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The Walls of Lucca

(Martellino series #1)

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  517 ratings  ·  64 reviews
Can love be found in the ruins of war? Find out in this thrilling and inspirational story of hope, redemption and the power of forgiveness in a broken world.

An enchanting debut novel by Steve Physioc

As Italy tries to heal from the shocks of World War I, one young woman brings together a number of strangers from disparate sections of the struggling country’s society.
Kindle Edition, 509 pages
Published March 26th 2018 by CreateSpace
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Average rating 4.13  · 
Rating details
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Nov 21, 2018 marked it as to-read
Shelves: freebie
💝 FREE on Amazon today (11/21/2018)!💝

Can love be found in the ruins of war? Find out in this thrilling and inspirational story of hope, redemption and the power of forgiveness in a broken world.

An enchanting debut novel by Steve Physioc

As Italy tries to heal from the shocks of World War I, one young woman brings together a number of strangers from disparate sections of the struggling country’s society. Isabella Roselli has an inner strength that defies understanding and
Paul DiBara
Feb 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Wonderful story, believable and sympathetic characters, spiritual and moral messages while not being preachy.

Book is written in such a way as to provide the reader with a sense of place (Tuscany Italy), political and social period (fascist Mussolini), and personal crises and relationships.

I thoroughly enjoyed this story. It could be viewed as a story of the spiritual journey of Isabella but that would be too narrow a view. While it does have a pronounced spiritual bent, i
Beth Werner
Aug 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
My husband knows I read constantly, so he was asking me the other night why I've been raving about Steve Physioc's THE WALLS OF LUCCA. The best way to describe it, is... you know when you get a new album and usually it has one or two songs that are great while the rest are just so-so? But every once in a while you come across an album where every song is amazing, and you just want to keep making it louder as it plays. That is special and rare, and that is how I felt as I was reading THE WALLS OF ...more
Feb 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
If possible, I would have rated this 3 1/2 stars; "rounding up" makes it 4 stars. The writing itself is quite good. There are a few editing errors, but not enough to seriously detract from the book. That said, at times the story line is a little thin. Some events don't really hang together, and there were several instances of things/happenings that seemed out of place time-wise. Additionally, the entire book is more than a little preachy. But, having been to Lucca a couple of times, it was fun t ...more
Judy Moe
Feb 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
The book starts with Italy's entry into WWI and the aftermath of that war. I have read little of WWI, being drawn more to WWII historical novels so it was interesting to see a bit of the Italian fight in this war. The army of Italy was guided by ineffective leadership which led to the uprising of Mussolini's full power as head of state. After the war, we are introduced to Isabella, an orphan primarily raised in a convent. Her strong belief in redemption and forgiveness touch many people througho ...more
Just another reader
Oct 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Isabella Rossellini, orphaned by fate, but affectionate by choice, is a lovely protagonist. The story revolves around the timeframe of Italy foraging into WWI. With fascism springing up, Isabella's belief in love and forgiveness touches the hearts of almost everyone she comes across. A heart-warming tale, instilling faith in humanity.
I loved reading this historical fiction work. The narration, depicting yesteryear Italy, was brilliant. The pace could have been better controlled, but that's a sm
Apr 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
It took a bit for me to get into the book, but once I did, it kept my attention throughout.

I was drawn to the story because I have been to Lucca and found it to be an enchanting town. But what kept me reading was the storyline, as we followed several families as they navigate their way through the WWI era, and how it affected Italy. The characters were well-developed, and you learned about them to understand their motivations, actions, etc.

It looks like the book will lead
Julie Good
Feb 26, 2019 rated it it was ok
Not a book for everyone

This book was a good story, but weighed heavily on the side of being a “Christian “ novel. The story was totaled based on the benefits of being strong believer in God, which I am not. The story, however, was fine and I had read it mostly to learn a bit about Lucca and the time period.
Feb 09, 2019 rated it it was ok
Only read if you want to learn of facisim

This story involves a family of winemakers, both the owners of the vineyard and the workers who work for them. The chief character is isabella, who lives unconditionally no matter how many horrible things happen to her and her family. The writing is terrible, very amateur in tone, and the story drags on and on. The only reason for two stars versus one is because of the portrayal of the rise of facisim in Italy which was interesting from a historical per
Feb 22, 2019 rated it it was ok
The beginning of this book was very good but about halfway through it changed. The story became stilted, preachy and repetitive, it also became trite. The writing also seemed to become less professional and less believable. I will not be reading more books by this author.
Feb 18, 2019 rated it liked it
Too much preaching!!!

