Bella Fortunaby Rosanna Chiofalo
In this warm, enchanting debut novel, Rosanna Chiofalo evokes the extraordinary beauty of Venice, the charm of a close-knit New York neighborhood, and the joys of friendship, family, and surprising second chances. . .
Valentina DeLuca has made hundreds of brides' dreams come true. At Sposa Rosa, the Astoria, New York, boutique where she, her sisters, and their… See more details below
In this warm, enchanting debut novel, Rosanna Chiofalo evokes the extraordinary beauty of Venice, the charm of a close-knit New York neighborhood, and the joys of friendship, family, and surprising second chances. . .
Valentina DeLuca has made hundreds of brides' dreams come true. At Sposa Rosa, the Astoria, New York, boutique where she, her sisters, and their mother design and sew couture knock-off gowns, she can find the perfect style for even the most demanding customer. Now, it's her turn. Valentina has loved Michael Carello ever since he rescued her from a cranky shopkeeper when she was ten years old. He's handsome, chivalrous, and loyal. And in a few weeks, she's going to marry himin Venice.
But just when she thinks everything is falling into place, Valentina is forced to re-examine her life to see what truly makes her happy. And as she soon learns, in a place as magical as Venice, what seems like misfortune can turn out to be anything but, although who knows what may be waiting around the next corner? The chance to enjoy a moonlit gondola ride, to sip Prosecco in St. Mark's Square, to eat mouthwatering gelato, to put aside "sensible" for once and see where the warm Italian breezes guide her as she visits all the sights she's dreamed of: The Doge's Palace, Il Rialto, the little islands of Murano and Burano. And maybe, along the way, to discover that bella fortunagood luckisn't what you're given, but what you make.
Advance praise for Bella Fortuna
"Like a gondolier navigating the canals of Venice, Rosanna Chiofalo takes you on a magical ride filled with family and friends, love and loss, heartbreak and happiness. Bella Fortuna is a warm glimpse into Italian-American life." Holly Chamberlin, author of Last Summer
"Reading Rosanna Chiofalo's depiction of a modern Italian-American family is like digging into a fresh bowl of pastawarm, welcome, and satisfying. A deeply felt debut that affirms the importance of friends and familyItalian-style." Lisa Verge Higgins, author of The Proper Care and Maintenance of Friendship
"From the streets of New York to the canals of Venice, Rosanna Chiofalo creates a warm and lively story the reader won't want to see end. Valentina DeLuca is a heroine with intelligence, heart, and courage, the kind of person every woman wants for a dear friend. Time spent with her is a sheer joy." Mary Carter, author of The Pub Across The Pond
"Go to Venice. Ride a gondola. See St. Mark's square. Chase the pigeons. Then go back to your hotel room overlooking a canal, take out Bella Fortuna, and read. It will make your whole day perfetto." Cathy Lamb, author of A Different Kind of Normal
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By ROSANNA CHIOFALO
KENSINGTON BOOKSCopyright © 2012 Rosanna Chiofalo
All right reserved.
Chapter OneUnlucky 13
I've never considered myself very lucky. Maybe it has something to do with my being born on Friday the 13th and one day shy of Valentine's Day. For a long time, I've been convinced that my birth date is the reason why I've been so cursed in love. And my being named after the patron saint of love, St. Valentine, when I've had nothing but agita in romance just makes it more painfully ironic. Agita is what Italians call grief of the worst kind. To top it off, my mother is very superstitious and believes in the dreaded malocchio, or evil eye, even though it's 2010. Malocchio is when someone puts a curse on you. And many Italians are fervent believers in the mighty power of the malocchio. But none of that matters anymore since I've finally met "the one."
Thinking about this and how my luck has changed, on this cold Sunday morning, I walk out of church. January in New York City is definitely not one of my favorite months. But as every New Yorker knows, the frigid temps don't stop you. The streets are the quietest on Sunday mornings, my favorite time to be walking through Astoria, the Queens neighborhood where I grew up and still live.
