Black Pasta is a riveting story of a beautiful, feisty young aristocrat, Elena Curtopassi, growing up under Mussolini. She endures the German occupation of Rome, witnesses Adolf Hitler’s triumphant parade from the Colosseum and then experiences the liberation of the city by the Allies.
After becoming a secretary to the Allied Control Commissioner, then the King’s aide-de-camp, she fraternises with the British and decides to leave to start a new life in England – one of the first to do so after Britain and Italy’s former enmity.
In an austerity-ridden London, she falls in love with the British and the then-unconventional bohemian sculptor and painter John Harvey, the son of Britain’s most powerful diplomat, Sir (later Lord) Oliver Harvey, the most dominant figure in the Foreign Office during the war as Anthony Eden’s private secretary. For the first time, the story of the relentless vendetta by the Harveys’ predecessors at the Paris Embassy, Duff and Diana Cooper, can be told.
Back in London, Elena finds that her previous way of life has been turned upside down. She must experience the unconventional life of the art world, John’s Picasso-esque variety of styles and early success as a best-selling author (the Beatles song ‘Within You Without You’ was derived from the title of his novel Within and Without, which was published by Penguin), whilst also managing a country estate in glorious surroundings in Wales.
Black Pasta tells the story of a love affair not just between a young Italian woman and an Englishman, but of an enduring love between the two countries from Roman times onwards. Poignant and heart-warming, it will appeal to those wishing to learn more about life under occupation whilst experiencing a love story.