War Serenade by Jill Wallace is a romance inspired by real-life events, with a setting against the backdrop of WWII. Pietro is a pilot who gets shot down during WWII and almost loses his life. He finds himself in a prisoner of war camp in South Africa and endures very inhumane conditions. Then Pietro sees Iris and in her a secret hope, a love that promises tomorrow. He is in love and will do anything to win her. Iris has her plans too, but the moment she sets eyes on Pietro through prison bars, she is certain her heart will know no peace without him. But will they find the freedom to nurture their love in a hostile environment and under the watchful eyes of a tyrant who had once courted Iris? This is a tale filled with grittiness, a realistic story of war that features memorable characters. It is hard to read this story without being moved by the way the author explores human nature, especially what it takes to thrive through the grimmest form of adversity. Pietro is a complex character, well imagined and accomplished to provoke powerful emotions in readers. His frustrations, his fears, his zest for life easily rub off on the reader. There are elements of suspense in this narrative and the author uses them to sustain the reader’s interest. Jill Wallace has imagined a compelling story against a relevant historical setting, and built a conflict that enriches every aspect of the narrative. War Serenade is a tale of adversity and resilience, as entertaining as it is inspiring. You’ll love the characters and thrill of adventure this tale inspires.
— Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite
Set against the backdrop of a complex WWII environment in South Africa, War Serenade by Jill Wallace follows a delightful romance that is as thrilling as it is beautifully written. The pilot had once been an Italian opera singer. Now a pilot, Pietro almost loses his life when his plane is shot down during WWII. But the most challenging experience is when he finds himself a prisoner of war in a camp in South Africa. But the moment he meets Iris is when everything changes. He knows life will have no meaning without her. She knows it’s a very risky game to play, but she can’t resist Pietro. Can they succeed in taking their attraction beyond what they feel, and how about the suspicious bully who runs the camp, the man who has his eyes set on Iris? Jill Wallace is a great storyteller who creates a world that is real and captivating. I enjoyed how the author weaves elements of history, notably aspects of WWII, into the narrative. The story offers readers realistic images of what life was like in a prisoner of war camp. The romance is well developed and I enjoyed the fact that the characters can’t meet freely. I was obsessed with learning what would happen next, following their every step, and at times feeling their heartbeats. The prose is beautiful and tight. The characters are elaborately developed, real and compelling. War Serenade features characters that are irresistible, a plot that allows readers powerful glimpses of what war can do to people and how it thwarts destinies. A lovely read, indeed.
— Reviewed by Christian Sia for Readers' Favorite
It’s not often that you find a book with such an epic story that takes you away to a far away land and allows you to connect to the characters so vividly. Set in 1942 during WWII in South Africa, the story is about an Italian POW named Pietro and a local girl named Iris, who somehow meet and fall in love despite insurmountable odds. The historical accurate details are well researched, giving you a descriptive picture of the horrors of war and what it was like to be a prisoner during this tragic time in our history. I knew very little of South Africa and its role in WWII. What makes the story even more endearing is that it was based on a true story. A colleague of mine, who knows I’m an avid reader, gave me this book for my birthday and told me her friend wrote it. I was immediately excited to learn she knew a real author! But when I realized the book started off as a screenplay for a movie and author actually knew the characters who were friends of her parents, made me want to jump right in and start the journey of this real-life fairytale. I like books that you can get lost in and feel as if you are right there. This is a wonderful book with a story as big as Gone with the Wind or Dr Zhivago. The author, Jill Wallace, is blessed with a gift of turning words into an elevated plane. I’ll never eat chocolate the same way again without remembering how the author describes Iris’s reaction to a cherished letter from her brother (who is away at war) to chocolate....”It was like popping a last, precious, delicious block of chocolate in your cheek and keeping your tongue in check, so the creamy delight could trickle down slowly, giving your tastebuds bursts of delectable, indulgent satisfaction.” Reading this book is full of such descriptive writing. I was spellbound by it all and was a bit sad when it ended, and that it never became a movie! Thank you Jill Wallace for an excellent story! You are indeed a wonderful artist.