There was simply far too much preaching, and repetitious preaching that totally turned me off. For me, it ruined the story. Will not be reading any more of his books.
Reader Views
Feb 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reviewed by Megan Weiss for Reader Views (2/19)

Steve Physioc’s “The Walls of Lucca” is a beautifully written tale that takes place in in the years following the end of World War I, when Mussolini’s rhetoric is gaining vast support and fascism is spreading like wildfire. The novel’s protagonist is Isabella Roselli, a young woman raised in a convent who uses her skills as a cook and gardener to sow seeds of love in the lives she touches.

“The Walls of Lucca” is a compelling novel not o
Subhajit Das
Nov 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Walls of Lucca by Steve Physioc

Blurb- Can love be found in the ruins of war? Find out in this thrilling and inspirational story of hope, redemption and the power of forgiveness in a broken world.

An enchanting debut novel by Steve Physioc

As Italy tries to heal from the shocks of World War I, one young woman brings together a number of strangers from disparate sections of the struggling country’s society. Isabella Roselli has an inner strength that defies understanding and her mi
Dean McIntyre
Mar 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Walls of Lucca by Steve Physioc is set in the period from the beginning of World War I to the rise of Mussolini and Italian Fascism. I've read more of the WWII era so I enjoyed being exposed to the history, culture, conflicts, suffering, and politics of this period. The characters are strong, well-developed, and memorable. Isabella is orphaned and comes to live in a convent. Despite the strong Catholic surroundings, she shows a love and affinity for creation, agriculture, cooking, and servin ...more
Jill Miclean
Mar 01, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: wwii
I've been to Lucca so I was excited to read a story in that setting. Unfortunately, what I got was a long, overly detailed lesson in the rise of Fascism in Italy. Isabella's character was interesting in that she was raised by nuns but she also has some very questionable ideas on theology. Not sure if the author was trying to make Isabella into what he thinks a Christian should be, or just doesn't know his bible well enough.

I had a hard time getting into this book and liking the characters. They
Arne Larson
Jun 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I just finished one of the best novels I have read for a long time. "The Walls of Lucca" is a captivating romance novel set in Northern Italy before, during and after the 1st World War. Normally I am drawn to the constant action of espionage/thrillers, but this book held my attention from the beginning to the end. Without giving any spoilers, I thoroughly enjoyed the character development of Isabella, Franco and the entire Martellini family as they struggled to keep the family vineyard together ...more
Debbie Shoulders
Mar 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Isabelle was left as a orphan with the Blessed Sisters Convent in Lucca, Italy. Raised with an extraordinary gift for growing and using plants, she has the gift of a positive outlook despite the challenges of her peasant life style. Into Isabelle's orbit comes Angelina and family, a widowed winemaker's wife, Franco, a haunted man due to his experiences in WWI, and the Martellino family, vineyard owners. Susanna Martellino has a love/hate relationship with Isabella that culminates in most of the ...more
Lucy Martinez
Mar 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Enjoyed this novel

What attracted me to this novel was its setting in Lucca, where in 1999, my husband and I ate a delicious lunch on our way to Pisa. I found the story of Bella and Franco to be very interesting because it combined a story of faith with the culture of the people and with the political situation at that time. I like historical novels because I always feel like I have learned something. Sometimes I felt that Bella was too good to be true, and then I remembered that I knew someo
Diane Lomuscio
Mar 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Incredible story

This book tells a story of Italy starting before WWI. As an American of Italian-Irish heritage this fascinated me. My Grandmother had left Italy in 1907 to marry my Grandfather as a mail order bride. Mr. Physioc gave me some insight into what life was in Italy at the time. But enough about me, this story is marvelously told. The characters come to life as they develop. Bella & Franco will come into your heart & bring laughter & tears. Please read this book, it wil
Mar 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful historical fiction!

This is the first time I've read a Steve Physioc novel and it won't be the last! I chose the book because I love Lucca, Italy. It was a win win because historical fiction is my preferred genre.Little did I realize the treat I was in for! The amazing food descriptions and dinner delicacies caused me to create a new kind of cooking. The descriptive landscapes make me want to go back to Lucca! The amazing challenges about God's love and forgiveness is positively inspir
Mar 11, 2019 rated it liked it
Historical Novel? Family Saga? Treatise on Making Wine? Religious Tome? Cookbook? Revenge Tale?

