Published May 14, 2015
Trade paperback, 284 pages
Reviewed by Laura Fabiani
Oh, how I loved this book! A small Sicilian village in the early 1900s oppressed by the Vasaio family, and a young man and his father who strive to bring freedom to the villagers through their goodness and their love of opera sums up this beautiful story.
From the very first page, I was transported to Italy, to that small village named Bellafortuna, to a set of colorful characters that reminded me so much of my own uncles and "paesans". LoCoco made me fall in love with Bellafortuna, a small village like many others in Italy but still unique because of its location (up on a hill) and the villagers' love for music and opera.
I grew up hearing stories of my father's village among the mountains of Abbruzzo and I can still remember my first trip there as a tween. Which is why this story resonated so much with me. It made me smile and it made me cry. It made me remember my love for opera. I used to listen to Pavarotti all the time before, and although I had heard of the great Enrico Caruso, I didn't know much about him. It made me research his life story. So as I read this book, I dusted off my opera CDs and played the songs that the villagers in the story were listening to or that were sung in the book, and again I was moved to tears.
LoCoco built wonderful characters in Giuseppe and his father Antonio. We get to know Giuseppe and his sense of justice right from when he is a boy. I also liked Biaggio and the feisty Turiddu. As a matter of fact, I loved getting to know the villagers so much that I felt I knew them. When a plan is hatched by the villagers to free themselves from the crushing debt they owe to the ruthless Vasaio family, the story which is very much character-driven, explores the emotions and feelings of oppression, hope, forgiveness and love.
If you like Italian stories full of drama and culture, this book is the perfect novel to escape with. It's a feel-good story with good values, family honor and duty. I am LoCoco's latest fan and look forward to reading more of his work, including his first novel, Tempesta's Dream - A Story of Love, Friendship and Opera.
Note: This book is rated G.
To read more reviews, please visit Vincent B. "Chip" LoCoco's page on Italy Book Tours.
To read my interview with Vincent B. "Chip" LoCoco, please visit Essentially Italian.
Award winning and bestselling author, Vincent B. "Chip" LoCoco, lives in New Orleans. His first novel, Tempesta's Dream - A Story of Love, Friendship and Opera, became an Amazon bestselling novel and was awarded the 2014 Pinnacle Achievement Award in Historical Fiction. Amazon also has named his book as a Top Rated Novel in Italian Historical Fiction.
His most recent novel, A Song for Bellafortuna, was shortlisted in the William Faulkner - William Wisdom Competition. He is an estate planning attorney in New Orleans, where he lives with his wife and two children.
Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook