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Review: EVERY TIME WE SAY GOODBYE by Natalie Jenner

REVIEW by Christina Boyd

Every Time We Say Goodbye, international bestselling author Natalie Jenner’s third novel, is set in post-World War II Rome. In 1955, Vivien Lowry, a main character from Jenner’s second novel, Bloomsbury Girls, is a bookseller turned playwright. But devastating reviews shut down her London play. Her friend Peggy Guggenheim suggests she go to Rome and take a job as a script doctor.

“One doesn’t go to Italy to escape the past, but to acquire one.”—Chapter 1


Once in Rome, Vivien discovers a thriving film industry with renowned directors and glamorous actors—and everyone seems to have a secret. Complex characters are introduced in nearly every scene, adding more pieces to the puzzle.


“Our secrets are who we really are.”—Chapter 14


In a beautiful city with a new career and a charming lover, Vivien is determined to start fresh even as she investigates the mysterious disappearance of her fiancé, who was a soldier and vanished in Italy during the war.


Amidst the complexities of post-war cinema, a brave era of artistic liberties arises, paving the way for creative and cultural expression. However, the Catholic Church's power in Italy halts production.


“…their choices as artists, as craftsmen, would always be subject to his sensibilità and that of the church.”—Chapter 27

Jenner takes her time developing the characters and setting out the pieces, and about halfway through, the story gains traction. I adore Jenner’s well-researched, richly colored, thoughtful novels and admit that I loved Every Time We Say Goodbye even more on a second read, understanding how all the characters and storylines fit.


Although, as in Natalie Jenner’s previous novels, there is a satisfying happily-ever-after, the haunting last pages left me melancholy.

 “Saying goodbye is the hardest thing in the world, save for one, and that is being cheated of it.”—Chapter 40

 A nuanced and heartbreaking tale indeed.


NATALIE JENNER is the author of the instant international bestseller The Jane Austen Society and Bloomsbury Girls. A Goodreads Choice Award runner-up for historical fiction and finalist for best debut novel, The Jane Austen Society was a USA Today and #1 national bestseller and has been sold for translation in twenty countries. Born in England and raised in Canada, Natalie has been a corporate lawyer, career coach and, most recently, an independent bookstore owner in Oakville, Ontario, where she lives with her family and two rescue dogs. Visit her website to learn more.



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