Sunday, May 27, 2012
A Heart Most Worthy
Bethany House Publishers
Genre: fiction, romance, historical
It's 1918 in Boston. World War I is still raging and 3 Italian seamstresses from the North End are daring to dream a different dream. The elegance of Madame Forza's gown shop is a far cry from the North End of Boston. Each day Julietta, Annamaria, and Luciana make their way to the shop and create beautiful gowns that will never see their part of town.
Impulsive and lively Julietta longs for something more than what life offers in her family's boring flat. When the mysterious Angelo catches her eye she is instantly drawn to him. He lives on the edge and his passion about a revolution is much more dangerous than Julietta could ever imagine. While Angelo draws Julietta further and further into his confusing web Mauro the family friend and doctor stands waiting for Julietta to notice him. When the danger becomes more than anyone could imagine Julietta must choose between the two men.
Quiet and shy Annamaria is the eldest daughter of her Italian family and thereby is destined to never marry and to take care of her parents until their deaths. Dutiful and accepting Annmaria resigns herself to her fate until the day her mama sends her across the street to the forbidden Sicilian produce stand for some tomatoes. When she meets Rafaello her entire world is turned upside down. A forbidden love in more ways than one Annamaria knows she must ignore what her heart longs for most.
Secretive and cautious Luciana is such because she is the daughter of the Count of Roma who was recently killed in an assassination. Even in Boston the assassins are hunting for her. Forced to find work beading gowns to provide for herself and her grandmother Luciana is constantly looking over her shoulder. The North End is a culture shock but no more so than the Irish son of one of the gown maker's clients. He's drawn to Luciana and creates ways for them to meet. In her desire to see no more people she loves killed she must run again.
I will be the first to admit that I typically approach a Mitchell novel with caution. I'm usually drawn to her books due to the story lines and creativity and I'm always dissapointed. Not so with a Heart Most Worthy. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The characters flowed well and were very well developed. I was absolutely transported to Boston and I loved it. The amount of detail in regards to the Italian emigrants of that time completely fascinated me. While not the crux of the book I also appreciated Mitchell's handling of the Spanish Influenza which was completely devastating during that time and not often remembered. Seeing the transition Luciana made from being a Countess of Roma to just a regular emigrant living in the dirty North End of Boston was truly engaging. This was a great read and I'm a little sad it's over...which you know means it's a good one!
rated: pg for adult content
Thank you to Bethany House Publishers for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest and real review.