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The Girl with the Scarlet Ribbon

Author(s): Suzanne Goldring

Location(s): Florence, Cornwall, London

Genre(s): Fiction

Era(s): WWII and 2019



Italy, 1943. A missing painting. A war-scarred city. A brave young girl on a black bicycle risking her life for the country she loved…

When Sofia loses her adored father, famous painter Riccardo, she is broken-hearted. Desperate to bring back a little of the man she loved, she begins to go through her father’s paintings of the dark blue hills and beautiful bridges of wartime Florence, a time in his life he would never talk about…

The paintings were never titled, only numbered. And when Sofia realises that number sixteen is missing, she wonders if it is still in Florence, the place of his tortured memories. She discovers her father has a sister, Gabriella, still living in Florence, and she travels to meet the elegant old woman living in a palazzo filled with roses. There, in a little bedroom, locked away from the world, she finds a tiny painting of a beautiful girl with a scarlet ribbon.

Florence, 1943. As the bells toll and arrogant soldiers patrol the streets, fourteen-year-old Gabriella is determined to act. She seeks out her old friend Stefanina, an unlikely member of the Italian resistance with her dark curls and scarlet ribbon. Soon the two girls are criss-crossing the river with deadly information in their bicycle baskets. But then one terrible day Stefanina disappears…

Years later, Sofia uncovers the story of her father’s secret painting: a tale of extraordinary bravery and terrible betrayal. But will understanding her family’s haunted past bring her peace, or further heartbreak?

A completely compelling and heartbreaking story of a beautiful city, a violent war and a young woman’s daring. Fans of The Alice Network, The Nightingale and My Name is Eva will be captivated by The Girl with the Scarlet Ribbon.

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