- File Size: 3478 KB
- Print Length: 244 pages
- Publisher: TopNotch Press; 1 edition (October 23, 2017)
- Publication Date: October 23, 2017
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B076QFSJD3
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
#1,502,982 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
- #823 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Historical Fiction > Italian
- #4404 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Religious & Inspirational Fiction > Christian > Mystery & Suspense
- #7422 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Historical Fiction > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense
|Print List Price:||$14.99|
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Return to Bella Terra: Book 3 of The Italian Chronicles Trilogy (The Italian Chronicles) Kindle Edition
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A hauntingly beautiful series that should be read in order to get the full effect of Maria's trauma as a teenager and subsequent life. Heartrending and tinged with sadness but with a promising conclusion of hope in Christ, I wholly recommend this highly emotive series!
One bright spot is her relationship with Luca Tonetta. First, he gave her a job when no one else would. They got married and added two daughters to their family. Then they moved to America to find those 'streets paved with gold'. Together they raised their children in an over-crowded, infested tenement in NYC. They suffered the same discrimination that most to all Italian immigrants were subject to at that time.
Finally, in Return to Bella Terra, Maria is called home as her mother is dying. They can barely scrape together enough for her ticket, let alone one for Luca. Nico saves the day by offering to use his savings to go with his Mama. They make it back to Sicily and Mama's bedside with two short days to spare.
This opening really struck an emotional cord with me, as a few years back, I travelled from Kentucky to Utah to see my dying mother. My last words to her were, "I love you, Mom. God loves you." Two weeks after I had to return home, she passed. Reading Maria's story brought those memories back again (in a good way).
Dr. Diorio's words elegantly express the soul-withering lives of the poor in general (and non-WASP immigrants in particular) in the America of that era. (I'll use that old saying, "The more things change, the more they stay the same" here, and stop at that.) It almost hurt to read at certain points, but I couldn't put the book down.
Luckily there was a return to Sicily to also write about. The land was slowy but surely renewing itself, bringing with it a kindred repair to Sicily's economy. Even more than that, it provided Maria with some much needed soul food - returning to her childhood home and digging her toes in the earth, as it were.
I would LOVE to prattle on about the rest of the story, but that would do a disservice to the author, and to you, the readers, who have yet to experience this amazing saga for yourselves. After reading The Italian Chronicles (1-The Madonna of Pisano; 2-A Sicilian Farewell; and 3-Return to Bella Terra), I feel positively renewed!
I am wondering how to dive into this review, so what I will do first is offer a brief summary of most of the main characters.
Maria: Maria is the main character. She lives in Brooklyn. She immigrated to there from Italy. Hearing that her mother in Italy is sick and that the family land, Bella Terra, may be sold, she returns to Italy.
Nico: Nico is Maria’s adult son. He was conceived as a result of Maria being raped by a priest, Don Franco. The result was scandal in Italy for Maria and Nico, who was deemed to be illegitimate.
Don Franco: Don Franco is a priest, but he worked for Maria’s family at Bella Terra. Don Franco teaches school. After the rape, he sincerely repented and was transformed by Christ. He desires a relationship with his son, Nico.
Luca: Luca is Maria’s husband and Nico’s step-father. Luca feels a call from God to be in Brooklyn, where he believes that he has a mission to preach the Gospel.
Valeria and Anna: They are the daughters of Maria and Luca. They are happy and fun-loving kids.
Sofia: Sofia is Nico’s newfound love-interest in Italy.
Teresa: Teresa is Sofia’s mother. Teresa and Maria have a difficult past because they competed for Luca. Teresa reminds Maria about Maria’s scandal.
Eva: Eva appears to be an old woman, but she is much more than that!
There are other characters, too, but these were the ones who especially stood out to me.
The book had its share of positives. Its prose is beautiful. MaryAnn Diorio teaches people how to write, and this book convinces me that she is qualified to do so. The book has a few theological-philosophical tangents, as Don Franco discusses with his students the question of whether people can transcend themselves and their own perspectives. The book gets into the characters’ reflections.
I liked the first half of the book more than the second half. The first half was setting up the story and highlighting the characters’ struggles. The scene in which Nico goes to Italy and sees the dog he left behind as a child was heartwarming. The second half of the book tended to dwell on the same issues in the same way over and over. The struggle was prolonged, but the solution, when it did occur, happened really quickly and, perhaps, superficially. There was some confusion on my part: Maria wanted to return to Bella Terra to save it and to live there, but her husband does not want to do so. Meanwhile, Maria does not want Nico to move to Italy and marry Sofia because she fears that she will never see him again. These problems somewhat overlapped, and they tended to undermine each other: if Maria moves to Italy, and Nico moves to Italy, then they can be with each other. Of course, Maria was unsure if she would be able to move to Italy, but my point is that these two struggles occurring together was rather awkward.
The book ended beautifully, however, with a reflection on the Kingdom of God and the absence of rifts that will exist there.
I am open to reading the other books of the series.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through Bookcrash. My review is honest.
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This book continues the story of the immigrant family from Sicily.Read more