The attendance at the eight a.m. Mass at Immaculate Conception is usually low—too early for most people to get up on the weekend. Even though it's a drag to get myself out of bed, I still go through this weekly ritual. It's meditative for me. It's not often one can go somewhere in New York City without running into a crowd so you have to grab your quiet moments when you can. Sunday mornings are when I can hear myself think best. Even though it's just slightly above the freezing mark, I take my time walking home.
The shops that do open on Sundays are slowly coming to life. Several joggers pass me on their way to Astoria Park. Dogs are trotting along, immune to the nip in the air.
Anyone who knows me will tell you that I love to people-watch, and New York City is a great place to do it. Probably nowhere else in the world will you encounter as many people from different ethnic, socioeconomic, and religious backgrounds—well, except for at an airport!
The aroma of fresh baked bread from the Italian bakeries reaches my nose. Through the windows, I spy a few old men already sitting at the bakeries' tables, sipping their cappuccinos and reading La Corriere della Sera newspaper. As I step through the doors of Antoniella's Bakery, I spot Paulie Parlatone's S-shaped receding hairline behind his newspaper.
Paulie is known as "the Mayor of 35th Street" or "Il Sindaco" for his meddling in everyone's affairs on my block. He has no idea he'd been christened with this nickname, just as he has no idea that he talks too much. The irony isn't lost on everyone that his last name, "Parlatone," means "big talker" in Italian. Paulie will stop you in the street and grill you to the point where you finally surrender and tell him your personal business just so you can end the conversation more quickly.
The worst is when he shows up at your house unannounced. He often comes to my home right after dinner, asks my mother for a toothpick, and makes himself just as comfortable as if he's sitting in his own house. While he talks to us, he picks his teeth with the toothpick. And no matter how well you hide your dirty laundry, nothing gets past Paulie.
I quickly walk by Paulie's table at Antoniella's, praying not to be noticed.
I keep walking, pretending I can't hear amid the din in the crowded bakery. Already there's a line of customers, waiting to get their Sunday Danish, croissants, and biscotti. I try to hide behind the Shaquille O'Neal dead ringer who stands in front of me on line. But not even the man's tall figure disguises me. A finger taps me on the shoulder.
"Valentina! Didn't you hear me?"
"Ohhh, Paulie. I'm sorry. I'm a bit preoccupied, and with the noise in here, I guess I didn't hear you." I give him a faint smile.
"Always thinking! That's been you since you were a little girl. Remember the time you almost hit me while you were riding your bike? You were staring right up at the clouds. I had to whistle to get your attention."
Of course I remember that day. It's true, I did like to daydream a lot as a kid. Sometimes, I wish I had hit him—nothing too serious—just enough to shut him up for even a second.
"Well, enjoy your day, Paulie." I return my attention to the pastry display case, pretending I still haven't made up my mind as to what I'm ordering.
Paulie doesn't seem to notice or care.
"So where are you off to?"
"I'm going to the shop."
"You're open today? Sposa Rosa's never been open on a Sunday. Are you losing money?"
I picture myself on my childhood bike, hitting him head on— again and again.
"No, business has actually never been better, especially after the feature Brides magazine did on us a few months ago. I have to finish my wedding dress, and with the store being as busy as it is, the only time I get to work on it is late at night or on Sundays."
"Of course! Of course!" Paulie slaps his forehead. "How could I forget? Our little Valentina is finally getting married. You know I was beginning to get a little worried for you."
Oh, how I wish I were on that bike right now—no, make that a car instead.
"Paulie!" I laugh through gritted teeth. "I'm not the only woman in New York to have waited to get engaged until she was in her thirties!"
"I know. I know. But I just couldn't understand why no one had snagged you sooner. You're such a pretty girl with a good head on your shoulders."
