Vatican Waltz

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Overview

The new novel from the award-winning author of Golfing with God and Revere Beach Boulevard is the story of a young Catholic woman jolted from a quietly devout life in Boston by a miraculous call to action.

Cynthia Piantedosi lives a quiet, unassuming life with her elderly father just outside of Boston. When she loses her beloved grandmother as a child, her faith takes a turn for the devout, and she begins experiencing what she describes as "spells"—moments of such intense prayer...

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Vatican Waltz

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Overview

The new novel from the award-winning author of Golfing with God and Revere Beach Boulevard is the story of a young Catholic woman jolted from a quietly devout life in Boston by a miraculous call to action.

Cynthia Piantedosi lives a quiet, unassuming life with her elderly father just outside of Boston. When she loses her beloved grandmother as a child, her faith takes a turn for the devout, and she begins experiencing what she describes as "spells"—moments of such intense prayer that she loses herself. Uninterested in boys and a social life, she develops a deep friendship with the parish priest, whose ideas are often seen as too provocative by his congregation but who encourages her to explore her spells. When he dies in a suspicious hit-and-run accident, the spells intensify, and their message begins to take shape: God is asking her to be the first female Catholic priest. She reaches out to other unreceptive officials within the Catholic establishment and is met with ridicule. Unable to tune out the divine messages, she leaves behind all that she knows, letting the power of her unswerving faith drive her all the way to the Vatican in pursuit of a destiny she doesn't fully understand—and a turn of events that will rock the church to its foundation.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
★ 10/14/2013
Merullo’s (Breakfast with Buddha) latest is a page-turning novel of religious ideas written with love and imagination. Cynthia Piantedosi is a devout young Catholic woman studying to be a nurse. From her childhood she has had “spells”—times of intense absorption in prayer. With the help of her parish priest, she gradually discerns that God is calling her to the priesthood, and she sets off for Rome to make her argument for change to the Catholic hierarchy. With fillips of The Da Vinci Code conspiracy and Eat Pray Love gourmandism (in novels, every meal eaten in Italy is divinely inspired), this book will speak loudly to Catholic readers; some will cheer and others will object loudly. It also sings with finely observed details of family relationships, ethnic neighborhood life, and the life of prayer. The shoulda-seen-it-coming ending is a miracle. Merullo’s prior novels about faith have sold well; here’s praying for a similar outcome for this fresh take on institutional religion and what it means to hear God’s voice. Agent: Marly Rusoff, Marly Rusoff Literary Agency. (Dec.)
From the Publisher
Praise for Vatican Waltz

"Vatican Waltz is a welcoming place for parishioners and interlopers alike. . . . Catholics will identify with its plaintive call for the kind of renewal . . . that for many has been embodied in the inspiring figure of Pope Francis. But others, too, if they have kept their minds open, will be surprised at how uplifted they are by its story of individual courage and conviction.”--Wall Street Journal 

“A thoughtful and compelling view of religious imperatives in the 21st century.”--People magazine

“The novel becomes not just a portrait of a quiet woman, but of a troubled institution at a historical crossroads. . . . Along the way, Merullo skillfully turns [Cynthia] into a mirror of the complex and arrested world of church traditionalists, literalists, and self-preservationists.”--The Boston Globe

"A page-turning novel of religious ideas written with love and imagination . . . with fillips of The Da Vinci Code conspiracy and Eat Pray Love gourmandism."--Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Fans of Alice McDermott and Merullo’s earlier work will appreciate the heart, soul, and sheer joy found in Vatican Waltz and one woman’s commitment to a life far more miraculous than she ever imagined."--Booklist

“A fresh, moving portrait of religion as it could and should be.”--Kirkus Reviews, starred review

Praise for Roland Merullo

 
“Captivating . . . [Merullo] is adept at creating suspense, planting credible red herrings, and finally spilling the truth at just the right moment.”  —Boston Globe

“Merullo has a knack for rendering emotional complexities, paradoxes, or impasses in a mere turn of the phrase.”  —Chicago Tribune

“[Merullo] is simply a throwback to the days when novels by serious writers—Stevenson, Conrad, Greene—often had what are called ‘plots.’ ”  —St. Petersburg Times 
 

Library Journal
★ 11/15/2013
Unassuming Cynthia lives with her father outside of Boston while going to nursing school but is called to play a bigger role in history. The young Italian American protagonist leaves her hometown when prayer-induced visions impel her to go to Rome. Saddened that worshippers are leaving the outdated Roman Catholic Church by the millions, Cynthia is compelled to follow her destiny and let her power grow. Introspection tells her that God is asking her to become the first recognized female Catholic priest since early Christianity. She uses quiet logic to appeal to archbishops and cardinals, but they fear that this could lead to all kinds of havoc, including women popes. Amusingly told with exquisite delicacy, Merullo's compelling and suspenseful tale of faith propels the reader through mystery and revelation. Will dark forces permeating the Vatican use the knife they hold to Cynthia's back as she waltzes through her mysterious mission? VERDICT This spiritual journey, full of transcendent descriptions and plot twists, brings many moments of wisdom and humor to savor. For anyone with a philosophical bent, Merullo (Breakfast with Buddha; the Revere Beach trilogy) illuminates truth as only the keenest of observers can.—J.L. Morin, Boston Univ.
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2013-11-03
A young Massachusetts woman is prompted to share her messages from God with the Catholic Church hierarchy in Merullo's warmhearted addition to his series of unusual religious novels (American Savior, 2008, etc.). Cynthia Piantedosi attends nursing school and lives quietly with her taciturn, widowed father in Revere, Mass.; the constricted yet nurturing working-class milieu she describes in the novel's early chapters will be familiar to readers of In Revere, in Those Days (2002). Since she was a child, Cynthia has had "spells," visions carrying her away from the everyday world. "You are being asked by God to do something," says Father Alberto, the unconventional priest who becomes her mentor. After his death in a traffic accident, Cynthia grows to believe that God is calling her to be a priest. She's aware, as the unsympathetic local Monsignor tells her, that this is against church teachings, but Cynthia is impelled by the increasing force of her visions (beautifully depicted by Merullo as experiences of the world's divine harmony and unity) to press her case all the way to the Vatican in Rome. There, she is accosted at her hotel and then followed on the street by a mysterious man who may have been sent by forces within the Vatican hostile to the changes Cynthia believes are necessary to keep the Catholic Church as a living spiritual force in people's lives. These thriller elements provide additional narrative energy as Cynthia goes from Rome to Genoa to meet with a reform-minded cardinal, and the denouement is decidedly dramatic. But the real drama here is in the heroine's relationship with God--and secular-minded readers who think such matters don't interest them will think again if they give half a chance to Merullo's loving portrait of a quiet, unassuming woman impelled by faith into deeper engagement with sorrowful, suffering humanity. A fresh, moving portrait of religion as it could and should be. The cliffhanging finale offers hope that we will see more of Cynthia's odyssey in future books.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781482946819
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
  • Publication date: 12/3/2013
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 5.70 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Roland Merullo is the acclaimed author of fifteen previous books, including Revere Beach Boulevard, Golfing with God, and Breakfast with Buddha. Merullo’s work has been translated into German, Spanish, Korean, and Croatian, and he has won numerous prizes, including the Massachusetts Book Awards in both fiction and nonfiction. He lives in Massachusetts with his wife and two children.
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 8, 2014

    good pacing - very bad ending!

    Though the beginning of the book held some promise - religious but normal young woman who is really tuned to God - and then she goes off to Vatican City, the ending was simply preposterous, very much of a let down. Sorry to say but that is my opinion which is what you asked for.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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