Lilia by Linda Ganzini

A true story of love, courage, and survival in the shadow of war

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“The darkest day of my life came when the Nazis took my brother. I felt helpless as the war tore our family apart. His last words to my mother: ‘Mama, if I don't go now, they will kill us all.’ I saw the pain in my mother's eyes. I felt her heart cry words she could never speak.”

“Lilia will possess your heart and linger on in your mind long after you finish the final chapter.” 

“Lilia is a timely and must-read book!”

Against the backdrop of fascist Italy during World War II and the Holocaust, Lilia sets the stage for the harrowing story of a family whose depth of heart overcomes a war tearing them apart—years marred by unfathomable tragedies, immense loss, upheaval, and countless betrayals.

From a young age, Lilia resigns herself to a world crushed by misery, abject poverty, and a broken, bitter mother who suffered insurmountable grief. The burden of war, loneliness, and adult responsibilities rob Lilia of a carefree childhood. Witnessing her parent's challenge to stay alive during the Nazi occupation becomes Lilia's greatest sorrow, one she makes the most heroic efforts to conceal. Ultimately, tragic loss dims the flame of Lilia's belief in her future. Just as her prayers feel unanswered, a seed of love reignites her faith, changing her destiny forever, leading her towards an unforgettable and inspiring triumph over tragedy.

This poignant account will transport you to a lost moment in history that irreversibly changes a quaint Northern Italian village, transforming its people for generations to come. Through the eyes and courageous spirit of a brave young girl, Lilia's family story comes to life on the page and will remain on your mind for a long time coming.

Where there is love, hope remains.

Praise for Lilia

“The indignities, atrocities, and terrors visited on a poor family in a tiny Northern Italian village during WWII place in stark relief the human toll war takes on those the history books never document. Told with deep emotion and love, Lilia’s story steals your breath at the misery and hardship visited on a young girl forced to grow up far too fast in a world torn apart by the greed for power in fascist Italy. Yet there are rare moments of beautiful joy too. Through it all, Lilia’s incredible well of resilience never runs dry. Ganzini’s poetic prose renders this story both a warning about the slide into fascism in modern times and a beacon of hope for the strength of the human spirit. Read it now.” 

“Lilia is a labor of love, and it shows. The amount of detail, emotional nuance, and attention to the unfolding story of a family held together by love and hope lends itself to an exquisite and heartfelt narrative. Linda Ganzini has created a work that reflects the cruel realities of the past and heralds a clarion call to the time we currently find ourselves. Like Lilia and her family members, we can choose resilience and allow our personal stories to become beacons for our collective human journey. This is an important book for a transformative moment in our history.” 

“Lilia is a timely and must-read book. The author’s powerfully evocative and descriptive writing transported me back in time to a world of uncertainty, where innocent people were stripped of their humanity, dignity and faith. And a time where bonds were strengthened to survive the unthinkable. My thanks to Linda Ganzini for allowing readers to connect to her family’s past trials and tribulations in Northern Italy during WWII—events few know and talk about, especially our younger generation.”