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War Serenade

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When bon vivant Italian opera star-turned-pilot Pietro is shot down during World War II, he nearly loses his life. Worse, he's lost his passion for music and is close to losing his sanity in a soul-crushing prisoner-of-war camp in South Africa when he meets Iris. He has a vision of a love worth dying for-worth living for-and realizes he must find his voice if he ever hopes to find her again.

Iris's dreams are at stake when she meets Pietro. All she wants is for her brother to come home alive from the war and to fulfill her destiny as a costume designer in Hollywood. But this spirited redhead's life turns upside down as her eyes meet Pietro's through the cage of his prison. The world may be at stake, but so is her heart.

Their secretive and daring courtship raises the suspicions of the bully who runs the camp, a scarred and damaged tyrant who once dated Iris. Consummating the couple's almost mystical connection will mean crossing the barbed wire, risking the deadly charge of treason and confronting their worst fears.

Inspired by a true story, WAR SERENADE is compelling, heart-wrenching, sometimes funny and always dramatic as it celebrates the endurance of the human spirit, the evolution of rich friendships, and love's triumph against impossible odds.

462 pages, Paperback

First published February 22, 2018

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About the author

Jill Wallace

5 books22 followers
About the Author:

Jill Wallace was born and bred (her mother would prefer ‘brought up’) in South Africa, and lived the second half of her life in America. She feels like the African baobab or “Upside Down Tree”, with roots that look like branches. Like the confused baobab, she no longer knows where the South African ends and the American begins. She’s comfortable in her duality and hopes like hell it affords her some degree of complexity. A girl can always hope :o)

Sometimes, she loves dogs more than people, chocolate more than good sense, and Netflix binge-watching more than house cleaning (well… make the latter ALL the time!)

Jill’s addicted to writing. Expect her novels to have a South African flair, and no matter the century of her characters, she’ll strive to keep their situations relevant and their emotions real.

Wallace listens to the voices in her head which describe their dilemma and state of chaos. Then she waits, pen poised, to see what they’ll do about it. She records how they find the courage and strength to attain what they really want—be it friendship, peace, acceptance, or everlasting love. That’s the magic that keeps her heart pounding in her throat and her fingers flitting across keys.

Jill started her writing career as a screenwriter. Her first script was twice optioned by producers for movies. When disappointment flooded in and dreams collapsed, an author friend said, “To hell with them all. Write a book.” So, she did. It took her three years.

War Serenade is inspired by a true story about a bon vivant Italian opera star forced into WWII, who is shot down, captured by the allies and sent to a run-down POW camp in South Africa. Broken and longing for death, he sees a spunky red head through the barbed wire and when their eyes meet, she becomes his reason to live. But he is a prisoner, and she, his enemy…

War Serenade won a number of awards, the most recent are the Golden Quill Contest Winner Desert Rose RWA, and Rone Awards 2020, for best audio book.

Zebra, a #1 Amazon New Release, is Jill’s second novel and largely based on her husband’s experiences. Athol grew up in a remote resort in the Drakensberg Mountains of South Africa during the apartheid era and fought in the Bush Wars in the 60’s and 70’s. This literary fiction/historical/action adventure/coming-of-age saga spans 4 decades. Though the times are incendiary, Zebra is not about politics but a divine, true bond of friendship.

Learn more about the author and her books at http://www.jillwallace.com

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Displaying 1 - 13 of 13 reviews
Profile Image for Matt.
3,666 reviews12.8k followers
February 22, 2020
First and foremost, a large thank you to Jill Wallace for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.

I remember Jill Wallace approaching me and asking if I might like to try reviewing this book. I believe she said that one of my Outlander reviews piqued her interest and she thought this might be right up my alley. An Italian soldier held as a POW, the backdrop of South Africa, a love story in the making. It all had the ingredients for a decent read. However, after trying twice to get into the book, I have to put it aside and say that I did not finish. It was neither the writing nor the audiobook narrative, but something just did not hold my attention. I will perhaps try it again down the road, but for now, I must shelve it accordingly.