Apparently, Paulie's definition of shoulders is different from mine since his eyes rest on my breasts. I forgot to mention that Paulie is also a perv. He rarely misses a chance to ogle a woman's boobs.
"I was just picky. There aren't enough good men out there."
"May I take your order, miss?"
The salesgirl saves me.
"It was nice talking to you, Paulie. 'Bye!"
I place my order for Palline di Limone biscotti and even throw in a few assorted mini Danish so I can talk to her longer, hoping Paulie will leave me alone.
It works! Paulie walks away.
"Hey, Valentina!" He stops, returning to my side.
"Have I told you I can't wait to spin you around the dance floor at your wedding? Oh, wait! You're getting married in Venice. That's too far. I won't be there."
Thank you, God, Mary, and all the blessed saints in heaven! I nod sadly, belying my true thoughts of elation. Then I look down into my purse as I search for my wallet. I know I'm being rude, but I don't care. Paulie has been rude toward my family countless times. He finally leaves the bakery, picking up one of the complimentary toothpicks on the counter.
I breathe a sigh of relief. Choosing to get married in Venice was the best decision I ever made. I put Paulie as far away from my thoughts as possible, and focus on returning to the meditative, blissful state I was in before I ran into him.
After leaving the bakery, I pass Anthony's Salumeria. My mouth waters as I spot Anthony slicing prosciutto—my favorite Italian cold cut. Unable to resist, I walk into the deli and order half a pound of the salty meat along with a block of sharp provolone.
"Good morning, Valentina!"
"Hi, Anthony! How are you?"
"Can't complain. I'll be out of here by noon. The Giants are playing so I've got that to look forward to."
Anthony always gives me the first slice of meat to sample even though I know he carries nothing but the freshest products.
"Hmmm! Still the best!"
Anthony smiles. Sometimes, I think he goes through this ritual more for his own sake than mine. He just can't resist hearing his cold cuts praised.
Although I am used to the sights and sounds of the neighborhood that has been my home since I was a child, they seem more vibrant today. The bread at Antoniella's Bakery smells particularly heavenly. The froth threatening to spill over from the patrons' cappuccinos looks thicker, and the prosciutto at Anthony's is the sweetest ever. Even my three-carat emerald-cut diamond engagement ring sparkles brighter today.
Yes, it's the start of a new year, and finally I feel like this is going to be my year. After designing and sewing wedding dresses for other lucky brides-to-be for so long, it will now be my turn to shine in the spotlight. In just five months, on June 14th to be precise, I'll be marrying Michael Carello in my favorite city in the world— Venice.
I had secretly admired Michael since I was ten years old. Michael was thirteen, but even though he was three years older than me, he always said hi and tried to make me laugh. Popular at school and in our neighborhood, Michael and his family lived around the block from me, so I often saw him playing football or hockey with his friends on my street.
He has blond hair and blue eyes, defying the dark southern Italian stereotype. He takes after his mother. Iva Carello is beautiful even now that she's in her late fifties and is often told she resembles the deceased Princess Grace of Monaco in her twilight years. His father, Joseph Carello, also poses a striking figure, with intense black eyes and a full head of hair at sixty. He always wears a suit, and on his days off from work, he still wears trousers with a button-down shirt, minus the tie and jacket.
Michael has definitely inherited his parents' sense of style. Even as a kid when he wore jeans or got dirty playing sports, he always looked good. It's hard not to notice Michael. But what really branded my devotion to him was when he had come to my defense at Li's Grocery Store when I was a kid.
I passed Li's Grocery Store every day on my way to school. My mother sometimes bought a few groceries there. It wasn't a real supermarket in the sense that you could get your week's worth of shopping. Mr. Li, a Taiwanese immigrant, owned the store and never had a smile for his patrons. Maybe that, along with its limited stock, was why hardly anyone frequented the store. But Li's did have an aisle full of cool school supplies like pretty binders with flower or fairy patterns, spiral notebooks with sparkly glitter covers, Hello Kitty pencil cases, and my favorite—Strawberry Shortcake erasers that smelled like strawberries, of course.
