Ciao Bella

eBook - Worldwide
Hardcover - US
Hardcover - Canada
Also available in Norway and Hungary in translation.

For Graziella, the daughter of a Canadian botanist, the quiet, cultured life she lived in Venice with her musician husband, Ugo, was everything she could’ve desired. But when Italy allied with Nazi Germany in 1940, her world changed forever. Ugo, trading his violin for a gun, joined the Resistance, while Graziella, now an “enemy alien,” was forced to seek refuge at his family’s farm in the nearby Euganean Hills. Having inherited her father’s gift for plants, she became both midwife and nursemaid to Ugo’s family. Her time in the Hills was not a happy one, not only because of the fear of bombing raids and Nazi reprisals but also because Ugo’s father and sisters were openly hostile to his choice of a foreigner as a wife. “Just until the war is over,” Ugo had promised, but it has been months since the Germans retreated, and no one has seen him since.

Just as she despairs she will be trapped forever with Ugo’s ungrateful family, along comes Frank, an American soldier waiting for the ship that will take him back home. As the summer unfolds, Frank begins to fill the void Ugo has left behind and Graziella embraces this unexpected chance at being happy again. But as tempting as it is to leave behind this war-torn country and her painful memories for a new life in America, can she go without learning her husband’s fate? And as much as Frank has brought joy back into everyone’s shell-shocked lives, just how much does she really know about him?

With quiet grace and humor, Ciao Bella explores the possibilities of love and redemption in the wake of war, showing that some of the hardest decisions come only after the fighting has stopped.

"A compelling combination of romance, adventure, and serious thought, this slim novel is sure to appeal to many audiences."

"A wistful story about the difficult decisions people must make in both love and war, Ciao Bella is drenched in Italian sunshine. The authors have penned a sweet, nostalgic story about how good people struggle to do the right thing, even when there are no good choices at all."
--Historical Novels Review

"Ciao Bella is a romantic story, even a weepy at times.

But it is a credible literary feat as well, more in the vein of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin or The Time-Traveler’s Wife, than a drugstore romance. There is never an aversion of eyes from the gritty realities of life during that terrible period. Some of the subplots, especially one involving a girl who had apparently been raped by a German soldier, are rather tragic.

In the vernacular of the day, this is not chick lit.

Or not just chick lit.

Lit for anyone with a heart."
--Town Crier

"I didn’t think anything could top The Sidewalk Artist, the first book written by Gina and Janice, but Ciao Bella is right up there on par with it.... This book left me with such a wonderful feeling. I was sad and yet happy with the outcome of the story. I highly recommend it."
--She Read a Book

"The Canadian team of Buonaguro and Kirk repeat the magic of a special love.... [T]he magic lyrical writing of this talented team creates a wonderful atmosphere."
--Ellen George,

"All in all, I was happy with this one. It leaves you with a smile on your face and a warm feeling in your heart. With it's zany characters and wonderful writing - this is definitely one you won't want to miss out on."
--Nely, All About {n}

"Ciao Bella by Janice Kirk (4 out of 5 hairy hobbit toes) - I stumbled across this one by accident, but I'm glad I did."
--Hobbit-ish Thoughts and Ramblings

"In the acknowledgement, the authors say that the epilogue was written for 'Lino and Poldo.' I assume Lino and Poldo wanted to know what happen next, and I am so glad they did. The story would have never been complete with out the perfect finish that the epilogue provides to this sweet tale. Four stars."
--Bloody Bad

"This historical romantic read is a good way to spend some time. The research rings true, and the book serves as a good reminder that war is hell and that its consequences are great and far-reaching. That lesson alone makes the book worthwhile."
--The Back Cover, Roanoke Times

"As both a grieving widow and a fish out of water, Grace is an affecting character with well-articulated values."
--Publishers Weekly

"The prose, characters, and setting are all well-executed."
--Quill & Quire

"One of the themes of the book is the guilt the main characters feel about decisions they had to make during the war. It makes the book fascinating because the choices they face are no-win situations."
--The Kingston-Whig Standard