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Five New Novels By Italian Americans

Are you looking for your next page turner? Eat, pray and love your way through these new novels written by Italian American authors. America Domani has compiled a shortlist of 5 new novels that will fill your mind and heart with wanderlust and nostalgia:

Varina Palladino's Jersey Italian Love Story 

By Terri-Lynne DeFino

(Photo Credit: Amazon

The title character, Varina Palladino, runs an Italian grocery store. Her husband is dead, and she is caring for her sick, elderly mother. Her mother, Sylvia, worries her widowed daughter will be all alone when she finally passes. Then granddaughter, Donatella, hatches a plan: the family will help Varina find a husband. And so the Palladino family is set on their mission. Author Terri-Lynne DeFino grew up in a big Italian American family in New Jersey, and this might explain why each chapter includes a language lesson explaining Italian American slang like capeesh (you understand that?). In an interview with her daughter, DeFino reveals that like her character, she was left widowed. She eventually remarried and had a big, loud Italian family all of her own. She began her writing career when her youngest children entered school. She is the author of several previous novels, most recently The Bar Harbor Retirement Home for Famous Writers.

Hello Beautiful 

By Ann Napolitano 

The novel follows the life William Waters beginning with his birth in 1960. Six days after he is born, his older sister dies, setting up major implications for his life in the future. His parents resent him, and he struggles to find acceptance. In college, Waters meets Julia Padavano. She introduces him to her large family where he finally finds the love missing from his own family, but it is her family that Waters's tragic childhood nearly destroys. Ann Napolitano is an Italian American with four novels written over the course of a two decades long career. In each of these novels, she explores narrative point of view, often relying on multiple perspectives to tell the story. Her previous novel, Dear Edward, was a New York Times bestseller. In an interview with Today, Napolitano compares the characters in the new novels to Luisa May Alcott's Little Women because of their sisterly bond.  

(Photo Credit: Amazon)


By Lisa Scottoline

(Phot Credit: Penguin Random House)

Set in the beautiful and sometimes dangerous island of Sicily, Loyalty follows Franco Fiorvanti, a lemon grower thwarted in his aspirations by a rigid class system. To advance his career, he's asked by a local landowner to kidnap a child. He wrestles with the decision that will change his life forever. Meanwhile, Gaettano Catalan, a lawyer and member of the aristocratic society is set out to find the boy. New mother Mafalda Pancari frets over her new daughter Lucia and Aldredo D'Antonio worries he will be discovered for being Jewish. Author Lisa Scottoline is a bestselling author of 35 novels including both standalone fiction and procedural series. Originally from South Philadelphia, Scottoline grew up with an extensive Italian American family. Her mother was the youngest of 19 children, according to a Publisher’s Weekly interview. She began her career as a lawyer before leaving the firm to write full time, and she has had a long running column in the Philadelphia Inquirer, co-written with her daughter.

In Bruno’s Shadow

By Tony Ardizzone  

A Croatian housekeeper in Rome changes the lives of eight people after witnessing a miracle on a site where there are visions of the Virgin Mary. The novel is set against the backdrop of a tsunami in Asia and the slow death of John Paul II. The stories of the people the housekeeper encounters are interconnected in a kaleidoscope of storytelling through a political and spiritual novel. Italian American author Tony Ardizzone was born and raised in Chicago, which often has served as inspiration for his characters and settings. He's written eight previous novels, won numerous literary prizes, and he teaches at the low-residency MFA program at Vermont College. 

(Photo Credit: Amazon)

What She Takes Away

By Adele Annesi

(Photo Credit: Amazon)

Gia receives a scarf from her estranged father living in Italy at her shop in Boston's North End. The scarf has unusual qualities about it, and so decides to travel to the village in Italy where her father and step family are to discover the source of the unique material from the local fabric mill. What She Takes Away is Annesi's debut novel, but she has previously co-authored Now What? The Creative Writer's Guide to Success After the MFA. Her essay about Italian citizenship in Press Pause Moments: Essays about Life Transitions by Women Writers, won the Clarion Award. She also teaches creative writing and workshops based in Westport, Connecticut. 

Ian MacAllen

Ian MacAllen is America Domani's Senior Correspondent and the author of Red Sauce: How Italian Food Became American. He is a writer, editor, and graphic designer living in Brooklyn. Connect with him at IanMacAllen.com or on Twitter @IanMacAllen.


Ian MacAllen is the author of Red Sauce: How Italian Food Became American. He is a writer, editor, and graphic designer living in Brooklyn. Connect with him at IanMacAllen.com or on Twitter @IanMacAllen.