Friday, May 1, 2015

Book Review: "The Inheritance" by Marianne Perry (HFVBT)

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To begin with today, I'm going to give you the book's summary and then I'll talk about why I think it's interesting....


The Inheritance tells the story of a family disintegrating from conflicting loyalties in Calabria, southern Italy. Set during the period 1897 to 1913, the region was subject to earthquakes and tsunamis; the land was harsh and poverty the norm. Superstition clashed with religion and a class system ruled the people. Calabria is the perfect backdrop for the tragedy that unfolds in The Inheritance.
Caterina is an atypical woman, and The Inheritance chronicles her life from birth to young womanhood. Born with an inheritance of loss into a society that has predetermined what she can and cannot do, she vows to live a life of her choosing. Caterina refuses to allow the limits of her gender, the constraints of her class and the demands imposed by those in power to stand in her way. Caterina remains steadfast in her commitment to become the woman she imagines. Her decisions ignite conflicts and fuel a chain of events that result in dire consequences for all whose path she crosses.

So, from that summary doesn't it sound like this woman named Caterina will be the main character of this book? I don't really think that she is. Is she super important in this book and is she one of the main characters? Yes. Do I think I would write the whole summary around her part of the book? Not really. Anna, the mom, or Lorenzo a son, really seem to be the more main characters to me. But anyway...

The book is about a well to do family in southern Italy in the early 1900s. (I had to remind myself of the year, because sometimes it seemed a little bit like the middle ages with trains. There was a whole kind of feudal system, Medici thing going on. Considering the first World War is knocking on the door at the end of the story). The father Santo is devoted to his sons (especially the 2 oldest Caesar and Benito) and is a ruthless business man who has worked his way up from the bottom to considerable wealth. The mother is Anna, who is loving and doting on the estates servants and on her youngest son Lorenzo. Lorenzo and Anna are especially close to a servant girl, a little younger than Lorenzo, who lost her mother at birth. There is also a food loving cook (like there's any other kind) named Bruno and a conflicted priest named Padre Valentine. (I thought his name was a pretty strong "wink wink nudge nudge" considering his role in the story).

When Lorenzo and Caterina are about 12 there is a huge disaster and he is swept away from the estate and they are separated for about 5 years. When they are reunited many many things have changed around them (almost all for the worse I'd say) but will their feelings for each other still be there? (dum dum duuuuuuuuum)

There's a couple of different side stories that go on within the main narrative; but what I think this book real strength is in the different relationships. Anna has a relationship with almost everyone in this book (though the least of one with some of her own family members). I give it a 3 out of 5 stars, and it really made me want bruschetta, so be prepared when you're reading!

About the Author
Family dynamics, genealogical research to solve ancestral mysteries and international travel are Marianne Perry’s priorities. A second-generation Canadian-Italian, she is the author of The Inheritance, a historical fiction/romance set in Calabria, southern Italy from 1897 to 1913 that was inspired by her grandmother’s early life. With a thirty-year career in education and communications, Marianne holds a Master of Education Degree from The University of Western Ontario (Canada). A past member of the Board of Trustees, the Canadian National Arts Centre Corporation, she has also published non-fiction genealogical articles throughout North America. As a girl, Marianne fell in love with The National Geographic Magazine and dreamt of exploring the world. With her January 2014 visit to Antarctica, she achieved her goal of stepping foot on every continent. The mother of two grown children, Marianne and her husband live on the shores of the St. Mary’s River, which drains Lake Superior on the outskirts of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada. She continues to research her family’s history and write non-fiction genealogical articles. In addition, she is working on her second novel and planning further adventures.
Marianne blogs about genealogy, travel, family and writing on her website. You can also find her on FacebookTwitterInstagramLinkedIn, and Goodreads.

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