Deeply rooted in the genre of historical fiction, Murphy’s newest novel Leo’s War follows a twelve-year-old boy named Leo. This multi-cultural and multi-generational novel revolves around Leo and his disabled sister Ruby as Hitler’s Nazis invade Italy. The deeply connected pair is sent reeling as their mother is arrested and the two are forced to travel to the Vatican to seek help from Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty. The Monsignor is not a traditional priest and is a renowned organizer of the Rome Escape Line. While at the Vatican Leo is quickly enlisted to help the Monsignor with the dangerous task of helping others escape the war-torn country.
In her book, Murphy perfectly entwines the deeply rooted love between families with the struggles of growing up in a Nazi-occupied state. Leo is lionhearted and completely driven by the love of his sister Ruby paired with the will to help others. This incredibly researched novel holds the reader captive by bringing attention to present-day issues such as violence, justice and integrity. While the topic may seem too intense for young readers, Murphy delicately constructs this story in a way that makes it completely accessible for a younger audience. Leo’s War is full to the brim with adventure, love, historical fact and the extraordinary determination of a 12-year-old boy.