Among the Zinnias

By Linda Fagioli-Katsiotas

 

Book Blurb

Come and travel between the Italian island of Incompresso and the small American town of Robin’s Nest. Experience passion, sorrow, laughter and love in a tale that will hold your heart and spark your desire to know what is happening . . . Among the Zinnias!

Eighty-five-year-old Giovanna Boeri awaits the return of her daughter, Angelina, from America. She cannot understand why Angelina has left their small island when it contains everything anyone would ever want. Giovanna is struggling to care for her ailing husband who is beset by memories of war and murder, one he, himself, has committed but understands too late that it’s his grandson, Rocco, who will pay the price.

As Giovanna comes to terms with her husband’s deteriorating condition, she realizes she can no longer count on him to make decisions, nor can she wait for her own fate to be decided by Angelina.

Angelina, with her husband, Pasquale, is struggling in Robin’s Nest to maintain a pizzeria. Their son, Rocco, has just been released from an Italian prison after having served ten years. Rather than have him return to their small island, they’ve bought the pizzeria in hopes of giving Rocco a new beginning in a new location. The pizzeria is supposed to be their catalyst to a happy life.

But life rarely follows one’s expectations . . .

My Review

The stage is set as Giovanna Boeri watches her daughter Angelina sail from her island home in Italy and return to New Jersey to be with her husband and children. Angelina is torn between remaining with her aging parents and returning to the home she has made in America. The story that follows will keep you turning the pages.

Many personalities were introduced making the characters and their relationships believable.  I could relate to Giovanna and the difficulty of watching her child leave for a distant place.  Her relationship with her husband reminded me of my own grandparents.  Angelina was in a challenging place emotionally, and  I felt a lot of empathy for her as her roles of parent, wife, and daughter sometimes were in conflict, but I loved the way she was able to balance them. From the beginning, Rocco seemed to be a seedy character, and I took an immediate dislike to him, though, by the end of the book, I thought he had redeemed himself.

I’d have liked to have seen the characters of Giovanna, Angelina, and Gina developed a bit more in the beginning. Switching from one to another was confusing until I read enough of the book to get a firm grasp on each.

The author created a storyline that in some form or another has been played out by all those who have immigrated to another country – the quest for acceptance, the heartache of leaving family, finding their niche in their new home, and genuine desire to make it all work.

Once again, Linda Fagioli-Katsiotas has given us an enjoyable, multifaceted story crossing two nationalities to savor.  I would definitely recommend this to any reader who enjoys stories of multi-generational families of another culture.

I was gifted this book in return for my honest review.

About the Author

Linda Fagioli-Katsiotas lives on Long Island with her husband, Nick.  She teaches English to newly immigrated English language learners at her local public school. She is also a speech pathologist working with adults who have brain injury. Although Among the Zinnias was inspired by these two roles, it remains a work of fiction. (Taken from Among the Zinnias)

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The Truth About You By Susan Lewis

uscover-Truth-About-YouLainey Hollingsworth was living a life she loved, she was a mother, married to someone she was deeply in love with and trusted beyond all doubt, had a terrific job managing her husband’s writing career, and lived where she always wanted to be – in her childhood home.  Her life was not without trials, however. Lainey had a stepson Max, who after all these years still blamed her for the breakup between his parents. Her adoring father, who was actually her stepfather and the only father she had ever known, was living with them and was severely afflicted with Alzheimer’s. Lainey’s teenage daughter Tierney was searching for her grownup self, and that was causing friction where there had never been friction before. Her husband Tom was absent more and more and doubts started creeping in. When she received a text message, “Ask your husband about Julie” Lainey’s life, as she knew it, suddenly started unraveling.

Add to all of this was a planned trip to Italy to try to learn more about her family.  Her mother left Italy with Lainey when Lainey was very young and never returned. She refused even at her death to tell Lainey about her biological father and why she took Lainey to England without ever looking back.

I thought Lainey Hollingsworth was a complicated protagonist. At the beginning of the book she was a strong woman who, as the story unfolded, soon became filled with uncertainties and insecurities. She was angry and came to her own conclusions about her husband’s absences without giving him a chance to explain.  Words spoken, and left unspoken, lead to misconceptions. In the end and after suffering so much hurt, was Lainey’s imagined “truth” reality?

This was storytelling at its finest. With memorable characters and intricate plot lines, the book kept calling me back. As I turned the last page, I was sad I’d come to the end of this amazing story. This was the first book by Susan Lewis that I have read, and it certainly won’t be the last. I look forward to delving into some of her other books. I recommend THE TRUTH ABOUT YOU to anyone who enjoys getting totally immersed in a story. It was fabulous.

You can find out more about Susan Lewis on her website at www.susanlewis.com

I received this book from Library Thing Early Reviewers in exchange for an honest review.