Wednesday, March 14, 2018

A Sicilian Farewell by MaryAnn Diorio (Review & Giveaway!)

Last week I reviewed The Madonna of Pisano, the first book in The Italian Chronicles series, which I enjoyed immensely. A Sicilian Farewell is the second book and it continues Maria's story. There is also a giveaway to win the series!

Book Details:

Book Title: A Sicilian Farewell by MaryAnn Diorio
Series: The Italian Chronicles, Book 2
Category: Adult Fiction, 258 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction/Religious
Publisher: TopNotch Press
Release date: December 14, 2016
Content Rating: G

Book Description:

A young man, a new land, and a dream that threatens to destroy him and his family . . .

The dream of a better life for himself and his family drives Luca Tonetta to the American Promised Land with his wife of five years, Maria Landro Tonetto, and their three children. But the new Promised Land is nothing like what Luca had imagined. Forced to live in a roach-infested tenement house in the seedy section of Brooklyn, he faces the hardships, prejudice, and slanderous assaults of an Italian immigrant torn between two worlds. When Luca is accused of a crime he did not commit, he learns that a dream must first die before it can live.

My Review:
Reviewed by Laura Fabiani

Last week I reviewed The Madonna of Pisano, the first book in The Italian Chronicles series, which I enjoyed immensely. A Sicilian Farewell is the second book and it continues Maria's story. Although Diorio's writing was just as gripping once the story took off about one-third into the book, and I was emotionally invested in this book too, there were a few things that bothered me, which I'll get into further on.

Maria and Luca now have a growing family of three children. Five years have passed since the events that took place in the first book. Italy's economy is going from bad to worse and Luca's tailor business is failing as the inhabitants of Sicily leave for America in search of a better life. Finally, they decide to leave too, and Luca is especially happy for he believes this is God's calling for him to preach the Gospel in America.

This is very much a Christian immigrant story. The hardships they face in a new land so vastly different from their homeland makes their life overwhelming and difficult as they try to adjust to their new life and circumstances. This was especially true of Maria. I empathized with her so much! Diorio captured this element of the story very well. My parents are both Italian immigrants and I've heard countless stories of how difficult and different life was when they first arrived in Canada. My mother left all her family in Rome and then ended up doing long hours in factory work. I also remember translating for my parents when they went to my school or my grandmother to the doctor. I enjoy immigrant stories and I really enjoyed this theme in A Sicilian Farewell.

This is also much more Luca's story than Maria's as he struggles with his decision to uproot his family and subject them to a hard life as immigrants so that he can fulfil his ministry. Luca is a godly man and his whole life revolves around doing God's will. His faith is strong and he believes he is doing the right thing.

I could understand that Luca was a pious man, but sometimes his moralizing dialogue and behaviour irked me. He was a young man who spoke like a 60-year-old to his wife. There was no passion between them except for the ministry. He never misspoke, or got angry or frustrated. I had a hard time believing he was Italian! Even the apostle Paul and Barnabas got angry with each other and had a falling out. (Acts 15: 36-39) Sometimes I just wished he would have showed Maria his true feelings as a husband rather than just preached or prayed. He worked a gruelling job with 16-hour days, lived in a one-room rat-infested tenement building, was accused of a crime, spent considerable time in jail and yet this did not seem to affect him much. It was almost too good to be true.

Another thing I don't believe to be realistic is insta-faith. Two of the evil characters in the story accept Jesus and voilà, they are instantly changed. I have been in the ministry for almost 30 years and have preached Bible truths to people of all walks of life. It takes time and diligent Bible study to become a disciple of Christ and to transform one's personality. I would have liked to have Maria and Luca's inner struggles explored more about living through the situation of being found guilty of a crime, rather than the rushed ending of everyone praising the Lord even though some spent years doing horrible things, with no consequences, I might add.

Apart from these issues, Diorio's talent to create stories with heart that explore themes of family, forgiveness and faith comes through once again in this novel. I am looking forward to the third book which promises more drama as Maria returns to Italy to visit her family.

Disclosure: Thanks to HFVBT for sending me this book for review. I was not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.

To read more reviews, please visit MaryAnn Diorio's page on HFVBT.

Buy the Book:

About the Author:

Dr. MaryAnn Diorio is a widely published, award-winning author of compelling fiction that deals with the deepest issues of the human heart. Her books for both adults and children consistently receive excellent reviews for their content and their style. MaryAnn holds the PhD in French with a concentration in Comparative Literature from the University of Kansas. She resides in New Jersey with her husband Dominic, a retired physician. They are the blessed parents of two awesome daughters, a wonderful son-in-law, and five rambunctious grandchildren. When not writing, MaryAnn loves to read, to paint, and to make up silly songs for her grandchildren.

For more information, please visit MaryAnn Diorio’s website and blog. You can also find him on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Enter the Giveaway!

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on April 4th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US residents only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

Italian Chronicles

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  1. Thank you again, Laura, for featuring me on your blog. Many blessings to you!

    MaryAnn Diorio

  2. Thank you for hosting MaryAnn's blog tour & for your review! Much appreciated!

    HF Virtual Book Tours


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