It is summer, 1956, when fifteen-year-old Bridget first meets Isabella. In their conservative Connecticut town, Isabella is a breath of fresh air. She is worldly, alluring and brazen: an enigma.
When they receive an offer to study at the Academy in Italy, Bridget is thrilled. This is her ticket to Europe and – better still – a chance to spend nine whole months with her glamorous and unpredictable best friend. There, lodged in a convent of nuns who have taken a vow of silence, the two girls move towards a passionate but fragile intimacy.
As the year rolls on, Bridget grows increasingly fearful that she will lose Isabella’s affections – and the more desperate she gets, the greater the lengths she will go to keep her. Belladonna is a hypnotizing coming-of age story set against the stunning and evocative backdrop of rural Northern Italy. Anbara Salam tells a story of friendship and obsession, desire and betrayal, and the lies we tell in order to belong.