From Ashes to Song
by Hilary Hauck
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 13 Apr 2021 | Archive Date 01 Apr 2021
Sunbury Press, Inc., Milford House Press
Pietro’s life on the family vineyard is idyllic. He has at last captured the melody of the grape harvest on his clarinet and can’t wait to share his composition with his grandfather, but before he can play, news arrives of a deadly disease sweeping the countryside. They have no choice but to burn the vineyard to stop its spread. The loss is too much for Pietro’s grandfather, and by morning Pietro has lost two of the most precious things in his life—his grandfather and the vineyard. All he has left is his music, but a disastrous performance at his grandfather’s funeral suggests that music, too, is now beyond his reach.
Adrift with grief, Pietro seeks a new start in America. He goes to work in a Pennsylvania coal mine where his musician’s hands blister and his days are spent in the muffled silence of underground.
When the beautiful voice and gentle heart of a friend’s wife stirs a new song in him, Pietro at last encounters a glimmer of hope. From a respectful distance and without catching the attention of her husband, Pietro draws on Assunta for inspiration and soon his gift for music returns. But when grief strikes in Assunta’s life, Pietro is to blame. When Prohibition steals Pietro’s last pleasure, he has to do something before Assunta’s grief consumes them both.
Inspired by true events, From Ashes to Song is a story of unconventional love, hope, and the extraordinary gifts brought to America by ordinary people in the great wave of immigration.
"From Ashes to Song is a gorgeous story inspired by true events. Gifted musician, Pietro, and beautiful Assunta wander the world, hearts closed and hard, each marred by pain, making choices out of uncertainty and grief. Their paths cross then join as the two grope for the next right thing to do. It’s nearly too late when they finally recognize the love right in front of them. Hauck’s exquisite prose calls on the beauty of music to illuminate the harsh, dark world of coal mines and company towns. The immigrant population fuels an industry but as individuals they wield little power over their daily obligations. Luckily, they carry with them dreams for better lives, affection for family, the seeds of good wine, and the strains of enchanting music—an invitation to share in the magic of love in all its forms." - Kathleen Shoop, award-winning author of historical and women's fiction
"From Ashes to Song enticed me with its pleasurably beautiful prose. Pietro tries to perfect a song for his grandfather Nonno as he gazes over the family vineyards in Piedmont, Italy. The musicality of the story kept me enthralled from the beginning. The love story of talented Pietro and honey voiced Assunta, inspired by true events, is a quintessential immigrant story. But it is also the tale of two lovers who cross paths only to be separated again and again against the backdrop of hard life of coal miners of Pennsylvania. Pietro’s melodies for Assunta kept me magnetized as much as their love amidst scarcity, and at the end, the musical threads coalesced into one poignant and powerful scene like the crescendo of an unforgettable symphony." - Madhu B. Wangu, award-winning author
"From the vineyards of Piedmont to the coal mines of southwestern Pennsylvania, From Ashes to Song by Hilary Hauck poignantly captures the challenges and triumphs of the Italian immigrant experience at the turn of the century. Based on real-life events, the characters at the center of this big-hearted and beautiful debut, Pietro and Assunta, find love in the face of devastating loss. Their story of resourcefulness, resilience and the power of music to inspire and to heal is one to savor. Like the long finish of a fine wine, From Ashes to Song will linger in the mind long after the last page has been turned." - Meredith Mileti, author of Aftertaste, A Novel in Five Courses