Sara Marsala always thought she was a strong woman but when her restaurant fails along with her marriage she finds herself adrift. With the passing of her Aunt Rosie, her life takes a sudden turn when Rosie leaves her a plane ticket to Sicily and a deed to a plot of land that Sara's Great-great grandmother may or may not have owned on the island. Told in alternating chapters between Sara's current situation and that of her great-great grandmother, Serafina, readers are treated to two stories in one. Surprisingly, their stories have parallel dangerous situations as Sara tries to prove that that the deed is valid and others in the village try to keep the land for themselves. Digging into Serafina's history in the village, Sara finds that Serafina did not die of old age but was murdered. This sets Sara on a path to find out who, when, where and why and places her own life in danger.
"Trust no one" is the advice Sara receives in her hunt for the truth which is stranger than readers think it will be. Beautiful descriptions of the local people, places and food and with an historical twist, "The Sicilian Inheritance" will transport readers to a place and time when strong women were the norm. Highly recommended.
This book was amazing! Genre-wise, it's a bit historical fiction, a bit mystery and a bit thriller. Told in dual timelines following Sara, in the modern day, and Serafina nearly 100 years ago and both women were stronger than they realized at the time. The descriptions of Sicily and the food were amazing and I felt like I was there. I love how family lore inspired this book and the author's love of her family showed in this book. Thank you to Net Galley and Penguin Group Dutton for a chance to read an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.
This book was a delight. Sharp, well-plotted, well-written historical fiction that reads like a thriller. Piazza's writing is well-paced with a good balance of dialogue, exposition, and action; the multiple perspectives are distinct and show a fully developed voice for each narrator. Fans of Fiona Davis, Beatriz Williams, and Madeline Martin will love this addition to their genre.
What a trip! Jo Piazza beautifully wove together the lives of two incredible generations of women in The Sicilian Inheritance. This novel was so well researched, and Jo's own connection to this story is the icing on the cake.
Thank you to the publisher and to NetGalley for the ARC!
Jo Piazza was clearly ahead of all of us with the mob wife trend when she wrote this brilliant gem, which weaves The Godfather with The Bear (but a feminist twist). This novel is also so personal to Piazza, which really shines in this book. I loved loved loved it, couldn't get enough of it.
Very enjoyable read. If you like historical fiction, dual timelines and books set in Sicily with strong female protagonists you’ll love this. I appreciated the different tone and voices of the dual timelines - one in first person; the other third. Sara and Serafina are strong characters who we get to watch grow as the book progresses. I love the setting of this book and the descriptions of Sicily from a female and family perspective were such a treat for this reader of all the Andrea Camilleri books set on the same island.
The author’s note was a joy to read and the fact that this novel is loosely based on her family history made the experience of reading it more enjoyable. I’ve read several of this author’s other books and find this one to be the strongest in terms of writing style and topic.
Thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley. I’ll be purchasing hard copies for my Italian American friends!
Story told through a dual timeline; a healer growing up in Sicily in the early 2900's and her great great granddaughter who returns to Italy to discover her history. Lots of dark characters and history of Sicily, which I found interesting.
Jo Piazza's latest follows Sara, a Philly-based chef, as she sets off on a journey to Sicily to uncover her family's origins, told to her through her best friend and great aunt Rosie who has recently passed. Rosie's mother Serafina died under strange circumstances, and much mystery surrounds her story. Through this entry point, Piazza walks us through the history of rural Sicily, featuring healers, miners, and of course, the Cosa Nostra, This is a piece of historical fiction that gives a lens into how women were able move through a time that forced them into teenage motherhood and domestic servitude, examining how we create resources and communities of our own. The overall story is strong, but certain characters seemed a little too eccentric for my reality. I've never been to Sicily, so it's hard for me to say what could be true. But in either case, this was a strong read, and I would recommend to people who like mysteries, travel stories, and historical fiction. Thank you NetGalley for the advanced reader copy.
