The Last Masterpiece highlights the impact World War II had on Italian artifacts, with the Italians developing a plan to keep things safe from outside forces.


The Description

Publication Date: August 1, 2023

In a race across Nazi-occupied Italy, two women—a German photographer and an American stenographer—hunt for priceless masterpieces looted from the Florentine art collections.

In the summer of 1943, Eva Brunner is taking photographs of Nazi-looted art hidden in the salt mines of the Austrian hinterland. Across the ocean in Connecticut, Josephine Evans is working as a humble typist at the Yale Art Gallery.

When both women are called to Italy to contribute to the war effort, neither imagines she will hold the fate of some of the world’s greatest masterpieces torn from the Uffizi Galleries and other Florentine art collections in her hands.

But as Italy turns from ally to enemy and Hitler’s plan to destroy irreplaceable monuments and works of art becomes frighteningly clear, each woman’s race against the clock—and against one another—might demand more than they were prepared to give.

The Last Masterpiece takes readers on a heart-pumping adventure up the Italian peninsula, where nothing is as it seems and some of the greatest works of art and human achievement are at stake. Who might steal and who might save a work of art—and at what cost?

Inspired by the incredible true story of the Monuments Women, the Fifth Army WACs, and the looted Florentine art collections during World War II, the latest historical novel by USA Today bestselling author and art historian Laura Morelli plunges readers into the heart of war-torn Italy.

The Review

With World War II raging, precious artifacts in Italy were used as pawns in a political chess game. Unlike other European countries, Italy was considered an “occupied ally,” meaning the Nazis were initially focused on cataloging and protecting art.

Author Laura Morelli uses a dual storyline in her historical fiction novel titled The Last Masterpiece. This approach works well in delivering the perspectives of two main characters on opposite sides.

Eva is tasked with taking photographs of the precious artworks. As a German/Austrian, she believes the Americans are planning to steal the treasures. In fact, the Italians reported the loss of many of them.

Josie joins the Women’s Army Corps, where she uses her skills as a stenographer. She’s on the frontlines of the Allied’s foray into Italy, where they locate several secret repositories.

The two women come together in a well-crafted set of events when Eva realizes the priceless works she has been documenting are destined to be part of Hitler’s personal collection. While Eva might be working on the wrong side of history, she knows the art belongs to the Italians.

It’s a fascinating look at history from two perspectives. Both sides want to protect the artwork but for different reasons.

The Last Masterpiece highlights the impact World War II had on Italian artifacts, with the Italians developing a plan to keep things safe from outside forces.Buy Links

Amazon Barnes & Noble iBooks Kobo
Add to Goodreads

About The AuthorLaura Morelli holds a Ph.D. in art history from Yale University and is an award-winning, USA Today bestselling historical novelist. Laura has taught college students in the U.S. and in Italy. She has covered art and authentic travel for TED-EdNational Geographic TravelerItaly Magazine, CNN Radio, and other media. Laura is the author of the popular Authentic Arts guidebook series that includes Made in Italy. Her historical novels, including The Night Portrait and The Gondola Maker, bring the stories of art history to life.



Amy Wilson
Amy Wilson
My name is Amy W., and I am a book addict. I will never forget the day I came home from junior high school to find my mom waiting for me with one of the Harlequin novels from my stash. As she was gearing up for the "you shouldn't be reading this" lecture, I told her the characters get married in the end. I'm just glad she didn't find the Bertrice Small book hidden in my closet. I have diverse reading tastes, evident by the wide array of genres on my Kindle. As I made the transition to an e-reader, I found myself worrying that something could happen to it. As a result, I am now the proud owner of four Kindles -- all different kinds, but plenty of back-ups! "Fifty Shades of Grey" gets high marks on my favorites list -- not for character development or dialogue (definitely not!), but because it blazed new ground for those of us who believe provocative fiction is more than just an explicit cover. Sylvia Day, Lexie Blake, and Kristin Hannah are some of my favorite authors. Speaking of diverse tastes, I also enjoy Dean Koontz, Iris Johansen, and J.A. Konrath. I’m always ready to discover new-to-me authors, especially when I toss in a palate cleanser that is much different than what I would normally read. Give me something with a well-defined storyline, add some suspense (or spice), and I am a happy reader. Give me a happily ever after, and I am downright giddy.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisement -
The Last Masterpiece highlights the impact World War II had on Italian artifacts, with the Italians developing a plan to keep things safe from outside forces.4.5-STAR REVIEW: THE LAST MASTERPIECE by Laura Morelli