Every afternoon when I walked home from school for lunch, I would stop by Mr. Li's to eye the stationery I couldn't afford. I always politely greeted Mr. Li, who acknowledged me even if it was just a stern "Hello." So I was shocked when one day he yelled at me as I was leaving the store.
"You! Yes, I talk to you. What you have in pocket?"
I froze as if he had a gun cocked right at my head.
"I say what in pocket? Take hand out."
I took my hands out of my powder-blue, faux-fur-trimmed coat, holding my palms up to show him they were empty as I whispered, "Nothing."
"You come every day. No buy anyteeng. Why?"
"I was just looking."
My heart was beating as fast as my cat Gigi's after my mother had thrown her heavy clog at him for stealing food off our table when we weren't looking.
"Hey! Leave her alone! She didn't take anything!"
I hadn't even seen Michael and his best friend, Sal, standing at the register. Utter humiliation washed over me as my face flushed, resembling the color of the half-rotten pomegranates that lay in the boxes at the front of the store.
"She here every day. Hide in back. Teenk I no see. I no idi-uht. She never buy anyteeng. She steal."
"I know her. She would never steal a penny. It's a free country. She can come in here and look without buying anything. Just because she doesn't buy your crummy stuff doesn't mean she's stealing."
Mr. Li frowned and glanced at me again. I lowered my eyes to the floor.
"It's okay, Valentina. Come on, let's get out of here."
Michael placed his arm around my shoulders, leading me out. I could feel Mr. Li's gaze burning a hole through the back of my head as if he was trying to read my mind, still questioning if I'd somehow stolen something and had cleverly hidden it.
Once outside, Michael turned to Sal. "Give us a minute. I'll catch up with you in a second." Sal nodded his head and walked toward school.
Michael removed his arm from my shoulder and bent his head lower so his eyes met mine. I stared at the ground, wishing I could shrink to the size of the ants that were crawling around the broken pieces of bread that someone had thrown to the pigeons.
"Are you okay?"
I nodded my head. "Thanks," I managed to mutter in a tiny voice.
Michael patted my arm. "Don't feel bad. You hear me? You didn't do anything wrong. You're a good girl, Valentina. Mr. Li's a stingy jerk. He once wouldn't let an old lady who was short a quarter walk out of there with a loaf of bread. I gave him the quarter. What a creep."
I just nodded my head again and continued to look down at the cracks in the sidewalk.
"Well, I gotta get back to school. My lunch break is almost over. But if you want, I'll walk you home."
I shook my head. "No. That's okay. Thank you."
"Don't sweat it!"
I turned and began walking home.
I stopped and looked over my shoulder, still not meeting Michael's worried gaze.
"If anyone ever treats you like that again, just tell me. I'll take care of them for you."
I finally managed to smile at him. He winked at me and then turned around, running to catch up with Sal.
That wink was all it took to make me fall completely in love with Michael. After that day, every time I saw Michael he always winked at me after he said hello. It was as if he knew its power. For with that one wink, I felt myself soar high above the sky, dancing in midair with the birds. Now my childhood fantasies of wedding my prince someday were replaced with dreams of marrying Michael.
And that was how my crush on Michael began. But I had to watch helplessly over the years as he dated one girl after another. When I turned fourteen and puberty finally decided to pay me a visit, filling in my flat chest and narrow hips, Michael still seemed to look at me as if I were that ten-year-old kid whom he'd rescued. I'd noticed his friends staring at me a few times when they thought I wasn't looking, but not Michael. Unlike his friends, his gaze always met mine rather than my boobs, which were already a C-cup at that point. But something had changed in how he treated me. He no longer winked at me after he said hello. In fact, he didn't even try to make me laugh, as he'd loved to do when I was younger. I didn't get it.
