Book Talk: Lisa Scottoline, ‘Eternal’
I’m convinced. Lisa Scottoline can write anything and make it outstanding. “Eternal” (2021, 460 pages in paperback format) is historical fiction, but the history is pretty accurate. In her “Author’s Notes” at the end, she informs us of just how much of the book is actual history, including family names and the inclusion of real people, places, and events.
Much of the novel is a love story, but it’s something of a “love triangle” involving two young men and Elisabetta. The three have been best friends since early childhood, and Marco and Sandro love each other as friends as they each love Elisabetta. That complex relationship (Elisabetta, Marco, and Sandro) persists throughout the novel, despite challenges that are unimaginable to most Americans.
“Eternal” is set in Italy as Mussolini’s fascist state steadily drifts toward Hitler’s Nazi extremes. Early on, Elisabetta knows that she will have to choose between her friends who are also her suitors. Marco is a Fascist who has secured a “gofer” job in the local headquarters. Sandro is a Jew who lives in the Ghetto with his family and other Jews who are confined to the “neighborhood.” Although Marco is intelligent and has found favor with the Fascist authorities, he is unable to read. Sandro is a math genius who has secured a future position with the “Italian Einstein.”