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Reviewed by Marta Tandori for Readers' Favorite
Just when you think you’ve read everything there is about the Holocaust, you find Saving the Music, a beautifully-written work of historical fiction by Vincent B. “Chip” LoCoco. The year is 1942 and Hitler’s army is decimating countries standing in its wake and systematically annihilating the Jews in them. Thus far, the Vatican has seemingly remained neutral and it is the intention of Pope Pius to keep it that way – until a group of musicians and their families escape the clutches of the Nazis and seek the Vatican’s protection. Without its protection, these families will surely be caught and will die at the hands of the Nazis. The small Sicilian village of Bellafortuna, and its cluster of villagers, is tasked with sheltering the families and soon the ravages of war are replaced with lives far more idyllic until Italy folds under the all-powerful Nazi war machine. With the advancement of Hitler's army into Italy, Bellafortuna soon finds itself fighting for those whom they shelter and for its very existence…
Saving the Music is the second book in the Bellafortuna series and is as meticulously researched as its predecessor and just as captivating and bittersweet in its intensity. It will leave readers sickened by the cruelty of humanity and yet hopeful for humanity’s survival, bringing to light the struggle of the Catholic Church to remain neutral in the wake of Hitler’s annihilation of the Jews and more specifically, Pope Pius’ response to the Holocaust. Was the Pope really turning a blind eye to the horrors being played out in Europe at the hands of Hitler, making him equally culpable in those crimes against humanity? Vincent B. “Chip” LoCoco uses his considerable writing skills to ramp up tension or to create moments of beauty and tranquility with the use of a few well-placed adjectives. From the horrors and indignities of the Holocaust, beautiful music is wrought by those who have escaped from the Nazis' clutches and the villagers of Bellafortuna who have sheltered them, despite the unspeakable risk to their own lives in doing so. Saving the Music is a book about courage, hope, and, most of all, resilience in the wake of evil, where the beauty of music and humanity's strength of character are sure to resonate.