Book Review: Stars in an Italian Sky by Jill Santopolo

Posted March 1, 2023 by WendyW in Book Review, bookblogger / 23 Comments

Stars in an Italian Sky
One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

by Jill Santopolo
Publication Date February 28, 2023
Published by Penguin
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Genres: Fiction / Romance / General, Fiction / Romance / Historical / 20th Century, Fiction / Women
Pages: 336
Format: ARC
Reading Challenges: Historical Fiction Reading Challenge 2023

***I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.***

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Light We Lost comes a sweeping story of two star-crossed lovers in post-World War II Italy, and a blossoming relationship generations later that will reveal a long-buried family secret.

Genoa, Italy, 1946. Vincenzo and Giovanna fall in love at twenty-one the moment they set eyes on each other. The son of a count and the daughter of a tailor, they belong to opposing worlds. Despite this, the undeniable spark between them quickly burns into a deep and passionate relationship spent exploring each other’s minds, bodies and their city, as well as Vincenzo’s family’s sprawling vineyard, Villa Della Rosa—until shifts in political power force them each to choose a side and commit what the other believes is a betrayal, shattering the bright future they dreamed of together.

New York, 2017. Cassandra and Luca are in love. Although neither quite fits with the other's family, Cass and Luca have always felt like a perfect match for each other. But when Luca, an artist, convinces his grandfather and Cass’s grandmother to pose for a painting, past and present collide and reveal a secret that changes everything.

Stars in an Italian Sky by Jill Santopolo is a dual-timeline historical romance.  I enjoyed both timelines equally.  

Story Recap:

Giovanna and Vincenzo fall in love in the first timeline set during and after the second world war.  Giovanna is the daughter of a tailor and Vincenzo is the son of a count.  Eventually, their differences split them up.  In the modern timeline, set in New York City, Cass, and Luca are in love, but their families are very different.  Will the same thing happen to Cass and Luca that happened to Giovanna and Vincenzo? 

My Thoughts: 

Stars in an Italian Sky is a sweet, historical novel that has warmth and charm and was a very enjoyable book.  I enjoyed both timelines but preferred the older timeline a bit more.  

I enjoyed the settings both in Genoa, Italy, and New York City.   The historical elements were very interesting and I enjoyed this look into Italian culture and what it was like just after the war.  

The plot is a bit predictable, but the story was compelling and the characters were all well-developed.  I liked all four of the main characters and enjoyed their journey. 


I highly recommend Stars in an Italian Sky to anyone who enjoys historical fiction.  I received a complimentary copy of this book.  The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

About Jill Santopolo

Jill Santopolo is the author of the The Light We Lost, the Alec Flint Mysteries, the Sparkle Spa series, and the Follow Your Heart books. She holds a BA in English Literature from Columbia University, an MFA in Writing for Children from the Vermont College of Fine Arts, and a certificate in Intellectual Property Law from NYU. Jill is also the Editorial Director of Philomel Books, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers Group. When she’s not writing or editing, Jill is a thesis advisor at The New School in their MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults and is on the faculty of the Columbia Publishing Course. Jill has traveled all over the U.S.—and to Canada and Europe—to speak about writing and storytelling. She lives in New York City.

Book Challenges:

Stars in an Italian Sky counts toward my Historical Fiction Reading Challenge 2023

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • Historical Fiction Reading Challenge 2023

23 responses to “Book Review: Stars in an Italian Sky by Jill Santopolo

  1. This is a book that I have not seen anywhere, but it sounds good. Of course, I already have an idea what it going to happen. The settings sound wonderful though. Great review, Wendy.

  2. This sounds like a really sweet and interesting story! While I’m not huge on historical fiction, my mom loves it! I’ll have to pass the rec on to her 🙂

  3. It may have been a bit predictable, but the trope has certainly been popular since Shakespeare’s days. It is interesting to see it replayed in two timelines.

  4. I bet the setting in Italy was beautiful. I bet the time period was interesting too. I haven’t seen many books with an after the war setting. Excellent review!