Winner of The People's Book Prize (Fiction) 2013/14
On the landing beaches at Salerno in September 1943, two soldiers face the German bombardment together but they come from different worlds: Frank grew up in the backstreets of London but he’s clever and is now an officer; Edmund is a cricketer from a landed family.
Vermillion had fallen for Edmund in Cairo where she monitored German communications. Desperate to see him again, she gets transferred to war-torn Naples. But when Frank discovers an abandoned theatre and stages a revue, she can’t stay away. It proves such a success that Frank is ordered to stay in Naples and put on more shows. Vermillion joins him and her life becomes enmeshed with both men.
While Edmund fights in the bitter winter battles near Monte Cassino, Frank dreams of staging an opera. Vermillion still loves Edmund, but she doesn’t want him running her life. And working with Frank, she experiences the independence she’s longed for.
Vermillion feels fulfilled, but a time is soon coming when she’ll have to choose…
Theatres of War
is a love story about sacrifice and duty, and a war story about self-discovery and love. Seen through the eyes of combatants and civilians, it evokes the convulsions of the ‘forgotten’ Italian campaign of World War II. It makes a gripping read for anyone with an interest in historical wartime novels, Italy, opera and love stories.