This historical novel centers on an Italian father and son that live in Bellafortuna, Sicily, Antonio and Giuseppe Sanguinetti, who work in the former’s winery, which they close early so they can go home one evening. With Giuseppe becoming an acolyte in his local church, the father and son eventually meet Luigi Tavelo, who works as a baker and had seen employment as a conductor of an opera orchestra. Some factoids are given about Bellafortuna and Italian culture in general, such as the fact that the village has siestas from twelve to two in the afternoon, and opera begins to play a significant part in the narrative.
The father and so go to the premiere of an opera, which is sold out, although they sacrifice more money and a pocket watch to chance the opportunity, and meet one of the singers in the opera named Enrico Caruso, who provides a drawing that Antonio places in his winery in hopes of attracting more customers. At one point, the villagers of Bellafortuna find themselves harassed by the citizens of Palermo via tomatoes, although they fortunately have the opportunity to return fire. An operatic society forms in Bellafortuna, with Luigi providing transcripts of the lyrics of various operas. Giuseppe also forges a relationship with a girl from a nearby town named Maria.
Playing a significant role in later chapters is Giuseppe’s writing a letter to Enrico to get him to sing at Bellafortuna’s forthcoming Festival Boccale, although the singer proves somewhat tardy in his response as the celebration draws near. Although there are some occasional deaths in the novel, the narrative ends on a positive note, and overall, this is an engaging read that gives good insight into Italian society, with the author showing his work in the Author’s Note after the main text, given the assistance of Italians in transcribing opera lyric translations, among other things. Ultimately, A Song for Bellafortuna is very much a recommended read.
Award winning and bestselling author, Vincent B. "Chip" LoCoco, lives in New Orleans. His first novel, Tempesta's Dream - A Story of Love, Friendship and Opera, became an Amazon bestselling novel and was awarded the 2014 Pinnacle Achievement Award in Historical Fiction. Amazon also has named his book as a Top Rated Novel in Italian Historical Fiction.
His most recent novel, A Song for Bellafortuna, was shortlisted in the William Faulkner - William Wisdom Competition. He is an estate planning attorney in New Orleans, where he lives with his wife and two children.