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Wednesday, April 6, 2011


From promotional material: "Each day Julietta, Annamaria, and Luciana enter the world of the upper class, working on society's finest clothing at Madame Fortier's elite gown shop. Yet the three beauties long to break free of their obligations and embrace the American dream - and their chance for love. But the ways of the heart are difficult to discern at times, and as their destinies intertwine, each girl harbors a secret, wondering if she will be found worthy of the love she seeks."
From back cover: In 1918 Boston, three seamstresses dare to dream of a better life. Fiery Julietta pursues love recklessly. Shy Annamaria falls for the wrong man. Secretive Luciana's past endangers them all. Drawn together amid the opulence of Madame Fortier's dress shop, will each find the fairy-tale ending she seeks?

Siri Mitchell has written an intricately woven story, rich in character. Set in post WWI Boston, it is the tale of three Italian immigrant women, their lives and loves. It is also set against the backdrop of the Spanish Influenza epidemic of 1918-1919.

I was not familiar with either the Italian immigrant story or the Spanish Influenza epidemic prior to reading this book, so there was much to be gleaned by way of historical detail. For instance, I learned that those immigrating from Italy in that time period found it strange to be referred to as Italians. It was more common to be referred to according their region.

This is a story of secrets, intrigue, faith and family. How are these young women to honor family while at the same time seeking independence and a life of their own? Being as full of surprises as it is secrets, this book intrigues the reader to the end.

Siri tells the story through the eyes of the three main characters and Madame Fortier, using the omniscient point of view. Occasionally, the author interjects in order to comment or clarify.

This is the first book I've read by Siri Mitchell, and found it a fascinating read.

About the author:

Siri Mitchell graduated from the University of Washington with a business degree and worked in various levels of government. As a military spouse, she has lived all over the world, including Paris and Tokyo. Siri enjoys observing and learning from different cultures. She is fluent in French and loves sushi.

But she is also a member of a strange breed of people called novelists. When they’re listening to a speaker and taking notes, chances are, they’ve just had a great idea for a plot or a dialogue. If they nod in response to a really profound statement, they’re probably thinking, “Yes. Right. That’s exactly what my character needs to hear.” When they edit their manuscripts, they laugh at the funny parts. And cry at the sad parts. Sometimes they even talk to their characters.

Siri wrote 4 books and accumulated 153 rejections before signing with a publisher. In the process, she saw the bottoms of more pints of Ben & Jerry’s than she cares to admit. At various times she has vowed never to write another word again. Ever. She has gone on writing strikes and even stooped to threatening her manuscripts with the shredder.

Her ninth novel, A Heart Most Worthy, follows prior Bethany House releases: A Constant Heart (October 2008), Love's Pursuit (June 2009), and She Walks in Beauty (Apr 2010). She Walks in Beauty won the inaugural INSPY Award for Historical Fiction in Dec 2010. Two of her novels, Chateau of Echoes and The Cubicle Next Door were Christy Award finalists. Love's Pursuit was a finalist for the ACFW Carol Award.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

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