— Deb, Amazon Reviewer
I can picture Iris and Pietro pining for each other through the bars of his prison. I can feel their sorrow and their joy. The depth of the characters is fabulous, and the story kept me turning the page and letting everything else go. This is the first book by this author and I will be watching to see what comes next. It would make a perfect movie....curled up watching it with a glass of red wine or a cup of hot chocolate.
— Oceantide, Amazon Reviewer
This is a good love story but so much more. I love the character development including Antonio, Enzo, Rogers, the two Zulu mothers, the Colonel and even Buffer the dog. The reader learns to love them all.
— Mary B., Amazon Reviewer
Deep rich characters. The author demonstrates an incredible knowledge of the subject matter. A great read! Highly recommended!
— Frank Giaramita, Amazon Reviewer
Absolutely loved this book. A real page turner with rich well developed characters and a “can’t put this book down” plot. I am looking forward to
Ms. Wallaces’ next novel and War Serenade the movie!
— Kathryn S, Amazon Reviewer
BRAVA! I want an encore! What a lovely first novel Ms. Wallace! Masterfully told, this is a fantastic read start to finish leaving readers wanting for more. Sequel? Series? Screenplay?That the story is based on true events and characters is even more spectacular. A historical novel in a place and time I knew little about, I was so pleased to find this gem of book. I’ll be buying more copies for Christmas presents to share the love.
— maryannfaithful, Amazon Reviewer
Loved, loved, loved this book! Jill Wallace has gifted us with a masterpiece that absolutely must be made into a movie. As I was reading her book, I felt like I was actually there, personally knew all the characters, and experienced all their emotions. She writes with words that paint pictures in your mind. It is a must-read for anyone that likes a great love story set in a period piece of a war-torn country. War Serenade is one of the few books that I was sad to have finished reading, but I know that I will reread and enjoy again and again!
— Joni OConnell, Amazon Reviewer
This is a book that you just can’t put down. The author writes with an artist’s brush. As you read, you can visualize everything. It’s as if you’re standing there in the shadows watching everything happen. I can’t wait to read her next book.
— Charles Stevenson, Amazon Reviewer
If you liked “The English Patient” you will love “War Serenade”
— Glenn Benest, Award Winning Screenplay Writer
A love story for the ages.
— Roxanne St. Claire, New York Times Bestselling Author
Jill Wallace has penned a love story for the ages, rich with detail and well-drawn characters. Fans of World War II romance are going to fall in love with this author.
— Roxanne St. Claire, New York Times Bestselling Author
Loved the book, amazing story, wonderful characters and beautifully written. A wonderful story to escape into. Can’t wait for the next book from this talented new author.
— Lorena Spensley, Amazon Reviewer
I feel like I just lost my best friends now that I finished reading this incredible story of World War II history and romance. This book reminded me of The Thorn Birds, one of my all-time favorite novels, and I know this fast-paced, moving story will soon be a blockbuster movie. ... Author Jill Wallace writes prose as poetry.
— Debra Shannon, Freelance Journalist
With its intricately woven plot, well-developed characters, and depth of internal dialogue, readers are sure to fall in love with Jill Wallace’s debut book and look forward, as I will, to more from this gifted new voice.
— Lee Rhuday, Amazon Reviewer
Very well written! The writer’s style draws you in so you care for her characters. The humor is exceptional and the “South Africanisms” are very entertaining. Can’t wait for her next book!
— D. Hughes, Amazon Reviewer
I so enjoyed reading War Serenade and I spent several days escaping my routine ... I actually felt like I was in war torn South Africa in the 1940’s. Mrs. Wallace certainly captured the spirit of the era and brought her characters to life. They were so convincing I felt as if I was there observing this beautiful love story unfold. My hope now is to see this novel in living color on the “big screen”! I think of these characters often and loved the time I spent immersed in this classic tale of man’s inhumanity and a tender love story. I have passed this book to several friends. It is my selection for Fall Book Club. I am so looking forward to reading it again on my upcoming holiday trip!
— Sandy O., Amazon Reviewer