Imagine Italy in the 50’s, with its picturesque villages filled with love, gossip, struggles, history and traditions...In this historical novel of old world Italy in the midst of transformation and immigration, THE GIRLS OF PIAZZA D’AMORE transports us to a place in which many of us can trace our traditions and roots to…a place that fills us with a reminiscence of what life must have been like for our parents, grandparents or great-grandparents.
Seen through the eyes of nine-year-old Caterina, the stories of families living in the village of Mulirena, in Southern Italy, come to life through vivid accounts and minute village details. Delving through the lives and loves of Caterina’s three friends forms the basis of THE GIRLS OF PIZZA D’AMORE. But, since everyone in the village is somehow connected to each other, be it by living proximity or relationship- this story involves almost everyone in the town; and, that’s what makes this book so intricately interesting!
We read about what it was like for families during post war, where politics led to divided factions even among families. The typical hardships, struggles and separations that families had to go through are prevalent parts of this fascinating book. Granted, THE GIRLS OF PIAZZA D’AMORE, is but a novel- however, the historical details and events of the times and what the people suffered and lived through are all very real. This novel will fill you with longing and nostalgia. Anyone with Italian roots or of immigrant descent will appreciate the depth and richness of this book.
As well, the author uses an interesting approach to the telling of this story. Interjected within the book, is the author’s account of how she began to write her novel- based on what was the actual story of Guzzo- McParland’s own parents’ immigration to Canada (and so in a sense, she is the young Caterina in the novel). Rummaging through a chest filled with memorabilia and a letter written by her father to her mother, Guzzo- McParland quilts a captivating tale that moved me from beginning to end.
Evocative, well written and filled with folkloric details, THE GIRLS OF PIZZA D’AMORE is a touching read that will forever stay with you. You will surely be transported to an Italy even more beautiful than you ever thought possible.
Author Connie Guzzo-McParland
Born in Italy, raised in Montreal, Connie Guzzo-McParland has enjoyed an eclectic mix of life experiences. She majored in Italian literature at Concordia University, then pursued a teaching and business career before graduating from the Creative Writing Master’s program at Concordia University where she received the 2006-2007 David McKeen Award for Creative Writing for her thesis, the novel Girotondo. An excerpt from this novel, translated into Italian, won second prize at the Premio Letterario Cosseria in Italy. Since 2010 she has been co-director and President of Guernica Editions.