New book tells of tragic Newport-Italians' voyage
7:02am Tuesday 15th October 2013 in News
A NEW book based on the story of a Newport grandfather’s fated voyage on the Arandora Star has been released.
The Arandora Star which was used to transport troops during the war sank in 1940, costing hundreds of lives.
Author and journalist Natalie Dye, 47, of Surrey, spent a year writing what she believes is the first novel to be based on the sinking of the Arandora Star, using her own family history to tell the tale.
The book written in memory of all those who lost their lives on the Arandora Star, 2 July, 1940, and their families, was inspired by her husband Gino Tambini’s grandfather Giovanni Tambini who died on the ship.
Mr Tambini who emigrated to South Wales from Bardi, in Italy, many years before war broke out, ran a cafe on Commercial Street called Maria’s along with his wife Luisa who was left to bring up four young children.
Two of Mr Tambini’s four children still live in Gwent today; Luigi Tambini, of Caldicot, a former catering manager of Caldicot leisure centre and Dorina Bright who was mayoress of Newport during the 1990s as her husband Bob Bright was mayor.
Mrs Dye said: “The sinking of the Arandora Star affected so many families in South Wales, including my grandfather-in-law’s - he was one of many Italians from Newport lost on the ship.
“Their loss is still keenly felt today.
“His wife Luisa ran a cafe in the town and was a very popular, familiar face to many, and we have many relatives still living in the Newport area.
“I believe it is the first novel based on the tragedy and is extensively researched.
“The main characters are fictional but key events and historical figures such as Churchill are portrayed accurately.”
Based on real events, the story follows a young woman trapped in an unhappy marriage whose embarks on a romance with an Italian widower.
But as their relationship develops, so does Prime Minister Churchill’s determination that all adult male Italians in Britain should be imprisoned, and the ‘most dangerous characters’ deported, leading to Detective Inspector William Morgan compiling the list which lead the innocent Italian to the Arandora Star.
The mother of two added: “My main concern when writing the book was that I wanted to do it justice.
“The loss of the ship had a big impact on the community and when talking to Giovanni’s wife Luisa before she died about it she was always very quiet but there was an enormous amount of pain and hurt there so I wanted to try and do it justice.”
For more information visit www.nataliedye.co.uk
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