Monday, June 20, 2011

The Italian Quarter by Domenica De Rosa

The Italian Quarter by Domenica de Rosa (Rated: P)
Headline Book Publishing
ISBN: 978-0755321391
Published Sept 23, 2004
Hardcover, 256 pages

After reading The Eternal City, I was anxious to read another book by this author and even more excited when I found and read the synopsis of this book. It is the story of Sophie who delves into her Italian grandfather's past when he was a POW in Britain and considered a dangerous criminal with connections to Fascism and Mussolini. I simply couldn't wait to read this book. But I was left disappointed.

The novel is divided into three parts. The first part introduces Sophie and her family with their Italian roots stemming from her charismatic and respected grandfather Cesare. We learn of Sophie's affair with an older Italian man in Rome years ago. Her life now seems at a standstill until Antonio, her third cousin, brings up the possibility that Cesare may have been a Fascist. The second part is Cesare's story as he narrates it from his humble beginning in the Italian quarter of London's Clerkenwell to his present day. And the third part is the conclusion to what could have been but was not a good plot.

First off, I did not like the main character. I kept reading in the hopes that this would change but I disliked her more by the end. She ends up having an affair with her third cousin (recently divorced and  brooding) Antonio, with whom she exchanges a few words throughout the novel. They kept tearing off each other's clothes. I really wondered what their relationship was based on apart from lust. Oh, and in between all this she sleeps twice with a journalist she doesn't care about. Actually, after the first time they had sex, she was left repulsed. And she sleeps with him again!! She ends up pregnant at the of the book with no clue as to who the father is. And then the story ends. Just like that. I wanted to throw the book across the room. 

The only part of the book I liked was Cesare's story, but even this fell flat as it lacked the suspense I expected from the synopsis. It was interesting, however, to learn about how Italian immigrants were viewed in Britain at the turn of the century and how Mussolini and the events of WWII changed things. This author's last book left me with so much longing for Italy and although this feeling did assault me a few times as I read this book, overall, it was not what I expected.

Note: There are a few f-words in this novel, and although not explicit, there are several sex scenes and sexual references.

I will count this book for the following challenges: Italy in Books Challenge and Support Your Local Library Challenge

Disclosure: I borrowed this book from the library. I was not told how to rate or review this product.

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  1. I think I'd be frustrated with this book, too. I don't mind sex in a book, but this just seems like it's there for no reason other than to include sex. I'll link to your review on War Through the Generations.

  2. Whew, I don't think this one's for me!


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