A Scarcity of Virgins

A novel for fans of Adriana Trigiani and Anna Quindlen, with a just a dash of Fifty Shades of Grey

You must sign in to see if this title is available for request.
Pub Date 15 Oct 2021 | Archive Date 12 Feb 2022
Iguana Books, Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), Members' Titles

Talking about this book? Use #AScarcityofVirgins #NetGalley. More hashtag tips!


Description

How far can unexpected and unbridled passion for a younger man drive a woman who has lived for eighteen years in a an emotionally abusive and loveless marriage? Should she leave her children, husband and close-knit Sicilian family behind for the sake of love?

Eighteen years of being a stay-at-home wife and mother have turned Rita into a borderline agoraphobic, afraid to venture more than a few blocks from her home.

Culturally, she and her husband are wildly diverse, she the daughter of immigrants to Toronto, Canada from a poverty-stricken Sicilian village, her husband’s Scottish family having established themselves generations earlier.

An unexpected confrontation with Valentin, a ruggedly handsome Spanish immigrant from Barcelona, shakes up her life both physically and emotionally. Although twelve years younger than Rita, he is intrigued by her innocence and naivete. Unable to resist his enthusiastic overtures, Rita falls passionately in love with him, sending her on a spiraling road to destruction, forcing her to make some hard decisions in order to save herself and her children.

An intimate look at a married woman’s struggle with duty versus passion, fidelity versus infidelity, family loyalty versus self-actualization.

How far can unexpected and unbridled passion for a younger man drive a woman who has lived for eighteen years in a an emotionally abusive and loveless marriage? Should she leave her children, husband...


A Note From the Publisher

Book Illustrator: Anthony Catania


E-pub: 978-1-77180-511-7

Book Illustrator: Anthony Catania


E-pub: 978-1-77180-511-7


Advance Praise

"A richly detailed evocation of an eighties housewife's journey from oppression to self-actualization and fulfillment."
— Beth Kaplan, writing teacher at University of Toronto's School of Continuing Studies and author of Loose Woman, a memoir

"Readers who enjoyed Anne Tyler's A Ladder of Years and Caroline Adderson's Ellen in Pieces will find themselves immediately at home in A Scarcity of Virgins, an exquisitely written debut novel narrated by Rita, mother of four, wife to 'Victor' (whose name tells us immediately that this is a 'father knows best' sort of marriage). This is a story of a woman's quiet rebellion, even before she discovers her own sensuality and purpose. What I particularly admired was this author's ability to put us inside Rita's body. From an early, anxious, and snowy drive to a meat market to buy milk-fed veal for a dinner where's she's expected to impress her husband's boss to the couple's passionless sex, the reader quickly grasps that Rita must find an exit from the trap that she doesn't even know she's in. Otherwise, she risks an annihilation of self. Rita's journey to find happiness leads her to defy the conventional expectations of what a married woman should want and be and to discover what she herself wants and is."
— Marylee MacDonald, author (Body Language, Bonds of Love and Blood and others)

"This novel intelligently and aptly portrays Rita as the accepting 1980's wife of an unkind and abusive husband and mother of four great kids. Underneath the days of dutifully attending to the needs of others we see her vulnerability and her gentle wish that there is something more if she could only have the confidence to adventure out of her safe routines. The opportunity comes in the form of an affair with a younger man, and Rita starts living intensely, riding highs, lows, mistakes, and triumphs that ultimately provide her with the strength to own her own life and confidence. Rita's keen in-the-moment observations and confusion over love and life ring very true. A fine read."
—Bronwen Duncan

"A woman’s journey through love and experience to a new realization of herself as strong, capable and able to take care of herself. A book to be devoured as you cheer for Rita and could cheerfully strangle her men."
—Jane Kendale (author of Windflower's Song)

"A Scarcity of Virgins by JoAnn Catania JoAnn Catania is a very skillful writer who expresses with passion and an honesty in telling what her protagonist, Rita, is experiencing as a wife and as a lover. One almost feels one is living in Rita’s skin! I was captivated by this book. It is definitely a book that will appeal to many women and cause them to reflect on how she would react in similar circumstances. It could only be written by a deeply understanding and loving person, whose own life is based on loyalty, generosity, and courageous living. On feels the reality of Rita’s emotional depth and subsequent struggles as she finds she must dig deep into her soul in order to decide who she is and where she is going from here. This is a real page turner!"
—Reviewed by Paula Niall

"This book is a comfortable, entertaining read and I love that it is in Toronto where I lived for many years. Ms. Catania's wonderfully descriptive writing is vivid and humorous, especially regarding the many little ethnic communities found in Toronto. It is nice to read a good story about an ordinary person who isn't a cop, a spy or a supervillain. As I became more engrossed in Rita's changing life, I found myself thinking, ‘Oh, no, don't do that!’ But of course, human nature being what it is, she goes right ahead anyway."
—Jan Shortt

"A Scarcity of Virgins is not for the faint of heart. Author JoAnn Catania presents a stark and, at times, shocking tale of a woman’s struggle to break free of the gender roles placed on her by society. It’s not a violent narrative, nor is it as racy as a Barbara Cartland. However, the claustrophobic conditions of the protagonist’s marriage can leave the reader gasping for breath. The prose can be a bit tongue-in-cheek. Within the first dozen pages, there is a miscarriage, commentary on infanticide, and a sexualized examination of the masculine and feminine characteristics of the shape of letters. All I can say on that last one is, you must read it. The word orgasm comes up several times throughout the novel as well. I am scandalized—and hooked. Its 1986. Rita is a Toronto housewife lamenting the stultifying conditions of the traditional marriage she has with her husband, Victor. She has reached a point in her life when she wants to have more than the role ascribed to her—a role whose mundanity is starting to take a toll on her mental well-being. She is plagued by recurring nightmares of a ghostly old women reaching out to her with a withered hand. She is paralyzed by a fear of crowds which intensifies her desire to return to the safety and comfort of her home when she does venture out. In this, the author is underscoring the rising internal conflict between a woman who wants more but is fearful of venturing away from the world she knows. The safety and comfort of her quiet life soon give way to a desire to step out and be so much more. It’s a Doll’s House meets Working Girl and its fantastic. Rita does not feel her life is a sentence handed down by a cruel universe. She loves Victor, despite his controlling behavior She is a wonderful and supportive mother to her children. She is just bored. Rita is a woman who looks at what she has but still has the temerity to ask, “is this all there is?” What may shock some readers is the casual way in with Victor’s misogyny is revealed. He is not abusive, just very controlling. He is aware of his place and believes Rita is aware of hers. This is simply the society in which they live. Her gradual rebellion opens up a new world and Rita is able to experience that world--with all its ups and downs. Take the phone off the hook and read this book with a nice Merlot. You may also want a cigarette afterwards."
—Jeff G.

"A richly detailed evocation of an eighties housewife's journey from oppression to self-actualization and fulfillment."
— Beth Kaplan, writing teacher at University of Toronto's School of Continuing...


Marketing Plan

Social platforms, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, writing group podcasts, (WFWA, CAA) Events at libraries, book signing at book stores.

Social platforms, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, writing group podcasts, (WFWA, CAA) Events at libraries, book signing at book stores.


Available Editions

EDITION Paperback
ISBN 9781771805100
PRICE $25.99 (USD)

Available on NetGalley

NetGalley Shelf App (EPUB)
Send To Kindle (MOBI)
Download (EPUB)

Average rating from 5 members


Readers who liked this book also liked: