EAC Book of the Week – In Love and War: a letter to my parents

13 March 2017

Each week our librarian selects a book from the our library to highlight. Volunteers, interns, and researchers at the EAC have access to the library, but we also share the book here for friends of the EAC who live abroad.

Maria Corelli

In Love and War: a letter to my parents/ Short Books, London, 2001.

A young woman’s experiences of World War II in Italy.

Based on a true story.


In a long letter to her parents back in England, written in Rome in 1944, Maria Corelli talks about her life in Italy during World War II.

Maria and, her husband, Lewis, study music in Rome when World War II begins. They meet a Jewish opera singer, Sigbert, with whom they immediately become friends. After a while, Sigbert is arrested and sent to a concentration camp. Two years later he manages to escape from the camp and return to Rome. But as the Germans approach, things are getting difficult. Maria and her husband Lewis decide to follow their friend, Sigbert, when he goes into hiding in the Italian mountains.

It is during that period when Maria and Sigbert find themselves falling in love. Maria finds out that it is possible to love two people at the same time and Sigbert feels guilty as he jeopardises his friendship with Lewis:

‘You will say, how is it possible you could love them both at the same time? Well, in those days it was possible.’ (p.23).


A fascinating personal story about love in the age of war!


Main subjects/keywords


World war, 1939-1945

Personal narratives