This book kept me up literally all night reading it!!! I was completely absorbed in this page turning mystery! This is definitely in my top 5 best reads of the year! only one other book has hooked me and kept me up all night reading like this one. I loved hearing about Serafina and Sarah and their stories! I will be buying this as a hard copy to keep! 6 out of 5 stars if I could. A must read!!
I just reviewed The Sicilian Inheritance by Jo Piazza. #TheSicilianInheritance #NetGalley
The problems caused and the political upheaval after the unification off Sicily and Italy was informative and interesting. However, what I liked best about this novel was the story of "family stories" and how they are passed down over time.
Oddly, such a great beach read. This book was really enjoyable.
It focuses on Sara who takes a trip to her family's ancestral town in Sicily after her beloved Aunt Rosie passes. When her aunt dies, she leaves money for Sara to go to Sicily and uncovered the truth behind the mystery of he death of Serafina , Rosie's mother.
The timeline flashes between Serafina and Sara, both of which are incredibly intriguing. I couldn't stop reading because I'd end one timeline, but need to continue to the other timeline!
A really intense with harsh truths, but so worth it.
While I'm sure this is a story many will love, the main character just didn't resonate with me. The side characters also seemed to fall short, and it took a while to get to the actual Italian setting, which was what I'd been anticipating. Thank you to the publisher for the opportunity to read an early copy of this book; all opinions are my own.
Sara Marsala's life is a mess - her restaurant failed, she's going through a divorce, her husband is trying to get full custody of their 4 year-old daughter and now her great-aunt Rosie has died. Rosie has, however, left Sara the deed to a possibly valuable property in Sicily that the family knew nothing about as well as a plane ticket. Rosie made all of the arrangements for Sara to travel to her family's village in Sicily to make inquiries about selling the property and also to try and find out what actually happened to Rosie's mother, Serafina Forte Marsala. The family has always believed that Serafina died from an illness before she was to join the family in America in 1925 but there's a possibility that she was murdered.
The story is told in a dual timeline - Sara in the present day and Serafina in the past (1908-1925) beginning when she's 15 until her death at 32. Serafina was an ambitious and headstrong young woman who hoped to leave the village for further education but she discovers she's pregnant at 15 and has no choice but to marry Gio. Gio emigrates to America to work and Sara stays behind to care for their children and eventually begins working as a healer in the village. In the present day timeline, Sara arrives in Sicily and soon realizes that there are people who want her to go home without selling the property and her life might be in danger if she stays.
The Sicilian Inheritance is a gripping historical mystery inspired by the author's own family history. This story is told over a dual timeline and both timelines are suspenseful and twisty as both women are in danger in this small Sicilian village. Serafina's story also includes interesting historical information about life in Sicily early in the 20th century with a tumultuous political situation resulting from the unification that made Sicily part of Italy, the control that the Cosa Nostra (mafia) had in the villages at the time, and the economic reality that sent a large percentage of working age men abroad leaving behind women who took on work outside the home to keep the keep villages functioning. An enjoyable hard to put down read!
Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Group Dutton for sending a digital ARC of this book for review consideration. All opinions are my own.
When I tell you the end of this book left me WEEPING!!! Gosh. The Sicilian Inheritance is very dark and intense at points, and also serves as a potent anti-tourism ad for Sicily in general. Like just...yikes. It's a page turner with two very engaging narrators and a great use of a past/present alternating narrative.
The genre I'm going to call "tourism thrillers" can be a really mixed bag in terms of how the European tourist fantasy and genuine peril combine and this one really does it right with vivid scene setting and an impressive cultural depth that really gives you a feel for the place. You'll be shaking your fist at the injustices while rooting for these women to triumph. This one was unforgettable, I really recommend it.
My thanks to PENGUIN GROUP Dutton and NetGalley for the ARC.
