04 January 2022

The Girl from Portofino (Girls of the Italian Resistance: A collection of standalone novels set in Italy during World War 2) By Siobhan Daiko Blog Tour! @siobhandaiko @maryanneyarde @siobhandaiko_asolandobooks @coffeepotbookclub #HistoricalFiction #WomensHistoricalFiction #ItalianHistorical #HistoricalRomance #CoffeePotBookClub #BlogTour


Book Title: The Girl from Portofino

Series: Girls of the Italian Resistance: A collection of standalone novels set in Italy during World War 2

Author: Siobhan Daiko

Publication Date: 30th December 2021

Publisher: Asolando Books

Page Length: 300 Pages

Genre: Womens Historical Fiction/29th Century Historical/World War 2 Historical

In 1970 Gina Bianchi returns to Portofino to attend her fathers funeral, accompanied by her troubled twenty-four-year-old daughter, Hope. There, Gina is beset by vivid memories of World War 2, a time when she fought with the Italian Resistance and her twin sister, Adele, worked for the Germans. 

In her childhood bedroom, Gina reads Adeles diary, left behind during the war. As Gina learns the devastating truth about her sister, shes compelled to face the harsh brutality of her own past. Will she finally lay her demons to rest, or will they end up destroying her and the family she loves?

A hauntingly epic read that will sweep you away to the beauty of the Italian Riviera and the rugged mountains of its hinterland. The Girl from Portofino” is a story about heart-wrenching loss and uplifting courage, love, loyalty, and secrets untold.

Trigger Warnings:

The brutality of war, death, war crimes against women.

Buy Links:

Available on KindleUnlimited.

Universal Link: viewbook.at/TGFP

Amazon UK: https://siobhandaikoasolandobooks.com/3zJgr8N

Amazon US: https://siobhandaikoasolandobooks.com/3udwVEQ

Amazon CA: https://siobhandaikoasolandobooks.com/39zCHH

Amazon AU: https://siobhandaikoasolandobooks.com/2XQPIKJ


Gina places the journal on her bedside table. She kicks off her heels, changes out of her black dress into a pair of slacks and a blouse, then picks up the diary again. It’s a slim volume, bound in what looks like calfskin that has been dyed violet. Adele’s favourite colour. Gina sits on her bed and opens the journal with trembling fingers. Ruled pages, somewhat yellowed with age, covered in Adele’s neat, cursive handwriting. Heart pounding, Gina starts to read.

9th October 1943

Dear Diary,

Yesterday was my birthday and you were a present from the Baroness—she always gives me such lovely presents. I adore you, just like I adore her. The smell of your cover and crisp white pages is so inviting. I will keep you secret and talk to you as if you were my best friend.

I don’t have a real best friend—I don’t have anything in common with the girls in Portofino, and neither do I have much in common with my identical twin sister. Gina is a tomboy and spends all her time with Stefano, who’s a few months younger than us and lives next door in a horribly overcrowded house with his parents and six brothers. Gina claims not to be interested in him romantically, that they’re friends because they share a love of sports. They work together in the Magnifico, serving in the restaurant of that luxury hotel overlooking Portofino and the rocky bay below the road to Santa Margherita. But I think he has a crush on Gina—he gazes at her with such puppy dog eyes.

She should aim higher, in my opinion. In normal times, if I’d been her, I’d have made it my goal to get one of the well-off hotel guests to fall in love with me. Except, these are not normal times. In the past, the Magnifico would always be filled with rich men from Milan in the summer, English aristocrats in the winter, and, sometimes, even an occasional wealthy American. But the only famous person Gina has ever mentioned is Eva Braun, Hitler’s mistress, who has stayed in that hotel every summer since 1938. Hitler’s fancy woman won’t be back next summer, though. Italy just changed sides in the war—it was announced last month—and Gina mentioned that the Magnifico is already crawling with German naval officers. 

