The Caves of San Pietro is Susan Gayle’s debut novel. Set against the backdrop of the Allied push to drive the Nazis out of Italy, it’s a story of love, loss, and the remarkable power of generosity.
From the bloody Salerno beach landings to the German counteroffensive to the advance toward Monte Cassino, Gayle paints a vivid picture of the experience of war, not just for the soldiers but for the ordinary people trying to cope with the devastation of their lives. Her characters come alive on the page, and you will find yourself drawn to their sorrows and their joys.
“Susan Gayle’s passion shines through in this deeply personal and well-researched WWII tale. Her compelling characters and vivid prose draw the reader into a captivating world of war, sacrifice, family and the kindness of humans that not only transcends cultures, but generations. Trust me, this is a must read!” —Brad Taylor, NYT bestselling author of the Pike Logan series
“The author vividly captures the harshness of Nazi rule and the bravery of the Allied soldiers dedicated to the liberation of Italy. An intriguing and earnest… war tale.” –Kirkus Reviews
“This story is a vivid and well-written account of the battles and the heartbreak of the war in Italy. . . . a story of determination, grit, love, and the bonds of brotherhood and families. This is a highly recommended historical read.” —Sublime Book Review
“Susan Gayle has researched and written an excellent novel around these families, portraying the devastation that war brings upon civilians caught up in the horrors of war, while illustrating the bonds of love and human kindness that can be shown in such situations. A great book that everyone should read. 5 stars.” — LibraryThing Early Reviewer
“The author . . . created a vivid picture of life during the war, in Italy particularly. The experiences of both American soldiers and Italian citizens is indeed well researched and extremely well told. Do not skip the author’s notes at the end of the novel, along with the pictures.” —Man of la Book
What Readers Are Saying
“The Caves of San Pietro is the best book I have read this summer. I had to make myself close the book at night and walk away and still stayed up way too late reading. I loved the way that the back story was interwoven with the present. All the characters were intricate, and the descriptions of the countryside took me to Italy and the rest of the world fell away. This book is a must read, and I cannot wait to read another book written by Susan Gayle.”
“I loved this book, great story about a Texas family who survive tragedies and bond forever with a family worlds apart during WW2. The characters are vividly portrayed in Susan Gayle’s writing and you find yourself caught up in the story, wanting to keep reading. I couldn’t put the book down and then cried when I read the author’s notes in the end!”
“I was captivated early and wasn’t satisfied until completed; yet, saddened to reach the end. Susan Gayle brought me into the characters lives and made me feel a part of their story. The time and attention given to details and the descriptive way she brought this history lesson to life was thrilling; a real page turner. Hard to believe this is a first book. Look forward to her next read.”