Rosanna Chiofalo: Stella Mia

In the book enjoy eual immediacy A grown US American daughter tells her version of the events surrounding the departure of her Italian mother back to Italy When she discovers her mother s diary the daughter and the reader discover the mother s version of eventsAstoria New York s first second and third generation Italian Americans make up many of the characters in this story The other characters are Sicilian and Calabrian The events recounted occur in America and in Italy in the near past and in the distant past This is so called women s fiction which I think is a rather insulting category name So I will describe this in traditional terms a family dramaThe mother s childhood in Italy is an excruciating story to read Physical and psychological abuse takes a toll on the woman not ust in the past but throughout her whole life It is a relief to read of the happiness she finds here and there in her life But the overall feeling is that she is doomed from the start to suffer The story takes on the feel of a family saga when the story of the past takes over The visits to Astoria New York with the grown daughter are fleeting I think I enjoyed the last part of the story the best when the grown daughter meets her aged mother in Sicily and learns the rest of the story directly from her mother There is of course a heartwarming endingI m a bit older than the 42 year old protagonist Julia but I still think she is a childish woman Her reactions to what she learns about her mother feel like the reactions of a child not a grown woman Perhaps that is the case these days the perpetual adolescents of America I like to think that her experience in this book will make her a real grown womanThere are recipes at the end of the book and a uestion Answer section with the author Reading clubs are provided uestions to accompany Stella Mia The reader is told about the author s other books and we learn that some of the characters in Stella Mia appear in the other books I received the book from NetGalleyPlease visit my full and illustrated review at Italophile Book Reviewshttpitalophilebookreviewsblogspot. Flinchingly of her harsh childhood and of a first passionate love affair; of blissful months spent living in the enchanting coastal resort town of Taormina and the unspoiled Aeolian Islands north of Sicily as well as the reasons she came to New York By the diary's end Julia knows she must track down her mother in Italy and piece together the rest of the complex bittersweet truth a ourney that for better or worse will change her own life forever.

Julia doesn t remember much of her Italian mother since she left when she was very young and Jul ia was brought up by her father and Aunt Julia discovers a trunk in the basement of her father s home and finds a diary and clothing that belonged to her mother As Julie begins to read the diary her mother s life unfolds and she has an amazing story to tell Julie discovers her mother is still alive and she decides to go to Sicily and confront her past I picked up and read this book to complete a reading prompt challenge for 2018 The prompt was pick a book from the cover art I loved the cover and I love Italy While I think this story had great potential it got bogged down and lost It often fell into rambling pages of esoteric data that was distracting and really not important to the story I really enjoyed many parts of the book and the overall story would have been great but by the end I was ust glad the Arvyndase (Silverspeech) journey was over But I have ticked off a 2018 prompt Full review to follow on Stella Mia is a novel about love gypsies and looking for a home and the beautiful beaches of Italy But mostly it s a hauntingly beautiful tale about mothers and daughters Julia finds her mother s diary and because her mother left when she was young it s a treasure to Julia The book opens with Julia s story but really pulls you in during the flashback to Julia s mother s life The flashback is the bulk of the story We find out how Julia s mother Sarina grew up how she made her own way how she fell in love and how she sacrificed her own happiness for someone else The end poignantly brings the story back to Julia 25 starsThis is a book that falls under the It s not you it s me category because itust didn t move me as much as I thought it would The description of Sicily 1969 was done beautifully and felt like I was walking the streets and beaches of Taormina and the other islands Sarina visited I ust couldn t fully connect with Julia and Sarina for that full emotional rollercoaster experience that the blurb promised Of the two I felt less of a connection with Julia Though we meet her first and she ex. Rosanna Chiofalo's poignant beautifully written novel evokes the stunning scenery of Sicily and the Aeolian Islands and tells of mothers and daughters love and sacrifice and the choices that resound across continents and through generations Julia Parlatone doesn't have much to remember her Italian mother by A grapevine that Sarina planted still flourishes in the backyard of Julia's childhood home in Astoria ueens And there's a song Stella Mia sh.

Plains how she felt about being abandoned by her mother how she came to accept it and where is now in her life it wasn t enough for me She tells us about her relationship with her husband and father but we don t get to experience it because we delve right into Sarina s story and as we are reading it we never get to experience Julia s reactions to what she learns until the very end of it I can understand why it was done this way but I think that s part of the disconnect for me I wanted to know about her immediate reactions and how she processed them all but not experiencing that part of Julia s story was disappointing Sarina s story is heartbreaking and I was sickened by how her father treated her but I did admire her will to live despite all she went through and the strength that it took her to take that first step to find something better even if it meant leaving those she loved The romance between Sarina and Carlo I found to be sweet maybe a little forced at times but since Sarina was all about going with her gut I can see how what they felt for each other could turn into something soul deep The ending is sweet and does give closure to both Sarina and Julia s stories that will leave you with sense that everything has come full circle 35 stars Julia s mother left her and her father when she was three to return to Italy She remembers a song that she used to sing to her Stella Mia but little else When she comes across a chest in the basement that contains some of the mother s things she is shocked to find a diary The book turns to a dual time novel as we see her mother Sarina s life in Italy and the challenges she faced The diary convinces Julia that she needs to find her mother and understand the choices that she made Enjoyable read Setting is in Italy and New York which makes for pleasant reading This was a great book Being Italian I appreciated all the scenes described and the language Wonderful story I loved it I ust put another one of her books on hold Stella Mia is a novel written as a memoirs All in the present tense the past and the distant past events recounted. E recalls her mother singing my star my star you are the most beautiful star until the day she left three year old Julia behind and returned to Italy for good Now a happily married school teacher Julia tries not to dwell on a past she can't change or on a mother who chose to leave But in an old trunk in the family basement she discovers items that belonged to her mother a song book Tarot cards a Sicilian folk costume and a diary Sarina writes un.

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Rosanna Chiofalo is a first generation Italian American whose parents emigrated from Sicily to New York in the early 1960s She is the author of Bella Fortuna Carissima Stella Mia Rosalia's Bittersweet Pastry Shop and the novella Seven Days of Christmas which appears in the WHEN THE SNOW FALLS collection She lives with her husband in New York City Visit RosannaChiofalocom