This historical romance opens with a map of its setting, which starts in Italy in 1890, of the southern part of the country’s “boot” known as Calabria, with several cities indicated. The preface indicates the author’s heritage as part of a Canadian-Italian family, and denotes her interest in genealogy. Part One of the story occurs in Calabria, Italy, from 1897 to 1901, and commences with Padre Valentine praying that Nella’s labor pains in her upcoming delivery will be minimal. Tragedy strikes after Nella’s childbirth as she dies, although the infant, named Caterina, survives.
Five years prior to the first chapter, Anna, when she was twenty-one, inherited money from her deceased college professor father, and is married to Santo, attending births such as that which resulted in Nella’s demise. Caterina’s father, Eduardo, aims to get a new cottage since he believes that his daughter, who has turned two, deserves her own bedroom. The novel reveals some backstory on the real events of the time, for instance, a group of Sicilians in the 1860s being exiled from their homeland for inciting an insurrection, and moving to the mainland to form an organization called Ndrangheta, whose aim is to control Italian politics in the south.
Part Two takes place in 1913 in the summer, still in Italy, with Caterina and Lorenzo forming a relationship, the latter dealing with an ailing mother, with a little side-story in the form of Caterina taming a wolf, the supposed symbolic animal of Italy with the historical note that Rome’s founder Romulus was saved by a she-wolf. Overall, this is an enjoyable historical romance that those who typically enjoy books in the genre will most likely appreciate, ending with a bibliography of the author’s research not to mention discussion questions for participants in book groups, and earns this reviewer’s seal of approval.
Family dynamics, genealogical research to solve ancestral mysteries and international travel are Marianne Perry’s priorities. A second-generation Canadian-Italian, she is the author of The Inheritance, a historical fiction set in Calabria, Italy from 1897 to 1913 inspired by her grandmother’s early life in Calabria. With a thirty-year career in education and communications, Marianne holds a Master of Education Degree from The University of Western Ontario (Canada).
A past member of the Board of Trustees, the Canadian National Arts Centre Corporation, she has also published non-fiction genealogical articles throughout North America. As a girl, Marianne fell in love with The National Geographic Magazine and dreamt of exploring the world. With her recent visit to Antarctica, she achieved her goal of stepping foot on every continent. The mother of two grown children, Marianne and her husband live on the shores of the St. Mary’s River, which drains Lake Superior on the outskirts of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada. She continues to research family history and write non-fiction genealogical articles. In addition, she is working on her second novel and planning further adventures.
Marianne blogs about genealogy, travel, family and writing on her website. Visit her at http://www.marianneperry.ca. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Goodreads.