Back of the book :
In Mina’s family only one topic has ever been off limits : Her Aunt Carmella ….
For Mina, the silence surrounding the black sheep of the family is a personal obsession. She has resisted prying, but now, with her mothers health failing, its time to learn the truth.
1952 Simus, Sardina.
Carmela Chirigoni, a farmers daughter, is engaged to Franco, son of Simps’ wealthiest family. But Carmela is drawn to the charismatic – and married – Captain Joe Kavanagh, an American officer stationed at a local army base. Hired as his interpreter, Carmela resolves to ignore her feelings, knowing that any future together will only bring heartache to both families.
As Mina follows Carmela’s story, she discovers a past still deeply alive, revealing a story of hope, sacrifice and extraordinary love …
What I think :
The prologue begins with the funeral of Mina’s Aunt Zia, her mothers sister. Her mother herself is quite ill, with cancer. There was also another sister who no-one talks about, Carmela. Nobody will say why she’s not talked about, just that she did ‘something bad’.
Mina decides to write her story and this is how the book is shaped. It starts in 1952 with Carmela who is a young girl and is engaged to the local land owners son, Franco. She is happy(ish) until one day she meets Joe Kavanagh, an American Captain who has been stationed nearby. When Joe needs a interpreter so he can speak to the local land owners about renting their land for the military, Carmela fits the bill as she can speak English pretty well. As they start to spend time together, the inevitable happens and they begin to have feelings for each other. Joe has responsibilities back home and of course Carmela is engaged to Franco. They both know it would be impossible for anything to happen, or would it … ?
The book is mainly about Carmela’s story, its tells of her life in the early 1950’s onwards. I really enjoyed the wonderful descriptions of the Italian scenery and the sights and sounds around her. Not forgetting the food ! So much food !!
Its not just about Carmela falling in love with someone who is forbidden but also of her becoming ‘herself’ at long last. And also realising that there is life outside of the village of Simius. It really is her journey of discovery. The characters were wonderfully written and I really engrossed in it and lost a few hours quite a few times !
I thought the cover was quite beautiful, and it really made me want to visit Sardinia for myself one day.
I really enjoyed this wonderfully sunny coming of age book and give it 8/10 ( Four Stars )
Published by HQ on 20/04/17.
A really big thank you to Rebekah Humphries at Midas for the review copy of the book in exchange for a honest review.