Josephine spends the rest of her life searching for her lost child, keeping her secret even as her other children go off to war, get married, and make their own mistakes. Her son suffers in World War One. One daughter struggles to assimilate in the new world of the 1950s American suburbs, while another, stranded in England, grieves for a lover lost in World War Two. Her granddaughters experiment with the sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll in the 1970s. Poignant, sensual, and deeply felt, An Italian Wife is a sweeping and evocative portrait of a family bound by love and heartbreak.
- ISBN-13: 9780393241662
- ISBN-10: 0393241661
- Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
- Publish Date: September 2014
- Page Count: 288
- Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.6 x 1.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2014-06-16
- Reviewer: Staff
Hood (The Obituary Writer) crafts a stark tale of loss and longing with story of one woman’s life in Italy and America. Wed at 15 to an ambitious landowner 11 years her senior, Josephine Rimaldi emigrates to Rhode Island. Trapped in a loveless marriage, she takes comfort in what’s most familiar: too many children, iron-clad tradition, and a demanding church. The only passion Josephine finds is an affair that ends with an infant daughter given up for adoption, a loss that haunts both her and her lover. With heartbreaking regularity, each succeeding generation yearns for a better life but surrenders to disappointment: Josephine’s son Carmine, whose stint in WWII leaves him shell-shocked and adrift; widowed granddaughter Francie, who’s shunned by suburban wives and wooed by their husbands; the granddaughter that Josephine never knew, love-starved Penny, whose relationship with her mother, Martha, falls victim to an obsessive search for Josephine; and dreamer great-granddaughter Aida, who runs away from her family to a vague, unsettled future. On her 100th birthday, Josephine does not embrace the children and life she nurtured, but the “things we did not have, the love that broke our hearts, the child we lost…” (Sept.)