This is an engaging summer read which I think would have a broad appeal.
Secrets are revealed and summer romances blossom against the backdrop of the 1978 Argentina World Cup. ‘The Coletta Cassettes’ by Bruno Noble takes place on the Kentish family holiday to Colletta, Italy. A working trip for the father, Peter Kentish, as he schedules interviews with an ex-CIA member about the CIA complicity with the mafia and their involvement in the government following WWII. As his secrets are revealed and the extent of their involvement in political events after the war are shared, Peter Kentish’s new knowledge could put himself and his family at risk. Alongside his father’s interviews we follow sixteen-year-old Sebastian, keen to find teenagers his own age and eager to experience a summer romance. He sets his sights on Rosetta, who works as a chambermaid and around the restaurants, and we witness Sebastian’s tentative steps to get closer to her. This book seems to have a mix of everything, historical fiction, espionage inspired by true events, coming of age and family drama. I liked the subtle characterisation that has been used by the author, we learn a lot about Peter and Jacqueline Kentish through Sebastian’s eyes, the dawning realisation that his parents can be snobby, aloof and stubborn. I also liked the clumsy nature of Sebastian and Rosetta’s interactions and the naivety of Dominic that adds humour to most moments throughout the book. I found Sebastian’s narrative more engaging that Peter Kentish’s interviews and I found myself thinking “is that it?” as we see where the evidence of Peter’s interviews ends up - surely he would still be at risk based on the information he remembers from those conversations? I would have preferred a comment that it is the evidence of his interviews with Bravo that put him at risk to make this more believable. Overall this is an engaging summer read which I think would have a broad appeal.
Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador
It’s July 1978, at the time of the Argentina World Cup. 16-year old Sebastian hopes to meet a girl on a family holiday in Italy; reporter Peter Kentish to interview Bravo, ex-CIA, on the CIA’s complicity with the Mafia. Colletta is a beautiful medieval village. Rosetta works as a chambermaid there. Chapters alternate between Sebastian’s courtship of Rosetta and Bravo’s interviews. Mrs Kentish forbids Sebastian from seeing Rosetta. Sebastian resolves to disobey her. Strangers come to the village – one harasses Rosetta; the other interrogates Sebastian and spies on Bravo and Kentish. We learn of Operation Gladio: the bombing of Italian civilians by the Italian and American Right, justified by the West’s ‘fear of communism’. The night of the final: Mrs Kentish mobilises the village to save her son from a knifing – mistakenly; it is Bravo who is murdered. The Kentishes leave under a cloud of shame, Sebastian with Rosetta’s address in his pocket.
|Publication date:||18th February 2022|
|Primary Genre||Modern and Contemporary Fiction|
Closing date: 10/07/2022