I can’t decide. The author can’t, either. All of these themes run through the book. It gets heavy-handed at times, and not just because of the venegeful Mussolini acolyte. I did enjoy the characters and their interactions. I almost quit on it, but kept on. The ending was abrupt. Now I know why. There’s a sequel. I won’t be reading it.
Robin Tobin (On the back porch reading)
With the beauty and splendor of a stained glass window, this story shines a kaleidoscope of colors as the characters shine and shadow through the color panels of the story... You can feel and smell the richness of the land and the dew-touched dirt dancing in the wind. It’s undercurrent a delight, as the story unfolds... The characters evolve, blossom and bloom perfectly like the painfully ripe raspberry that falls at the touch of the master gardener’s hand....
Oct 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Walls of Lucca begins the Martellino series by Steve Physioc. Mr Physioc’s talent shines through in this book and I thought it was pretty good. I loved getting to know Isabella. I admired her strength, bravery and determination. I found it interesting to learn a little bit what it would have been like to live in Italy post World War I.

The Walls of Lucca was getting four and a half stars from me. I look forward to the sequel to the Martellino series, Above the Walls, to see what happens next
Mar 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having visited Lucca a few years ago, I read this book because of its title. I was transported to the early 20th Century in the wine growing region. I became involved with the characters, especially Bella, an orphan whose religion is based on love and nature. The politics of the time and Mussolini's rise to power were interesting. Some parts of the plot were predictable, but I accepted the inevitability of the plot twists. Tissues required at times!
brenda morris

I gave this book 2 stars because I liked the storyline and characters. I was very disappointed by how it bounced back and forth between matters of faith and foul language. One minute they're talking about God, then someone is using the F word. It didn't fit. I was also disappointed by the lack of Biblical accuracy. Ideas are passed off as scriptural truth when they are far from accurate. I cannot recommend this book.
Dave Koch
Feb 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Good story with a historical perspective describing the perils of surviving the transition of Italy into the period of domination by Mussolini and his hooligans. Beware of aspiring dictators who build their power by demonizing vulnerable parts of the population and certain classes of people. We have seen this history repeat itself many times. It is discouraging how easily the wannabes get swept up in the elusive promise of power and plenty.
Apr 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Walls of Lucca by Steve Physoic

Great book about the time period after WWI. I just couldn't put the book down. The characters are well developed. We know that some characters really were around, but those who weren't, fit in perfectly. This is a book that will keep you turning the pages as we follow the characters in this little Italian town. The characters you will hate, really do deserve your hatred.
Feb 19, 2019 rated it liked it
I lived in Italy for six years and love Lucca. It is such an amazing place. The setting in the time from WWI through the rise of Mussolini. But the vernacular expressions and gestures, even the spirituality are not of the time period. It is modern 2019 in 1919. which I found distracting and sad because the author has a gift for describing and setting the stage. His characters come toile in my vivid imagination.
Apr 23, 2019 rated it liked it
Thank you, Mr. Physioc, for a good read.

There are some good reviews about this book on Amazon and Good Reads, so I will not re-tell the story. This book is a three and one half read, but I rated down instead of up. The author's writing mechanics were excellent except for too much 'preachiness'. I likened the main character, Bella, to Corrie Ten Boom. The book's characters all lived on the edge of disaster from crop failure to Mussolini's gradual rise to power.
Alfred  Garrotto
Jun 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A multigenerational romantic saga in the tradition Alessandro Manzoni’s 1827 Italian classic, “I Promessi Sposi” (The Betrothed). Physioc weaves his beautifully drawn characters through the destruction WWI to post-war rebuilding, heading toward impending disaster again as Benito Mussolini rises to power and WWII threatens to blacken the skies and hearts of Europe again. Along the way, the story treats the reader to lessons on Tuscan cuisine, the joy of vineyard life, and the wine-making process. ...more
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As an Emmy-winning radio and TV broadcaster for football, baseball and basketball, Steve Physioc has been telling stories for 40 years. After a trip to Italy with his wife, Stace, he was inspired to tell a different kind of story — his novels, The Walls of Lucca and Above the Walls. He and Stace live in Kansas City and love to visit and spend time with their children, Ryan and Kevin, and three gra ...more

Other books in the series

Martellino series (2 books)
  • Above the Walls
“Franco watched his brother continue to help other soldiers onto the railcars, lifting their packs up to them, and suddenly a wave of guilt rushed over him. He wondered who the real heroes were in this conflict. Were they men like Giacomo Matteotti, who fought against social injustice, or were they men like Benny, who wanted only to defend their country, discover their purpose, and be part of a greater cause?” 0 likes
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