The Last Masterpiece
The Last Masterpiece
The Last Masterpiece
A Novel of World War II Italy
★★★★★ 378 reviews
In a race across Nazi-occupied Italy, two women—a German photographer and an American stenographer—hunt for priceless masterpieces looted from the Florentine art collections.
Inspired by the incredible true story of the looted Florentine art collections during World War II, this historical novel by USA Today bestselling author and art historian Laura Morelli plunges readers into the heart of war-torn Italy.
In the summer of 1943, Eva Brunner is taking photographs of Nazi-looted art hidden inside the salt mines of the Austrian hinterland. Across the ocean in Connecticut, Josephine Evans is working as a humble typist at the Yale Art Gallery.
When both women are called to Italy to contribute to the war effort, neither imagines she will hold the fate of some of the world’s greatest masterpieces torn from the Uffizi Galleries and other Florentine art collections in her hands.
But as Italy turns from ally to enemy and Hitler’s plan to destroy irreplaceable monuments and works of art becomes frighteningly clear, each woman’s race against the clock—and against one another—might demand more than they were prepared to give.
The Last Masterpiece takes readers on a heart-pumping adventure up the Italian peninsula, where nothing is as it seems and some of the greatest works of art and human achievement are at stake. Who might steal and who might save a work of art—and at what cost?
From Our Readers...
★★★★★ A Wonderful Read
A wonderful read about an aspect of Italy’s World War 2 experiences that are often not taught or discussed. As an immigrant Italian I thank Laura Morelli and this work in filling in lost spaces of my understanding of what my family experienced during this war. But most importantly this historical fiction shows us how works of art can unite us to do good even in the darkest of times through our shared cultural histories and common humanity.
★★★★★ The fight to save history in the midst of a war
Two women from opposite sides of the world and opposite sides of a war, find themselves fighting for the same thing, saving famous works of art. I have read almost every book from this author and the amount of accuracy to history and detail always amazes me.
★★★★★ Excellent novel based on the work of the Monuments Men and Women in Italy
I’ve read the non-fiction books about the Monuments Men by Robert Edsel, Frederick Hartt and James Rorimer and Laura’s superb research is evident in the various places and people that we meet along the way. I often times would recall from reading their books the actual locations like the jail storage depot, various villa’s in and around Tuscany and museums in Florence.
Although these non-fiction accounts are fascinating to read, Laura’s characters give you the actual feel of what these men and women went through; the laughter, the heartbreak and longing, the mud, the rain, the sweat and the tears. But also the satisfaction of triumphing in an effort that saved countless masterpieces for future generations. I was in Florence in June and saw many paintings and sculptures at the Uffizi, the Pitti Palace and the Bargello that would not be there today if not for the efforts of the Monuments men and women.
I’ve read and enjoyed Laura’s other books: The Painter’s Apprentice, The Night Portrait, The Stolen Lady, but The Last Masterpiece is my favorite. I really liked the dual narrative of Josie and Eva and felt the back and forth, simultaneous story line gave the book a lightness and momentum. I loved the character of Josie and would get a feeling of anticipation every time I read, for example, Chapter 38, Josie. Both her story and Eva’s are inspiring tales for any young woman to aspire to.
And the gorgeous book cover is a masterpiece in itself. You can tell a book by its cover!
Laura’s stated mission is to: Educate, Entertain and Inspire with the stories of art history, both real and imagined. She has succeeded in all three. If you are interested in art and history (my two passions) put The Last Masterpiece on your list of books to read. You won’t be disappointed.
Publisher: William Morrow | Harper Collins
Paperback: 416 pages
Dimensions: 5.31 x 0.94 x 8 inches