So I started dating, having one miserable relationship after another or not having a boyfriend when important occasions arose like a friend's Sweet Sixteen party or my sophomore-year dance. My best friend, Aldo, had gone with me to the dance. I could always count on Aldo when I needed a date. So I'd put on my best poker face and pretended I was having a blast with him when all I could think about was, Why can't I have a boyfriend for longer than two months? Why can't I have a boyfriend here with me instead of my best friend?
Of course, Michael still wound his way into my thoughts, but not as much since he'd left for Cornell University. I only saw him when he came home for breaks. I was beginning to accept the fact that he'd never have any interest in me as anything more than a childhood friend. I was the little sister he never had, nothing more. Yet from time to time, my mind still wandered to him, wondering what he was doing.
"Swaying room as the music starts ... strangers making the most of the dark."
Madonna's "Crazy for You" was playing. I loved this song. I felt a hand on my shoulder and turned around.
"Hey! What are you doing here?"
"I heard the music from outside. I couldn't resist coming in and catching up with some old friends and teachers."
"They let you in?"
"Of course! Why not?" He winked at me.
Oh my God! He hadn't winked at me in years. It still had the same bone-melting effect on me.
"Come on. Let's dance." Michael took my hand, leading me to the dance floor. My heart was racing so fast, I was convinced he could see it. He pulled me close to him as we slowly danced to the music. He rested his chin on my shoulder. I swallowed hard. I should probably make some conversation. But all I wanted to do was close my eyes and listen to the words of Madonna's "Crazy for You."
"Isn't this such a great song?" Michael pulled his head back and looked into my eyes, smiling.
"You like this song, too?" I asked incredulously.
"Yeah, it's one of my all-time eighties favorites, right up there with The Cure's 'Just Like Heaven.'"
"Oh my God! I love that song!"
Excerpted from Bella Fortuna by ROSANNA CHIOFALO Copyright © 2012 by Rosanna Chiofalo. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON BOOKS. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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I received this ARC from Kensington Books for an honest review. This novel captured my heart and soul. It is set in Astoria, a neighborhood of small shops and homes, in Queens, N.Y. We follow an Italian couple who immigrated to New York from Sicily, both husband and wife trained in tailoring. They have three daughters, and fulfill the dream of opening a bridal shop, after struggling for years. The shop is called Sposa Rosa, the Pink Bride. Olivia, the hard working woman who owns the shop, lost her husband years ago to cancer. Her daughters, Valentina, Connie and Rita, help her with customers, plus designing and sewing wedding dresses. Valentina is the oldest, weeks away from marrying the man she has loved since she was six. We meet a delightful cast of characters in Astoria, very much a part of Valentina’s childhood and now as a young woman. There are curses, malocchio, which is the evil eye, tarot readings, and so much love and laughter between these pages. We learn about Olivia’s younger years in Sicily, meeting Nicola, her future husband, and a few secrets she keeps totally to herself! I became so attached to these characters I didn’t want the novel to end. Filled with forgiveness and hope , I would recommend this novel to everyone, especially those of us growing up in a family of any ethnicity, with lots of stories to tell. I fell in love with this book, when I saw a bookmark included with another book to review. It was a picture of a beautiful bridge in Venice, with just a wisp of a vision of a bride. I immediately looked up the book and author, and e-mailed Kensington books begging to read and review it. It has been my pleasure to do so. I only hope Ms.Chiofalo has many more stories to tell!
