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LILIA – a True Story of Love, Courage, and Survival in the Shadow of War.

Author Linda Ganzini offers a powerful page-turning novel of her mother’s inspiring true story. Lilia is an emotionally wrenching coming-of-age and compelling family drama. Trapped under Mussolini’s reign and Hitler’s occupation, this riveting tale is propelled by a brave girl’s courage and a family’s bond as they struggle to survive the battle between the forces of evil and the power of love.

Where there is love, hope remains.

Against the backdrop of fascist Italy during World War II and the Holocaust, Lilia sets the stage for the harrowing story of a family whose depth of heart overcomes a war tearing them apart—years marred by unfathomable tragedies, immense loss, upheaval, and countless betrayals.


Lilia resigns herself to a world crushed by misery, abject poverty, and a broken, bitter mother who suffers insurmountable grief. The burden of war, loneliness, and adult responsibilities rob her of a carefree childhood. Witnessing her parent’s challenge to stay alive during the Nazi occupation becomes Lilia’s greatest sorrow, one she makes the most heroic efforts to conceal. Ultimately, tragic loss and unanswered prayers dim the flame of her belief in the future. Will a seed of love reignite Lilia’s faith leading her towards an unforgettable and inspiring triumph over tragedy? Or will the dark shadow of war plague her destiny forever?

This poignant account will transport you to a lost moment in history that irreversibly changes a quaint Northern Italian village, transforming its people for generations to come. Through the eyes and fearless spirit of a young girl, Lilia’s family story comes to life on the page, and it will remain in your heart long after you finish the final chapter.

“Memories of war and a stolen childhood still burn in my heart and tear at my soul. I was a young girl who was made to endure the unthinkable. During the occupation, German soldiers invaded our village—a known hideout for partisans. Spies acted as friends by day and informants to the Nazis by night. Unable to trust anyone, we lived in silence so deafening it was torture. The darkest day of my life came when the Nazis took my brother. I felt helpless as the war tore our family apart. His last words to my mother: Mama, if I don't go now, they will kill us all.” I saw the pain in my mother's eyes. I felt her heart cry words she could never speak. Haunted by death, I prayed: God, let me grow up before I die. Like the war, my life was senseless.”

Lilia Ganzini

Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada

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Lilia Ganzini 

“After securing my passport and a third-class ticket, I was set to leave my country behind for America on July 25, 1956 aboard the SS Andrea Doria luxury liner. Due to unexpected document delays, immigration moved up my departure date to March 16 on the Saturnia. July 25th, the Andrea Doria collided with MS Stockholm causing numerous casualties, making it one of history’s most tragic maritime disasters. The ship capsized and sank the following morning disappearing into the Atlantic Ocean. My life was spared that day. Destiny had a better plan for me.”


SS Saturnia


“In the past two days, I traveled to and from Alaska’s capital city, but along the way I visited much more memorable destinations. I explored 1940s Italy —Mussons, Rome, and WWII’s most brutal concentration camps. I fell in love with a place I have never been and with a poor family that I will likely never meet. Page after page I followed their harrowing journey through our Second World War, and its aftermath. In Lilia I found lasting love, unbearable loss, and courage beyond imagining. As a father and a war veteran I connected on a deep emotional level with the characters. Although I didn’t intend to, I paid for my journey with a bounty of tears. This true story by debut novelist Linda Ganzini is a beautiful masterpiece. Bring it home to adorn your bookshelf and to live in your heart.”

Sidney Wood  Author of Path of Jen: Bloodborne

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