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From Barnes & NobleBarnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers
Rich or poor, we each have an inheritance -- our heritage. But how well do we know the people we call our parents? It's a question that leads Olivia Bonocchio, the heroine of Danford's debut, across the Atlantic to confront a devastating past. Olivia's mother was claimed by cancer when she was just five, and her Italian-born father, Luigi, raised her. When Luigi succumbs to the effects of Alzheimer's disease, Olivia is largely relieved. While cleaning out his house, she discovers a deed to a house in Italy, dated 1940. Curious as to whether the property could now be hers, she impulsively travels to her father's hometown, where she quickly becomes involved with a local, and much to her dismay, begins to uncover her father's chilling youth.
With uncompromising skill, Danford weaves together a novel that works as a mystery, a family saga, an unusual of coming-of-age story, and a lesson in conversational Italian. Moving back and forth from WWII to the late 20th century, readers meet Olivia and Luigi at different stages in their lives: Luigi as a young Italian and a new American immigrant; Olivia as a child, a tenacious adolescent, and finally, as a woman hoping to find herself by combing through the past. The artifacts Olivia has - indeed, even a key - help illuminate the path to the truth. But inheritance, like the discovery of a hidden truth, is often a mixed blessing. (Spring 2007 Selection)