The Best Years

Original title: I migliori anni

Author: Giorgio, Cinzia

Publication Date:

January 2020



Original language and publisher

Italian | Newton Compton Editori

Territories Handled

English (North America), Netherlands


Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction

The Best Years

Original title: I migliori anni

Author: Giorgio, Cinzia


I wish it would have never ended, because this novel has roots in a past whose echo constantly resonates page after page, dragging the reader in the whirlpool, and you can feel it on your skin.

An exciting family saga in an era of violence that has chased Matilde’s dreams and made her struggle for her feelings. It’s a story of a strong woman and her courage. An unforgettable story of a family.

The Best Years” leaves that sense of depth and satisfaction for reading a significant and profound novel. A novel about a strong woman, a warrior who
despite everything oversteps her fears and bravely faces life.

The writing is elegant, we enjoy the direct and significant prose that blends in a natural way with the structure of the classic historical novel and the structure of a family saga.

We live deep feelings on every page: love, sacrifice, fear. Male and female characters, real characters are the combination of a perfect puzzle.  Matilde leaves you breathless as she throws herself into the fire on every page, she becomes that friend ready to scold you with determination and, a few seconds after hold you tight and encourage you to move forward.

We see the characters changing, and at the end they will no longer be just characters, but people: people we’ll miss, people we’ll want to embrace.

I believe that its strength lies not only in her style, but especially in the story: everything is completely true, from beginning till the end. An incredible woman stands out, capable of extreme strength, extreme determination, carrying a wound that can never be healed: a wound carved deeply in her heart from being true to herself.— Alessandra Penna, editor at Newton Compton

The unforgettable story of a woman who followed her dreams and fought for her emotions.

April 1975, Rome: at the age of 48, Matilde Carbiana is about to become a grandmother; and the baby has decided to arrive on her birthday. What should be a joyful time turns out to be the spark that reignites terrible memories of a past too painful to forget.

Summer 1943. Venosa, a small town in Basilicata, the heart of southern Italy, is occupied by the Nazis, who are terrorising the locals. Matilde, being young and stubborn, has no intention of spending her life confined to the provinces. Her plan is to convince her father to let her go to Bari to finish her studies. Fausto Carbiana simply can’t say no to his favourite daughter, and agrees, on the condition that Matilde is accompanied by her brother Antonio. In Bari, they share a boarding house with other students, including Gregorio, a young medic, for whom Matilde nurtures a deep dislike that slowly transforms into an opposite, but equally profound feeling.

In an Italy shattered by the end of the Second World War, Nazi-Fascist oppression, and the fervour of the Liberation, Matilde must fight against a violent and chauvinistic society to hold on to her love and emancipate herself as a woman. Set between the gloriously decadent Bari of the 1940s, and 1970s Rome, I migliori anni is a powerful family story that offers a charming and passionate insight into the history of Italy. We see society through the love story of an unforgettable heroine, Matilde, through her dreams, her betrayals, and her difficult life.

Cinzia Giorgio’s limpid, captivating prose creates a novel inspired by the true stories of her own family, with a heroine who is simultaneously intense, sweet and cruel.