Let me tell you more about myself, dear diary. (I doubt you’re interested in my sister; she isn’t very interesting.) So, about me. I’ve been a ladies maid these past four years. I would have loved to have carried on with secondary school, perhaps even gone to university, but it wasn’t on the cards. My father is a humble fisherman and can’t afford for me to attend higher education. I need to work for my living and contribute to the family coffers. Every day, I give thanks to God that Baroness Elizabeth von Galen was looking for a new maid at the time I was looking for my first job.

I’m sure it isn’t usual for a noblewoman to take an interest in her maid, but the Baroness treats all her staff with such exquisite kindness. One day, soon after I started working for her, she came into the library of her beautiful villa. I was supposed to be dusting, but I’d picked up a copy of “Emil and the Detectives”, translated into Italian, and was so absorbed in reading that I hadn’t heard her enter the room. Instead of telling me off, she offered to lend me the book. Can you imagine?! Downcast, I explained that there weren’t any books at home, that I’d have been looked upon as “behaving above my station” if I were to read in the evenings instead of listening to musical radio broadcasts and soap operas with Gina and my parents. The Baroness then insisted I have an hour off to read every day. I still pinch myself whenever I think about it.

The Baroness has taken me under her wing. She doesn’t have any children, and I do believe she loves me as if I were her own daughter. Over time, she changed my tasks from being a simple house servant to become what I am now—her personal maid and even, I dare say, her companion. Did I mention that I adore her? I cannot repeat it often enough. I would do anything for the Baroness. Through her, I’ve learnt so much. She taught me German, so that I can read more of the books in her huge library. She’s even taught me to speak a little English. 

I’d like to tell you about Elizabeth von Galen. She was born in England, and her mother tongue is English, but her family moved to Germany when she was a child. She became a German citizan when she married the Baron, who was a lot older than her. They made Portofino their permanent home twenty years ago when he retired from the diplomatic service. 

The Baron passed away in 1928, leaving the Baroness a widow at the age of 49. She loved living here so much, she decided to stay on. Well-liked by the portofinesi, she’s generous to her staff and spends money in the local shops. Most of the time, however, she keeps herself to herself. 

I love how she dresses simply in the ankle-length skirts of a bygone era. Her mid-length wavy grey hair is always elegantly coiffured in a chignon. She’s a natural beauty, her English rose complexion not needing any enhancements. There are fine lines under her eyes and around her mouth but otherwise there are few signs of her advancing age. When outdoors, she wears broad-rimmed hats to protect herself from the sun. 

I love her almost as much as I love my own mamma. And I can’t help feeling thankful the Baroness wasn’t interned as an enemy when Italy declared war on Great Britain in 1940. She has a German passport. But I know she doesn’t support Hitler. How do I know? Because she told me so herself after I’d discovered her listening to the BBC one morning. 

Perhaps I shouldn’t write about this. If anyone were to find you, dear diary, and read what I’ve just written, the Baroness could get into trouble. I will need to make sure I locate the perfect place to hide you away from prying eyes. Gina was a member of the Fascist youth group for girls until yesterday, when she, like me, turned 18. She once said she’d only signed up so she could pursue her sporting activities, but you can never be too careful.

Gina gasps, shocked at Adele’s insinuation. The entire family pretended to be Fascists in public, but that was as far as it went. Babbo needed the membership card or he wouldn’t have been able to sell the fish he caught.

Gina heaves a sigh and turns to the next page. Her sister’s voice is so compelling. She can almost hear her speaking. She grits her teeth and reads on.

Author Bio:

Siobhan Daiko is a British historical fiction author. A lover of all things Italian, she lives in the Veneto region of northern Italy with her husband, a Havanese dog and two rescued cats. After a life of romance and adventure in Hong Kong, Australia and the UK, Siobhan now spends her time, when she isn't writing, enjoying her life near Venice. 

Social Media Links:

Website: https://siobhandaiko.org

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LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/siobhan-daiko-74993651/

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Book Bub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/siobhan-daiko

Amazon Author Page: author.to/SiobhanDaiko

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  1. Thank you so much for hosting today’s blog tour stop for The Girl from Portofino. We really appreciate all that you do.

    Mary Anne
    The Coffee Pot Book Club



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