Daniela Sacerdoti comes to the blog to share a story of growth, change and family, separated by nearly a century and an ocean with
The Italian Villa
Two perspectives, two women whose lives have been full of challenge, and the one thread that brings them together as the story progresses. Starting with Callie, living in Texas and struggling with ‘finding her place’ in the world, particularly since the death of her parents and her placement in foster care as a pre-teen. Now just turned 21, she’s working all the hours she can, and saving money to go to university – direction still unknown. Out of the system for 3 years, and never ‘looking back’ or so she tells herself, receiving a call from her social worker who won’t take no for an answer is a shock – discovering a letter that explains she was adopted, and she was to meet with a lawyer only adds to her confusion and very understandable curiosity about her birth, parents, and why they never told her earlier.
The lawyer’s office provides her with a few answers – the first, a bequest of a villa in a small mountainside Italian town, the second – a letter from her birth mother and a diary from another ancestor – set in the years just before and through World War II. Elisa shares the story of ‘wanting more’ than to work in the rice fields and become just another woman of the Stella line – a healer and midwife – she wants to go to medical school. Rare in the 1930’s – even rarer for a young woman from their little town. But she tells her hopes and dreams to the diary – and Callie is instantly engaged and enchanted. Off to Italy she goes, intending to meet with the Italian lawyers in charge of the will, see the villa, perhaps hope to find family members – and then return to Texas and the little, safe, methodical life she has created for herself.
The story unfolds to bring Callie closer to her roots, with plenty of needed answers and a level of emotional connection to her personal history that, is necessarily, mostly because of proximity of the small town and it’s remote location, intertwined with people of the present day, and the histories that defined them, separated them, and once again helped to bring them together. With a lovely romance thread, plenty of answered questions and a chance at a new life that is defined with all that Callie hoped for as a child, including options and directions she never thought she would have. With history, present, imagery and emotion all wound together – with not a few moments of ‘high drama’ the story is wonderful to read and will fuel your desire for more historical fiction titles that mix actual events with fiction and leave you feeling more informed and enlightened
Title: The Italian Villa
Author: Daniela Sacerdoti
Genre: Coming of Age, Contemporary Elements, Dual Timeline, Family Saga, Historic Elements, Humor elements, Romantic Elements, Second Chance, Setting: Italy, Small Town, Woman's Fiction, World War II
Published by: Bookouture
Published on: 17 February, 2020
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ Google
Inspired by true events, and for fans of The Beekeeper’s Promise and The Tuscan Child, comes a passionate, heartbreaking and absolutely unputdownable story of two remarkable women, separated by history, finding the courage to look for light in the darkest places.
As she staggers through the woods towards the smoky remains of her village, she sees the wounded, all those familiar faces covered in blood and ashes, and remembers she isn’t just a woman; she is a doctor, and she is needed…
1938 – A young Italian couple cling to each other in the shadow of the Montevino mountains, Mussolini’s call to war ringing in their ears. They vow to stay together, no matter what, and hatch a plan to wed in secret before fleeing to the woods to join the resistance.
Present Day – Callie Di Giacomo, a waitress from Texas, is still reeling from the discovery that she is adopted when she arrives in Montevino in search of answers – the keys to the stunning hillside villa she just inherited clutched tightly in her hand. In her birth mother’s wardrobe grief-stricken Callie finds a diary belonging to a woman named Elisa Stella, one of Italy’s first ever female students of medicine, wrapped in pale blue ribbon.
Page by page, Callie unravels the story of a passionate young doctor who risked everything to marry her sweetheart, who was betrayed by her own people, and forced into hiding as Montevino was invaded. Elisa knew she must survive against all odds to see her loved ones again. But history had other plans…
As the diary ends, a startling revelation about who Elisa was offers a chance for Callie to heal past wounds and spark a new future. But is she brave enough to take it?
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.