Reviews

Publishers Weekly
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This sweeping epic from Trigiani (Tony’s Wife) follows three generations of the Tuscan Cabrelli clan as they deal with war, heartbreak, and family secrets. Octogenarian Matelda Roffo, knowing her days are numbered, reveals to her children and grandchildren the truth about her mother Domenica’s seldom-discussed first marriage to the Scottish sea captain John Lawrie McVicars. Flashback to 1939 when Domenica, while practicing as a nurse, recommends birth control to a patient, angering a local priest who forces her to leave her hometown. She ends up working at a hospital in France, where she meets McVicars while treating his neck wounds. The looming war takes McVicars away, but the two run into each other in Glasgow, Scotland, a year later and decide to marry. Tragedy strikes and Domenica returns to Tuscany to make a life for herself and her newborn Matelda. In the present, Matelda’s revelations send ripples across the family and change the trajectory of her granddaughter’s life. Some of the many subplots about minor characters distract from the emotional core of the story, but Trigiani’s lush descriptions and trademark acute attention to family dynamics more than compensate. This saga of family and legacy is one to savor. Suzanne Gluck, William Morris Endeavor. (Apr.)


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Matelda Roffo has a weak heart, and as her granddaughter, Anina, fusses over her, she contemplates the past and the lives of generations before her. Domenica Cabrelli, Matelda's mother, is the outspoken daughter of a jewel cutter and best friend to outcast Silvio Birtolini who grows up to be a nurse. When, in the 1930s, she offers family planning advice to one of her patients, she is sent from seaside Viareggio, Italy, to Marseille, then Glasgow. After losing her husband, she eventually makes it back to Viareggio, and to Silvio. Meanwhile, Anina isn't sure if she's ready to marry the lackadaisical Paolo, and she finds new purpose taking care of Matelda. Trigiani's latest, after Tony's Wife (2018), is an immersive multigenerational saga that centers around the women in one family in a seaside town. But along the way there are detours to a convent, a shipwreck, and WWII prison camps. As Matelda weakens, the two time lines intersect in unexpected ways, leading to an emotional conclusion that will have readers reaching for the tissues. A must for women's fiction collections.


Library Journal
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Barenbaum, author of Barnes & Noble Discover pick A Bend in the Stars, Atomic Anna features a renowned nuclear scientist who is sleeping as Chernobyl melts down in 1986 and rips through time to meet her estranged daughter Molly in 1992, shot in the chest and begging her to go back and change the past (50,000-copy first printing). In Bird's Last Dance on the Starlight Pier, Evie Grace Devlin tries to leave vaudeville behind to become a nurse in 1930s Galveston, TX, but encounters setbacks and instead gets caught up in the shady world of dance marathons; following the Dublin International Literary Award long-listed Above the East China Sea (75,000-copy first printing). In Spur Award-winning Dallas's 1918 Denver-set Little Souls, sisters Helen and Lutie care for the daughter of a flu victim, and an abusive man's murder is covered up by leaving his body on the streets with all the other corpses to be collected (30,000-copy first printing). PEN/Robert W. Bingham finalist Llanos-Figueroa explores 19th-century Puerto Rican plantation society through Pola, A Woman of Endurance, captured in Africa and brought to Puerto Rico to bear babies subsequently taken from her and enslaved (40,000-copy first printing). First in a tetralogy, Scurati's internationally best-selling, Strega Award-winning M.—short for Mussolini—explores the rise of fascism in Italy (40,000-copy first printing). In The Good Left Undone, the New York Times best-selling Trigiana returns to Italy, where Matelda, the dying matriarch of a Tuscan artisan family, reveals her mother's love of the Scottish sea captain that fathered Matelda during World War II.