The Sicilian Inheritance is a novel that uses two locations and two timelines to tell the story of women's lives in Sicily. As was common in Italy in 1920, Sicily is a world where women have no agency and who spend their lives dominated by the rules of men. One hundred years later, women in Sicily still lack agency, which leads to some drastic behavior by women in this Jo Piazza novel. The Sicilian Inheritance is defined by deception, grief, and loss. Piazza's research is very good and she admits in the Author's Note that she creates this novel based on the lives of women in her own family. Learning the history of women in in Sicily is a strength pf this novel.
The Sicilian Inheritance is a novel about two women, but within each woman's story are the stories of many other women. Piazza does an especially nice job is describing the roles of Sicilian women in the early 20th century. The biggest strength of The Sicilian Inheritance is the story of Serafina in 1915-25. The story of Sara 100 years later is unbelievable, and to a degree, unnecessarily unbelievable. Sara can be a strong woman without having to overcome one unbelievable disaster after another. Yes, the role of women in Sicily in the 21st century is a hard one. Men still control women's lives. However, unless Sara is supposed to be cursed for some reason, one disaster and after another is unnecessary. In short, Sara's story is calamitous when it need not be. She can be strong without all the lies and dangers she must face. The ending almost works until it doesn't. As a rule I do not like being tricked by a writer. I will not reveal spoilers, but the worst deception in a novel filled with deceptions is the one Piazza commits to her readers. Even worse, it is not necessary and would be a better novel without that ending.
I thanks Penguin Group and NetGalley for proving me with this ARC. As should be obvious to anyone reading my review, I liked Serbian's story, which is well told. Sara's story needs a lot of work. I hope she receives it.
In The Sicilian Inheritance by Jo Piazza, a captivating literary journey unfolds, transcending time and borders. Rooted in the author's family history, the novel artfully intertwines the stories of Sara Marsala and her great-grandmother Serafina. Sara, grappling with the aftermath of failed ventures and a crumbling marriage, embarks on a poignant pilgrimage to Sicily following the passing of her great-aunt Rosie. The narrative seamlessly shifts between Sara's contemporary quest and Serafina's compelling past, a young woman thrust into motherhood in the early 1900s, fighting for empowerment in her village. Jo Piazza's storytelling prowess brings authenticity to each character, and the dual timeline, rich descriptions of Sicily, and a tantalizing mystery create an immersive reading experience. The novel's familial warmth, unexpected twists, and the author's personal connection revealed in the Author's Note make The Sicilian Inheritance a literary gem, celebrating resilience, family, and the enduring spirit of women.
Hooked from the first page - and I’m always here for a switching narrators storyline & anything set in Europe. The way it was inspired by a true person is even better. Can’t wait to see more from this publisher & author! Thank you immensely for the advance copy.
As someone who had never heard of Jo Piazza before, I was so surprised and bewitched by this story. The plot flew off the page and immersed me so deeply. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting from this book, but I got so much and more! I felt incredibly grateful to have received an early copy of this book.
This story has two narrators Sara and Seraphina. Sara who lives in modern times, is basically a hot mess. Her restaurant just closed, her marriage is over, she is deep in debt and drinking too much. Her beloved great aunt has just died and left Sara a deed and a mission. Sara is to go to their family's town of origin in Sicily and fine out if the deed it valid and what happened to Sara's great grandmother, Seraphina.
Seraphina is the second narrator. She tells us of her life as a midwife in a small Sicilian village in the early Twentieth Century. We learn a lot about what is means to be a woman in those times and how things may not be all that different now.
There is intrigue and gossip in both timelines. Things get twisty and dark. Women may need to step up. But who can be trusted?
Lucky to receive an early edition of this book - I was smitten from the first page. It’s a rarity for me that I fall in love with both main characters, itching to see what’s next as each chapter ended. This was a beautiful blend of history and present struggles of being a woman in a man’s world but also a wonderfully empowering story of women being good to other women and taking care of each other. Lots of twists and turns, and a heck of a lot of fun daydreaming about a trip to Sicily! What a fun and quick, but also super satisfying read!