I was immediately drawn in to read this series because I love books written by authors with an Italian background about stories in small Italian towns in the 1800s. Check out my review and enter to win a copy of this series!
Book Title: The Madonna of Pisano by MaryAnn Diorio
Series: The Italian Chronicles, Book One
Category: Adult Fiction, 310 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction/Religious
Publisher: TopNotch Press
Release date: December 15, 2015
Content Rating: G (there is a rape scene but not described)
A young woman, a priest, and a secret that keeps them bitterly bound to each other…
A horrifying encounter drags soon-to-be-married Maria Landro into the shocking world of religious corruption and an unrelenting village code of honor that threatens to rob her of everything she holds dear. Shunned by the very people who should have embraced her, she withdraws into the confines of Bella Terra, her family’s farm, and remains there for several years…until she is forced to leave to ensure the formal education of her son. In a desperate attempt to protect her child from vicious tongues and malicious hate-mongers and her family farm from bankruptcy, she determines to seek vengeance against the one who ruined her life. But when Luca Tonetta enters her life, she learns a powerful lesson about forgiveness and grace.
When I read the prologue, it seemed that things happened quite quickly and I was left with wondering about Maria's feelings about what happened to her, as well as how her family would react. The story then fast-forwards to seven years later and soon after it took off for me as I became immersed in Maria's life as a shunned woman trying to save her family home from bankruptcy and her 6-year-old son from the cruelty of the villagers' taunts of his being an illegitimate child.
I was so caught up in this story, so emotionally invested that I almost read this book in one sitting. Growing up, I paid rapt attention to the many stories from my grandmothers, my mother and my mother-in-law of scandals and tragic incidents that occurred in their Italian villages, and of the hypocrisy of the Church. So I'm not surprised that the idea for this story came from a true incident in the life of the author's great-great-grandmother.
This is a story of betrayal, love, vengeance and ultimately forgiveness. Maria is a strong female character and her son Nico was so endearing. He was one of my favorite characters. Luca came across as a bit too pious, but he was a good character nonetheless. Town life in the village of Pisano in Sicily came to life under the author's penmanship, especially how the sea, wind and sandstorms affected the lives of the villagers.
Most of all, this book stirred emotions in me, making this a page-turner. I simply couldn't put the book down. The message of preserving self-dignity, faith in the power of forgiveness, and good conquering evil came through beautifully in this first book in the Italian Chronicles. I am now eager to read the second and third book which I will also be reviewing.
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.
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.
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