman recently lost her grandfather—a beloved small-town doctor and World War II veteran, so she returns home to help her aging parents. When a mysterious Italian woman reaches out claiming to own one of the family’s precious heirlooms, Delaney is compelled to travel to Italy and uncover the truth of her grandfather’s hidden past. With the help of the woman’s skeptical but charming grandson, Delaney learns of a Roman hospital that saved hundreds of Jewish people during the war. Soon, everything Delaney thought she knew about her grandfather comes into question.

Based on true accounts of the invented Syndrome K sickness, The Italian Ballerina journeys from the Allied storming of the beaches at Salerno to the London ballet stage and the war-torn streets of World War II Rome, exploring the sometimes heart-wrenching choices we must make to find faith and forgiveness, and how saving a single life can impact countless others.

  • Split timeline: WWII and present day
  • Stand-alone novel
  • Book length: approximately 107,000 words
©2022 Kristy Cambron (P)2022 Thomas Nelson

What listeners say about The Italian Ballerina

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

I learned so much about culture in Milan and Rome

Kristy Cambron never fails to write such good novels. No graphic sex or profanity and I love reading about the nazis in Italy.

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    4 out of 5 stars

Compellingly poignant dual time period novel!

This is the first book I’ve read by Kristy Cambron and definitely won’t be the last! I was completely swept away into the past with the beautiful prose. It’s a poignant, powerful, multi timeline story of sacrifice, mercy, and how one life can make a difference in the most difficult circumstances. It jumps back and forth between years before and during WWII and present day, also varying in location from America to England to Italy.

I loved the historical aspects of the novel and endearing characters both fictional and nonfictional who risked their lives to save so many. It’s based on the actual story of Fatebenefratelli hospital in Rome and Syndrome K, a mysterious fictional illness Dr. Giovanni Borromeo invented to protect Roman Jews and antifascists during Nazi occupation.

I had a hard time deciding between a 4 and 5 star rating. At first, the multi timeline was confusing, especially because I listened to the audiobook version. It jumps back and forth between years during WWII and it took a while to straighten out when the events were happening. Once I got used to the writer’s style and the main characters involved, I was riveted and had a hard time putting it down.

The audiobook version is fantastic with a terrific narrator who distinguishes each character brilliantly. The various accents she employed from English to American, to Italian really brought these characters to life. I enjoyed the heart wrenching story told with just the right amount of emotion.

The characters really make this story come alive and I enjoyed how the story of the past affected the modern day. Both Matteo and Delaney are at a crossroads in their lives, wanting to change and do something meaningful. In the past, Delaney’s grandfather Cort is suffering from a feeling of not being good enough and longs to prove himself. The heroic acts which bring the present and past together serve to give meaning and purpose to all involved. It’s definitely a story that will stay with me.

Highly recommend to historical and contemporary fiction fans alike! I received a complimentary copy from the publisher through NetGalley, but also purchased an audiobook copy from Audible. All opinions are my own and I was not required to provide a positive review. 4 1/2 stars.

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Wonderful story!

This is a well written book! Character development is amazing and the story holds your interest from start to finish. Beautifully narrated! I will definitely listen to more from this author and this narrator! Both were excellent!

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  • Christineb
  • 07-18-22

Boring and Tedious

This was a poor storyline I didn't enjoy it found it predictable and tedious