Restoration by Olaf Olafsson

This is a moving and unforgettable historical novel based in Italy during World War II.  The main character lives on a wonderfully self-contained, restored farm in Tuscany and there are frequent references to nearby villages and towns in Tuscany which brought back great memories for me of travelling there.  Alice and her husband lose their son to meningitis and this has a disastrous effect on their relationship.  Then the harrowing effects on the whole area and the locals of the German retreat and Allied takeover is described with great sympathy and detail.

The secondary story and other main character is Kristin who works for Robert Marshall, the master restorer and dealer of renaissance art, and she inspires amazingly detailed explanations of the process of restoring old masterpieces which is truly fascinating.

An excellent and memorable book which has me seeking out other work by this author who was born in Reykjavik, Iceland but now lives and works in New York as an executive vice-president of Time Warner.