Author: Virginia Baily
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
ISBN: 978-0-316-30039-1

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Early One Morning by Virginia Baily is a gripping dual narrative story.   The first story, set against a WW11 background in Rome, Italy has the reader intimately involved with the main characters who, in surprisingly unexpected ways, eventually intersect with the characters of the second story, which is set in Cardiff, Wales in the 1970‘s.

As Nazis are rounding-up Jewish families who live in Rome’s Jewish ghetto, seven year old Daniele Levi and his mother are being herded onto a truck on its way to a concentration camp.  Desperately trying to have Daniele let go of her coat so he doesn’t get on the transport truck with her, she locks eyes with Chiara Ravello’s piercing stare.  In that moment, Chiara makes a split- second decision.  “That’s my nephew” she calls out and in doing so, rescues Daniele from almost certain death.  Little did she know that this act of unconditional kindness would bring unexpected consequences that would affect her, Daniele, her younger epileptic sister Cecilia and sixteen year old Maria from Wales.

This is a story of family - biological and chosen.  It is a story of heartache and heartbreak, of jealousy and rebellion, of regret and longing.  Emotions run rampant … Daniele is not able to understand why his mother disappeared and Chiara took her place … Cecilia is not able to understand why Daniele has been added to their home taking Chiara's attention away from Cecilia … Daniele's anger leads to his being uncommunicative and rebellious ... Chiara’s affection  for Daniele quickly moves to indulgence which does nothing to help him become a responsible adult ... Cecilia becomes jealous and her epileptic seizures increase ... and as Daniele's rebellion moves into criminal acts, he eventually disappears from Chiara’s life.  Completely.  Chiara grieves her loss of Daniele, but never forgets him and hopes that one day they will be reunited.  

As the second narrative emerges far away in Wales, a young girl (Maria) learns that the Welsh father who raised her is not the man who fathered her.  And, she discovers that her biological father was an Italian man named Daniele.  Maria becomes steadfast in her search to learn about her biological father and one day, when she learns about Chiara, she makes a phone call to Rome.   

Now forced to make a decision - confront the past where she was deeply wounded by Daniele and possibly learn what happened to him or put the past behind her, reluctantly, Chiara agrees to have Maria come for a visit.

The visit brings more to Chiara that she could ever have asked or imagined and raises the age-old question of identity (who am I?  what is life all about? when bad things happen, what happens to the ‘me’ that is inside me?) as both Chiara and Maria come to discover the intangible blessing of love.

Author Virginia Baily has a special ability to weave a story within a story and not lose sight of the integrity of either story.  She effortlessly develops her plots and characters in ways that intrigue and involve the reader in captivating ways.  Hopefully, just as Baily wrote the story of Chiara and Maria, she will soon write the story of Daniele.  It is a story that clearly needs telling and who better than Virginia Baily?