Believe your true love will always find you! Debut author, Rosanna Chiofalo delivers a heart-warming love story that makes you want to believe in the timeless laws of happy-endings and true love although the journey itself contains the required dose of heartbreak that makes the end result worth it. A visit to Italy is a chance of a lifetime, even with the unforeseen deviation as to its initial purpose. Valentina DeLuca was born on Friday the 13th just one day short of Valentine’s Day, she believes her birth date contributes to the “unluckiness” she has had with love. However, the fact that her parents named her after the patron saint of love appears to have evened the odds in bringing her the love of her life, Michael Carello. Valentina has been in love with Michael Carello since she was a young girl when he came to her rescue. Now no longer a girl, the fates have finally intervened as in six months time Michael and Valentina are to be married in Venice. Valentina, as the oldest daughter of three, whose Italian heritage included the traditional suspicions her mother carried across the ocean from the old country, is taking no chances as she guards closely the secret of her solely designed wedding dress. Olivia DeLuca has been the owner of the New York bridal boutique Sposa Rosa, (because it rhymes!), which translates from Italian into the Pink Bride, to the chagrin of Valentina and her sisters for the last ten years. Here Valentina works designing and sewing the most gorgeous wedding dresses whose individual designs cannot help but cameo their owners on their most special day. The time has now come for Valentina to be the cameo! However, will the circumstances of her birth date yet again play havoc with the happiness and love Valentina so deserves? In this personal journey and with the support of her loving family, Valentina finds the true meaning of love. Along the way, a secret love thought long lost also surfaces, which only serves to remind us that true love will find you no matter the odds. I look forward to reading the next of Rosanna Chiofalo’s novels set to publish next year!
Growing up near Astoria, Queens, I was able to relate to this book. Also being of Italian descent, I understood a lot of what the author conveyed as far as Italian traditions. I loved the entire book. Can't wait to read another by this author.
I really enjoyed this book and the world building. I loved the Italy bits and the main character. It's been a while since I read this but I do recommend this. There is a whirlwind romance in it but I don't think it detracts from the story in any way. Loved it!
Reviewed by Angie Book provided by the publisher for review Review originally posted at Romancing the Book When I asked to read this book, it was purely because it sounded intriguing. When it arrived in the mail, I was quickly enamored with how the book looked. Now, I received an Advanced Reader’s Copy so your paperback may not look the same as mine, but I deeply love paperbacks whose covers also double as bookmarks. And the pages! Ah! They’re irregularly cut and thick and just…beautiful. Sometimes I get so wound up in my e-reader that I forget how beautiful a paperback can be. Bella Fortuna is a delightful story about a woman who is on the verge of marrying the man she’s loved since she was a little girl. The book is split up into two stories; Valentina’s – or Vee as most everyone calls her – first person account or from the narrative point of view of her extremely traditional Sicilian mother, Olivia. It was somewhat confusing at first to read Vee’s firsthand account and then suddenly switch to the narrative of her mother’s life, but I quickly was able to make the switch back and forth. Overall I really liked this book. Vee and her sisters were lovely, though I really wish we’d gotten to know Rita and Connie better. Olivia is a strong Italian mother who takes pride in not only her work, but her love for her children, her husband, and her birth country. She’s also very, very superstitious. You really get to know Vee’s best friend, Aldo, better than her sisters, something I thought was odd, but could be explained if the author is planning another book centered around the DeLuca family. There were two things that bothered me. One was that a good portion of the book is written in Italian; if you don’t have even a rudimentary understand of foreign languages, you may be a bit confused as there is very little translation. In fact, I had to stop reading at times to come online and translate passages I didn’t understand. The second “issue” I have is that conversation between characters was stilted and sometimes very awkward. Almost as if the characters weren’t comfortable talking to each other. Regardless, I did love this book and was sad when it came to an end. There were several moments that had this reviewer in tears, both because they were sad and because you just couldn’t help but be proud of Valentina and the lessons she had learned.
I felt like I was in Venice!
I do not know if I love or hate this book. There are some good elements to the story; however the tense changes and there is a lot of Italian.
I'm shocked by all of the positive reviews. This book reads as though it were written by a twelve year old. The dialogue is stilted and unrealistic, the storyline is shallow, and the characters are undeveloped. I was very disappointed.
