< FRANCA'S STORY
An inspiring tale of quiet heroism during wartime.
In an Author's Note, first-time biographer Kinman begins the story of her neighbor with the assertion that "writing a memoir means:what happened happened, there is no fantasy in reality." However, what results here is a real story, as she seamlessly relates Franca's experiences in wartorn northern Italy during the years 1937-45. In fact, some of the more captivating moments in the narrative contradict Kinman's avowal of the real-Franca's experiences demonstrate the need for fantasy in reality, particularly when that reality is shattered by war. [...] Ample yet unassuming, and illustrated with period photos and evocative paintings by Franca, this touching memoir is an enjoyable journey for lovers of Italy and those interested in tales of courage.
A Seattle woman, who is an artist, recalls her difficult youth in Italy during World War II in a fine memoir co-written by a neighbor; this book recently won two national awards for independent publications.
Thank you so much for sending me 'Franca's Story.’ I loved it - your writing has caught absolutely the flavour of real Italian life, and a real person's life story, so that one absolutely believes in, and trusts, the authenticity of what you are saying. I know that sounds obvious and easy as you are telling a true story, but so many biographies try to read like fiction, and as a result end up sounding contrived and untrue. Your great skill is to let the story tell itself, and not to let any authorial tricks or ego get in the way.
Written by Islander Diane Kinman, the book tells the true story of another Islander, Franca Mercati Martin. Known and loved by many on the Island, Martin, at 79, is a talented artist with a rich history.
...Her story makes for interesting reading. One wants to read every chapter before putting down the book to complete one’s daily chores.
Biographer Diane Kinman tells the true story of her neighbor, Franca Mercati’s experiences as a fourteen-year-old girl in war-torn northern Italy from 1937 to 1945. Whether she is rescuing a downed British pilot, visiting the Pope's quarters or risking her life to feed her starving family, Franca shows a streak of courage throughout her ordeal.
...I learned more than I ever knew about conditions in Italy during the war. ...a great read and an educational one.
This true story of wartime Italy will touch the very deepest part of your heart. ...brave in ways that most people can only imagine, her memories will become yours, enriching and uplifting your life.
...[Kinman’s] writing has caught absolutely the flavour of real Italian life, and a real person's life story. Franca herself comes across as a wonderful character – absolutely indomitable, but also completely of her time and place.
...a must for school librarians. ...gripping riches-to-rags tale.
What I loved and admired most about this well-written, fascinating memoir of World War II Italy was Franca’s steadfast faith that ultimately carried her through to survival. The war presented many dangerous situations that tested her character, from which she got to know herself as a heroic figure. In the end, through Franca’s resilient spirit, what was a devastating experience turned out to be a blessing. Through it, Franca learned what her purpose was and how best she could serve her loved ones. Her paintings positioned throughout the story are a delight to the soul.