Season 1 - 1920-1924 - Box Set
By Chrystyna Lucyk-Berger
She wants her home. He wants control. The Fascists want both.
1920. Former Austrian Tyrol.
When Katharina Thaler, a young Tyrolean farmer, finds a wounded Italian engineer in the mountains of the Reschen Valley, her decision to save his life thrusts both of them into a labyrinth of corruption, prejudice and greed.
Angelo Grimani, a civil engineer, knows the details of a project that may destroy Katharina’s valley. Not in favour of it himself, he returns home to fend off the forces that envision the biggest reservoir in Italy, headed by Angelo’s own father.
As the Tyroleans gear themselves to fight for their land, the Fascist party gathers power and momentum. Katharina and Angelo must each decide what to protect: love or country?
Dive in and discover the gripping saga based on a history you never knew. This box set contains the first three of six books: No Man’s Land: Part 1, The Breach: Part 2, The Smuggler of Reschen Pass: The Prequel and bonus material including, From Jutta’s Kitchen: 12 South Tyrolean Recipes to bring the Reschen Valley series closer to home. Save now on the regular individual retail price!
“They can take your land, they can take your weapons, but they cannot take the fight out of you…”
When Italy had joined the Triple Entente, they had been promised much. However, such promises seemingly meant nothing when the Great Powers met at Versailles. Instead of the land they had been promised when they signed the secret Treaty of London, Italy would have to be content with the territory of Trentino and the Tyrol, a permanent seat on the League of Nations, and a massive debt to a nation they had rapidly lost all respect for. So much for their French and British allies and their promises. So much for America and their loans.
Captain Angelo Grimani knew all about the war. He had fought at the Battle of Marmolada under the command of a Colonel who was not fit to serve. Good men had died and for what? Greed? Power?
Katharina Thaler is as content as any woman could be after the end of a war which claimed so many lives. But now, on top of everything else, those in power had decided to annex Tyrol to Italy. Italian soldiers were now patrolling the newly attained border. Life, as Katharina had known it, would never be the same again.
When I was asked if I would like to review Reschen Valley: Season 1 - 1920-1924 - Box Set by Chrystyna Lucyk-Berger I jumped at the chance. The box set contains the first two books in the series as well as the prequel:
No Man’s Land
The Smuggler of Reschen Pass: A Reschen Valley Prequel.
I am going to approach this review the same way I approached the box set — one book at a time!
No Man’s Land
Italy is ready to embrace industry, but to do so, they need electricity. Their newly acquired land could hold the answer. As soon as the annexation has been signed off, they can start work on their planned dams.
Katharina Thaler lives in one of the proposed sites for a dam, but for now, she is oblivious to their plans, and besides, even if she did know, Katharina has more pressing issues to worry about. She is pregnant and the child‘s father has abandoned her.
Captain Angelo Grimani had been sent to the Reschen Valley to survey the land. However, while he was there, he was attacked. If it were not for Katharina, he would be dead. He likes Katharina, and in another time and place then maybe they could have… But that was just wishful thinking, for Angelo is married and his life is far away from Reschen.
No Man’s Land is a beautifully woven story about two very different people and a land that calls to them both for very different reasons.
Lucyk-Berger has not only created a very enthralling novel but one that is utterly engrossing. She has painted a vivid picture of a hard-up, but incredibly resilient community, in which she has placed her spirited heroine. Katharina is a character that I instantly adored. She is a strong-willed but passionate young woman who finds herself in a challenging situation. She risks everything for a forbidden love and on the face of it loses.
In comparison to the farming community of Reschen and Katharina, is the very sophisticated Italian Captain, Angelo Grimani. Angelo finds himself in the most terrible of situations — no matter what he does, he loses. He is faced with impossible choices. Angelo knows the difference between right and wrong, but sometimes there is a blur between the two. Angelo wants to see Italy become great. He is a very loyal citizen, and yet, he does not want to destroy long forged communities to see that change. At times I did not want to like him, but as Katharina found out, he is very hard to resist. He certainly isn’t the antagonist in this story, far from it. However, he does create problems for himself by trying to pacify everyone. His wife asks him to choose her side of the argument, his father ask the same, and he doesn’t know how to balance both of their desires with his own. It is no wonder that he discovered a moment of peace in Katharina’s arms.