Predictable and Formulaic – OK for the beach Neighborhood girl is engaged to her childhood crush, planning a Venice wedding. Engagement ends badly with crush revealing a secret. Shortly thereafter, girl decides to grow a backbone and go to Venice anyway. Girl meets and falls for a tour guide/art historian. She realizes how much she loves him, what true love really is and how little she actually loved Guy #1. She moves to Venice permanently to marry the Italian and everybody lives happily ever after. Sound familiar? It ought to – it’s the plot for countless fluffy romances. If you’re looking for a mindless beach read, it’s fine. If you’re looking for a significant new work, keep looking.
What a wonderfully romantic story; however, I did find it predictable. Valentina, her sisters and mother operate and own their own bridal shop that had recently been featured in Bride magazine. The girls all design their own gowns and the shop is very popular. You receive both Valentina’s point of view along with Olivia, her mother’s. Valentina is planning her dream wedding with the man of her dreams, Michael. The wedding is to take place in Italy and everything is set; however, Michael drops the bomb and turns Valentina’s life upside down. She does not allow for the disappointment in life to keep her from happiness. She pulls herself up and learns to live and love again. . .. The history of Italy that Chiofalo has given in this book is magnificent! It has such a rich mixture of art and history that it has deepened my desire to travel to this wonderfully romantic country. Although the novel was predictable, I would read novels by Chifalo again just for the background information that is given.
Very enjoyable book. Loved the warm family ties and family traditions. The author brought the characters to life. Relating to the characters would make for a good book club discussion. Look forward to the author's next book.
I loved this book and couldn't do my house work until I had finished it What a great new writer to add to our other favorites. IF YOU LIKE TO READ, CHECK THIS WRITER OUT!
Bella Fortuna by Rosanna Chiofalo Through the years Valentina DeLuca, Italian and Christian has endured the neighbors and others and loves Michael but he's into others. Years later when she's grown and is a wedding dress designer who is getting married to Michael we find out about her and his past histories having been raised in the same neighborhood. Her sisters and mother are also in the sewing business-different aspects of it. They are finally to be married in Italy and she's just finished her wedding dress. Tracy, who she thought would be her lifelong friend turns on her when they were teens and she gets back at her later in life for the betrayal. The book also travels back to when their parents had first come to America and the fears and dreams as they lived their lifes on the streets of Greenwich Village and Astoria Park. Lots of secrets over the years. Love the talk of the design field and jaunts to Central Park, some cooking secrets, Italian phrased explained in English and the travel to Italy=whoa! and the recipes at the end of the book. Betrayal, cancer, travel, death, and love make this a really great book to read.
I cannot believe someone published this! The grammar is terrible. I agree with the person who said it reads as though written by a twelve year old. And by the way, Ellis Island was closed down long before "Olivia" would have immigrated to the USA..... didn't anyone think about that? I don't know about the cultural inaccuracies and probably never will because I don't think i can finish it. What a waste of $11. I have read 99cent books with more substance.
The mysteries series set in venice. But this is a romance family italian plus foreign country genre combo plus cozy so dont expect more than a waiting room read mom
I managed to slog through this book to see what would end up happening to the characters, but I had a really hard time getting past the poor grammar and the inaccuracies about Venice and Venetian life. Whoever edited this book did not do the author any favors and frankly didn't do their job very well. But more importantly than that it painted a completely inaccurate picture of Venice and her customs. I have lived in Venice, I had just left Venice when I began to read the book and I don't have the patience to go back and point out every misstep the author made so you'll just have to trust me that if you do indeed ever go to Venice you will never be served granita for breakfast, etc, etc, etc. I assume the author is from a southern Italian family because many of the traditions and foods she mentions are from the south...which is fine for the Italian-American characters who are living in the states but not fine when she then transposes this onto the culture of a city that has its own foods and traditions.... So if you're interested in Venice, please don't read this book... go visit her instead. And if you're looking for a fluffy beach read and don't mind suspending reality (both for cultural inaccuracies and for "why in the world would the main character do that?", read away.