There is something different about Angelina. She is passionate and idealistic by nature, thanks to her Italian mother. But her German father's influence makes her stubborn and headstrong as well. With Europe embroiled in World War II and her father missing in Russia, Angelina journeys alone to seek out her mother's family in Italy. Instead, she finds Giulia, a kindred spirit, two years her senior. Both Angelina and Giulia are ardent Communists--and atheists. With Fascist Italy reeling under repeated defeats in the summer of 1943, the two girls decide to join the Italian partisans and fight for the socialist world revolution. Led by the dashing Antonio, the partisans are soon in action against the Nazis. Angelina's courage and devotion to the cause earn her Antonio's admiration--and his love. But when Angelina is injured in battle, she finds herself locked in a spiritual struggle every bit as daunting as her physical battle against the Nazis. Originally written in German in 1959, Leave If You Can is a beautiful novella of wartime Italy that explores the challenge of God's mystical call versus the overpowering allure of the world. Set against the backdrop of wartime Italy and the controversial bombing of the abbey at Monte Cassino, the book is a history lesson as well as a compelling read for young and old alike.
About the Author: Luise Rinser (1911-2002) was born in Bavaria, Germany. In her young life, Ms. Rinser was a teacher, but after her husband's death on the Russian front in World War II, Ms. Rinser was denounced as a traitor and imprisoned by the Nazi government. Only the war's end saved her from a death sentence. Her Prison Diary was the first book published in Germany after World War II. She went on to become a prominent literary figure in Germany and wrote many more books, including the novella Leave If You Can, which was originally published in German as Geh fort wenn du kannst. Though profoundly misled on certain religious and moral issues in her later life, Rinser remained a professed Catholic.