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Kate Caterina Paperback – Bargain Price, February 28, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A spry English woman marries an Italian doctor on the eve of World War II and tries to come to terms with a dual national identity in this plodding historical novel, the American debut of British writer Riviere. Caterina, as she is called in Italy (she thinks of herself as Kate Caterina), lives with her husband, Gabriele D'Alessandria, in a crumbling Renaissance palace in Arezzo. Surrounded by extended family and occupied in raising her young daughter, she has begun to make a place for herself. Then, three days after Germany attacks Poland, Gabriele, an inveterate Socialist, is taken into custody as a political prisoner. For Gabriele's sake, Caterina must maintain good relations with her sister-in-law and one-time best friend, Esmeralda, who has just married a high-ranking Fascist officer: this involves socializing with the Fascist elite. Meantime, she must also worry about her brother, Giles, who is fighting on the side of the Allies. Closest to her is Gabriele's father, Luigi, a sad but wise old man, weary of partisanship and more at ease with leisurely chronicles of the war's events. Riviere's plot encompasses plenty of fascinating historical material, particularly Italy's internal divisions during the war, but his long-winded exposition, minimal dialogue and flat prose sink the story. Much care is put into the development of Caterina and Luigi's characters, but neither quite transcends stereotype, undermined by Riviere's tendency to tell rather than show. For a novel set in a war-torn country, Riviere's tale is strangely lacking in drama. Agent, Emma Parry, Carlisle & Co.

Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Riviere has written five novels, but this is the one that was chosen as Book of the Year by both the Sunday Telegraph and the Daily Mail in London. The author's U.S. debut, it tells the story of a beautiful young Englishwoman, married to a left-wing Italian doctor, who finds herself increasingly alienated in Fascist Italy.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • ISBN-10: 0802139736
  • ASIN: B000HWZ0TM
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,753,264 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By "pattytriciapat" on July 16, 2003
Format: Paperback
When I first saw �Kate Caterina� at my local bookstore I wanted to read it immediately. I was intrigued by the title and drawn by the cover art. I went home to check the ratings here in Amazon, and was shocked to find that there were no customer comments for this book. That increased my resolve to start reading as I�ve frequently been disappointed by what passes as best selling. I very much enjoyed this book.
Here are some thoughts that perhaps some other readers can embellish.
As the book commences, we feel anxiety building�in a smaller sense for the impending wedding of Esmeralda D�Alessandria but in a larger sense for the looming possibility of WWII. Several allusions of fear and anger creeping up as �waves� and �cats paws��
I love the descriptions of Kate�her harvest-coloured hair and dark eyes, her strong build but tentative nature, her doubleness and dividedness as she calls it�and of Esmeralda�she is fireworks, volatile, beautiful. Through the story we see Kate develop strength and we see Esmeralda move from boredom to purposeful action.
Kate and her mother in law share some similar experiences�both more or less shed off their old self and are born anew. They change their names as they assimilate to their new culture. Kate taking on the name Kate Caterina and finally accepting herself as Caterina (�Kate Fenn died long ago�) and Sonya dropping her original first name of Hildegard and using the possibly Italian Sonya�(�She was German�). Sonya and Kate were both from enemy countries, which further endangers them and their children.
The book addresses what people (and dogs on one occasion) will do to protect their loved ones (both their family and country). Luigi is haunted by the Fascist oath taken to secure his job as a university professor.
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