Lucyk-Berger has created a very convincing historical backdrop for her characters and has set them up for what promises to be a must-read series.
A great deal has changed in Katharina’s life. She is now a wife and a mother. Her husband, Florian, has never asked who the father of her daughter is. Instead, he has accepted her daughter as his own. No one must know the truth. Ever.
Angelo Grimani has a recurring dream in which a dam, of his making, bursts in the Reschen Valley, fooding everything and taking something very precious away from him. Only, he does not know what it is that has been taken. Not that it matters. It is just a dream. And besides, there are more important things to think about. As Italy becomes more and more enchanted with Benito Mussolini and his promises, Angelo must make a decision. Will he stand with his father and the Partito Nazionale Fascista or will he stand with his wife and the people of Tyroleans.
The Breach is one of the most enthralling historical fiction stories that I have ever read.
Taking up where the No Man’s Land had left off, Chrystyna Lucyk-Berger has penned a book not only vibrant in its narrative but also one that is rich with authentic historical details. Lucyk-Berger’s compelling style pulls you right into the story from the first sentence and does not let go of you until the last full stop.
I did not pause for breath between finishing No Man’s Land and starting The Breach. I was desperate to know what was going to happen next. I am pleased to say I was not disappointed. This book had everything I desired and then some. Lucyk-Berger has lavishly evoked the land that she has set her story in. The rise of fascism in Italy during this era has been painstakingly researched and alongside some very appealing characters, made this book impossible to put down.
Although our wonderful protagonists do not meet again in this book, they are very much in each other’s thoughts. I really felt for Angelo, and although some things he does are deplorable, he is still an incredibly likeable character. He makes mistakes, and yet he learns from them, at least, he seems to. His relationship with Signora Gina Conti added an exciting twist to the story! It certainly complicated his life even more than it already was.
There are some fascinating supporting characters in this book as there was in No Man's Land. Jutta Hanning and her son stole my heart. She is a single woman who is dedicated to her child and the inn that she runs. When everything, at last, seems to be going the right way for Jutta, fate then deals her a horrible hand. She is a very brave and courageous woman, whom I could not help but admire. Another supporting character that I adored is Katharina’s husband, Florian. He is such a lovely man, Katharina could not wish for a kinder more loving husband. He is incredibly patient with her, and even though he is longing for her to confide in him about the father of her daughter he does not press her for information. However, it is hard for him to compete with someone he doesn’t even know the name of.
I thought The Breach was really rather marvellous. Wonderfully addictive. Lucyk-Berger is a born storyteller.
The Smuggler of Reschen Pass:
A Reschen Valley Prequel
Fritz Hanny has friends, money, and a future. Marrying Cecilia, a young woman from the neighbouring village, would make his life complete. However, Cecilia’s father has other plans for his daughter that does not involve Fritz. Fritz is not the type of person to give up, but one drunken night changes the course of his life forever. Now he has a wife who does not love him and a child who is disabled. Life has become a bitter disappointment.
I was really looking forward to finding out the backstory to Jutta. The Smuggler of Reschen Pass: A Reschen Valley Prequel was a magnificent addition to the series.
Lucyk-Berger has a masterful style the pulls you right into the heart of the story. I thought this novella was brilliantly executed. Fritz Hanny is not the most likeable of characters. He does some truly terrible things, especially to Jutta, and I loathed him for that.
Lucyk-Berger has explored the darker side of human nature in this tale, and she has done so with great skill and splendour. This story appalled, impressed, and fascinated in equal measures. It is wonderfully told and impossible to put down.
If you are looking for your next historical fiction series, then do not pass by Reschen Valley: Season 1 - 1920-1924 - Box Set by Chrystyna Lucyk-Berger. This is a fantastic series. A real gem.
I Highly Recommend.
Review by Mary Anne Yarde.
The Coffee Pot Book Club.
Pick up your copy today!
Chrystyna Lucyk-Berger is an American author living in Austria. Her focus is on historical fiction now. She has been a managing editor for a publishing house, has worked as an editor, and has one several awards for her travel narrative, flash fiction and short stories. She lives with her husband in a “Grizzly Adams” hut in the Alps, just as she’d always dreamed she would when she was a child.