Out of respect for the fact that I did not finish, I humbly refuse to rate or star this piece.
Profile Image for Deb.
37 reviews2 followers
February 1, 2019
It’s not often that you find a book with such an epic story that takes you away to a far away land and allows you to connect to the characters so vividly. Set in 1942 during WWII in South Africa, the story is about an Italian POW named Pietro and a local girl named Iris, who somehow meet and fall in love despite insurmountable odds. The historical accurate details are well researched, giving you a descriptive picture of the horrors of war and what it was like to be a prisoner during this tragic time in our history. I knew very little of South Africa and its role in WWII. What makes the story even more endearing is that it was based on a true story. A colleague of mine, who knows I’m an avid reader, gave me this book for my birthday and told me her friend wrote it. I was immediately excited to learn she knew a real author! But when I realized the book started off as a screenplay for a movie and author actually knew the characters who were friends of her parents, made me want to jump right in and start the journey of this real-life fairytale. I like books that you can get lost in and feel as if you are right there. This is a wonderful book with a story as big as Gone with the Wind or Dr Zhivago. The author, Jill Wallace, is blessed with a gift of turning words into an elevated plane. I’ll never eat chocolate the same way again without remembering how the author describes Iris’s reaction to a cherished letter from her brother (who is away at war) to chocolate....”It was like popping a last, precious, delicious block of chocolate in your cheek and keeping your tongue in check, so the creamy delight could trickle down slowly, giving your tastebuds bursts of delectable, indulgent satisfaction.” Reading this book is full of such descriptive writing. I was spellbound by it all and was a bit sad when it ended, and that it never became a movie! Thank you Jill Wallace for an excellent story! You are indeed a wonderful artist!
2 reviews
November 10, 2018
More than Romance

This is a good love story but so much more. I love the character development including Antonio,Enzo, Rogers, the two Zulu mothers,the Colonel and even Buffer the dog. The reader learns to love them all.

October 1, 2018
So South African, so World War Two, but also very timeless and universal because true love never fails, never gives up and never runs out. Well written and thank you for a wonderful read.
2 reviews
July 8, 2021

I so enjoyed reading War Serenade and I spent several days escaping my routine ... I actually felt like I was in war torn South Africa in the 1940’s. Mrs. Wallace certainly captured the spirit of the era and brought her characters to life. They were so convincing I felt as if I was there observing this beautiful love story unfold. My hope now is to see this novel in living color on the “big screen”! I think of these characters often and loved the time I spent immersed in this classic tale of man’s inhumanity and a tender love story. I have passed this book to several friends. It is my selection for Fall Book Club. I am so looking forward to reading it again on my upcoming holiday trip!
Profile Image for Sheila.
372 reviews1 follower
April 8, 2018
The author was inspired by a true story from her family and what an incredible story it is, indeed. I'm always a sucker for a love story, and that part of it was enjoyable. My only complaint is the writing style is a bit juvenile. As a quick example "God, he was sexy!" was used multiple times, instead of describing his sexy characteristics and letting the reader decide. A good creative writing teacher should have edited this before publication, but nitpicking aside, it was a fun read.
1,055 reviews12 followers
May 24, 2019
A WWII romance in a fresh setting--South Africa with an Italian POW camp, an opera singer POW, a sadistic and psychotic jailer, and a young woman who longs to be a clothing designer. The supporting cast of characters--Lena and Sophia, especially--are memorable and 3-dimensional.
Profile Image for Tonya.
125 reviews
March 10, 2023
Pietro and Iris have a love story unlike any I've had the pleasure to read before. Despite the dangers of war, terrifying guards, and the threat of death, their love found a way. Truly an amazing work by Jill Wallace. Brava
Profile Image for Kerry Evelyn.
Author 38 books333 followers
August 27, 2020
Masterfully weaved, gorgeously descripted, and heart-gripping tale that belongs on every bookshelf!
9,810 reviews106 followers
February 7, 2022
Based on a true story. Thoroughly enjoyable and heartwarming with romance , even though it takes place during WWll. Worth the read.
Profile Image for Winnie Winkle.
Author 18 books18 followers
April 18, 2022
Wallace has an incredible voice, and this is a book that sweeps you into a world and leaves you craving more when you finish. If you love immersive, gorgeous writing, grab this book.
Displaying 1 - 13 of 13 reviews

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