The Chapel at the Edge of the World by Kirsten McKenzie

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A richly told wartime love story, inspired by a true World War II act of optimism


Emilio and Rosa are childhood sweethearts, engaged to be married. But it is 1942 and the war has taken Emilio far from Italy, to a northern Scottish island where he is a POW. Rosa must wait for him to return and help her mother run the family hotel on the shores of Lake Como, in Italy. Feeling increasingly frustrated with his situation, Emilio is inspired by the idea of building a chapel on the barren island. The prisoners band together to create an extraordinary building out of little more than salvaged odds and ends and homemade paints. While Emilio’s chapel will remain long after the POW camp has been left to the sheep, will his love for Rosa survive the hardships of war and separation?  Rosa is no longer the girl that he left behind. She is being drawn further into the Italian resistance movement and closer to danger, as friendships and allegiances are ever complicated by the war. Human perseverance and resilience are at the heart of this strong debut and the small Italian chapel remains, as it does in reality on the island of Lamb’s Holm, as a symbol of these qualities.


About Kirsten McKenzie

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Kirsten McKenzie is 32 and lives in Pittenweem with her husband and two children. The Chapel at the Edge of the Worldis her first novel. 
Published July 9, 2009 by John Murray Publishers Ltd. 392 pages
Genres: History, Romance, War, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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