A twisting and turning historical fiction. ‘Little Spark’ by Jo Turner is set in 1935, Italy. In the quiet town of Cannero, on the shores of Lake Maggiore, Paola and her daughter Eva live and survive embroidering fine clothes and accessories for rich tourists. Having abruptly left Milan, Eva dreams of her once bustling and busy city life amongst the reality of Mussolini’s power and the ever-looming threat of Germany over the border. Eva hopes to return to Milan or a busier life in order to fulfill her dream of becoming a makeup artist, however, while using her skill to help Padre Giacomo prepare the bodies pulled out of the nearby lake for funeral and burial, Eva stumble into the middle of a curious mystery involving a dead englishman and a strange and secretive mourner. ‘Little Spark’ is a historical fiction filled with tension, secrets and thrills, with Eva’s Agatha Christie-loving new friend there to add to the sense of intrigue and mystery surrounding the strange events. The plot flows quickly and this is a storyline that can be enjoyed in an afternoon. Although I didn’t particularly warm to Eva, she’s an interesting character and her curiosity and imagination helps to drive the plot forward. There’s plenty of action and subterfuge as well to keep the reader guessing about who can be trusted and what’s going to happen next. A rather open ending hints at more to come for Eva, but I’m sure fans of amateur sleuths will enjoy this book and whatever may come next. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador
In 1935, in sleepy Cannero on Lake Maggiore, Paola and her daughter Eva - Little Spark - ply a discreet living embroidering for rich tourists. Eva pines for the glamour of the Milan they abruptly left. She dreams of escape - to Hollywood to become a make-up artist, and from the inevitability of being married to a suitable local boy. Instead she is obliged to help the padre; slathering face paint on bodies from the lake. When an Englishman appears on her slab a sole strange mourner lurks in the shadows. Eva turns for help to her charismatic new acquaintance, the globetrotting Agatha Christie-toting, puzzle-solving independent-spirited Amelia, and finds herself launched on a perilous journey that begins with her first trip across a lake she has hitherto feared and takes her into the dark heart of Mussolini's brutal regime. Little Spark will find that she is an extraordinary woman in extraordinary times.