Kate Bristow Writes

Hello, I'm Kate.

I have spent almost 40 years working in advertising as a brand strategist in three continents, all the while harboring a dream of writing a novel. I have finally turned that dream into a reality. 

I first came across the story of Pasquale Rotondi in 2000, when my late husband, Huw, and I bought our dream home in the countryside near Urbino in central Italy. It took longer than we thought to renovate the five-hundred-year-old farmhouse, so between our frequent visits with architects and builders, we spent time in the nearby town of Sassocorvaro, drinking coffee outside a café or eating incredible pasta at one of the local restaurants. 

One day, we decided to check out the imposing Rocca in the center of town. Facsimiles of famous paintings were mounted on the walls with explanations for each in Italian. At the time, my Italian was virtually nonexistent, so it was a mystery to us what these displays meant.

Some internet research gave us the story of Pasquale Rotondi and the race to first keep the art safe from the ravages of war, and subsequently, after the German invasion of Italy in 1943, to save it from Hitler’s henchmen. We were surprised we had never heard this story before. 

The Ducal Palace, Urbino

Our beautiful valley near Sassocorvaro

Several years later, our surprise turned to something more akin to frustration when Robert Edsel’s well-researched nonfiction book The Monuments Men was turned into a Hollywood movie starring George Clooney. The movie highlighted the role played by American and British art historians in saving the art after the war, not the dangerous work done in 1943 and 1944 by Italians under the watchful eye of the German invaders. The movie scarcely mentioned the people who had put their lives on the line during the war years.

We talked about this many times with our neighbors and friends, Luca and Germana. I said I was determined to write this story one day. Luca joked he could play the lead in the subsequent movie of my novel. Years went by, and I did nothing.

In 2019, my dear husband, Huw, died prematurely from the ravages of cancer, and six months later we were hit by a global pandemic. I was forced to close our business. I was left bereft and a little lost as to how I was going to fill my time. I started a new venture with close friends, but I still had more time than I knew what to do with. Luca had also suffered the loss of his dear Germana a few years earlier. Life suddenly seemed cruelly short. My daughters, Tara and Savannah, encouraged me to do something with my extra time.

“Why not finally write that book?”

So I did. I hope you find the story as fascinating as we did.

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