Not your usual WWII Historical Fiction novel. Narrated by 7 year old Amerigo it is a heartouching tale of a young boy who is sent far from his mother and the life he has known, into the home of strangers and a lifestyle far different than his.
Set at the end of WWII, the Nazis and Mussolini have been defeated, but the affects of the War still ravage southern Italy and the village where Amerigo lives. Still facing poverty and hunger, Amerigo's mother makes a heart wrenching decision, to give her son a chance at a bit of a better life. That decision is to send him on a train that has been organized by the communist party to take impoverished children from southern Italy and unite them with wealthy families from northern Italy were the devastation of war seems to have not hit so bad.
Though frightened and unsure of what lies ahead, Amerigo bravely faces the train ride north with two of his friends from the village. Upon arrival the threesome is separated, each going to a family and to the new start for them.
This is a book about how much you give up to gain a better life. And of exactly what "a better" life actually means. The meaning for one person is not the same as to another and young Amerigo learns this and much much more, about love, the bonds that tie you not only to family but to the place you are from. It is about difficult choices and the price paid or the guilt carried from the decisions made.
This is not a sad story, told from Amerigo's 7year old perspective on it is light and enjoyable to read, but also thought provoking. All in all a delightful novel, suited to all historical fiction fans!