Kirkus
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

In the Italian coastal town of Viareggio, Matelda Cabrelli Roffo is at the last stage of her life, but the matriarch still has decades' worth of family stories to share. On the eve of her 81st birthday, Matelda offers her 25-year-old granddaughter Anina the contents of her jewelry case, a family tradition for brides-to-be. Of course, Anina selects the one item Matelda isn't ready to part with: a jewel-encrusted watch with a curiously upside-down facade. Matelda's attachment to the treasure—a rare sentiment in the Cabrelli family of jewelers—leads to questions about its origins and the unfolding of a family timeline Anina's never heard. In chapters alternating between the present and the nine decades leading up to Matelda's demurring, the Cabrelli family history is deftly illustrated through a long chain of strong women. At just 11 years old, Matelda's mother, Domenica Cabrelli, witnesses her best friend, Silvio, banished from Viareggio for being a fatherless troublemaker. Years later, Domenica, now a nurse, is exiled herself when the Catholic Church learns she's offered family planning advice to a young mother in distress. She lands in a convent in Scotland, where she continues nursing and plans to join the nunnery. Conveniently, love interrupts, and Domenica's marriage to a Scottish naval captain derails her plans, as does Italy's involvement in the war. With young Matelda in tow, Domenica longs for her hometown of Viareggio, a seaside paradise elderly Matelda cherishes until her last breath. Upon learning about the Cabrelli family struggles, sacrifices, and persistence, Anina changes, reconsidering the meaning of strength, family, and the types of love worth sacrificing for. Trigiani's adept character portrayals, deliciously described settings, and carefully considered details build momentum and intrigue from beginning to end. An epic multigenerational love story sweeping across coastal Italy, Southern France, and Scotland. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Kirkus
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

In the Italian coastal town of Viareggio, Matelda Cabrelli Roffo is at the last stage of her life, but the matriarch still has decades' worth of family stories to share.On the eve of her 81st birthday, Matelda offers her 25-year-old granddaughter Anina the contents of her jewelry case, a family tradition for brides-to-be. Of course, Anina selects the one item Matelda isn't ready to part with: a jewel-encrusted watch with a curiously upside-down facade. Matelda's attachment to the treasurea rare sentiment in the Cabrelli family of jewelersleads to questions about its origins and the unfolding of a family timeline Anina's never heard. In chapters alternating between the present and the nine decades leading up to Matelda's demurring, the Cabrelli family history is deftly illustrated through a long chain of strong women. At just 11 years old, Matelda's mother, Domenica Cabrelli, witnesses her best friend, Silvio, banished from Viareggio for being a fatherless troublemaker. Years later, Domenica, now a nurse, is exiled herself when the Catholic Church learns she's offered family planning advice to a young mother in distress. She lands in a convent in Scotland, where she continues nursing and plans to join the nunnery. Conveniently, love interrupts, and Domenica's marriage to a Scottish naval captain derails her plans, as does Italy's involvement in the war. With young Matelda in tow, Domenica longs for her hometown of Viareggio, a seaside paradise elderly Matelda cherishes until her last breath. Upon learning about the Cabrelli family struggles, sacrifices, and persistence, Anina changes, reconsidering the meaning of strength, family, and the types of love worth sacrificing for. Trigiani's adept character portrayals, deliciously described settings, and carefully considered details build momentum and intrigue from beginning to end.An epic multigenerational love story sweeping across coastal Italy, Southern France, and Scotland. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Library Journal
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Trigiani's 15th adult fiction title (after Tony's Wife) introduces readers to the Cabrelli family in the small seaside village of Viareggio, Italy. The matriarch, Matelda, is growing old and decides to share her family story with her granddaughter. The saga begins with Matelda's mother Domenica who, due to her headstrong nature and unbridled tongue, is exiled by the village priest and sent to Marseille to study nursing. When World War II breaks out, she goes to Scotland to wait out the war. But the lure of Viareggio is strong, and she returns home after the war. The story of the Cabrellis, their loves, losses, feuds, and the family gem-cutting business takes place as the 20th century unfolds. Interwoven are tales of an ostracized boy born out of wedlock, how Italians in Scotland were villainized and deported during the war, and the changing roles of women. VERDICT In this engaging novel, Trigiani conveys the beauty of Italy, the hardships of war, the taste of family recipes, and the enduring love of family. For fans of Kate Quinn or Kristin Hannah.—Terry Lucas

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