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 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
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.
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.
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.
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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