I particularly love books that are based on true stories of families who endured World War I or II, because there is always so much depth to them. This era of history is seeped in stories that even the most likely of writers couldn’t even create….like the saying “sometimes real life is more exciting than fiction” applies I think!
Of course, with many of these war time families eventually having members come to America to re-build life, this meant that many families were separated, pain and secrets never much spoke of, and life took on the form of farming or wine making in the West. This is what we find in the lovely book called Bianca’s Vineyard, by Teresa Neumann.
Of course though I love the historical stories of family vineyards, and the passing along to new generations of tradition (I learned to love this through reading past books and also sometimes having the chance in my day job to write about wine and vineyards in articles), this book wasn’t primarily about a vineyard, which had drawn me in at first, but in essence, it did really complete my hopes as it was a family story that spanned almost 90 years. The vineyard was the fruit of the story, the inheiritence that brought with it a mystery of Bianca’s Uncle Egisto, a sculptor who came to America to make money after the war (and it’s true– he was an amazing sculptor and carved many of the statues in St. Paul, Minnesota!), and his wife Armida, who struggled mentally and returns to Italy and ends up caught up in the horrors of Mussolini. Egisto then continues to work hard and raise their children, but he doesn’t want to give up on Armida in Italy (though she wasn’t his first choice to marry and didn’t know her well before they were married, he was very loyal!). That’s where the love story within this book is contained, within his faithfulness, and it will make you hold your breath.
The book juxtaposes between pre-WWII, WWII in Italy under Mussolini, and life in America. The family is reminicient of so many families that were torn apart by the horrors of war, where impulsive, quick, and detrimental decisions had to be made and atrocities endured. But as a vineyard binds, so can a family’s legacy. As part of a vine dies, a new season will bring growth. So can it be with love and with families. This book’s family history will tear your heart apart. It really touches on how hard it was for immigrants during the war, but also hard sometimes for the women immigrants as they felt lonely and out of touch, especially if they couldn’t speak the language.
I really liked the character development in her book and believe that her characters felt authentic and emotional. I was compelled by each situation and felt even sadder realizing that this was based on the author’s husband’s family history. I also really liked that she included so much historical detail and facts into her novel as this is what I look for in quality historical fiction. I like to be drawn in to the character’s time and place beyond only into their angst and personalities.
Neumann has presented a lasting memory of her husband’s family that can be passed down through their own future generations. As captivating as a sunset over a field of grapes, this story is compelling, well-written in prose and dialogue, features historical and eloquent details, and rivets us with emotional drama which makes this book a page turner and a lasting addition to any book shelf.
Bianca’s Vineyard, Synopsis
Genre: Historical Fiction
Bianca Corrotti’s vineyard is more than a piece of mouth-watering real estate in Tuscany. It’s an inheritance; a storehouse harboring the secrets of her Uncle Egisto Bertozzi, a world-class sculptor, and his troubled wife — a woman whose destiny converges with Mussolini’s when WWII overtakes them all. Based on a true story, Bianca’s Vineyard follows a devoted family of strong-willed men and lion-hearted women waging an epic battle against a gathering storm intent on destroying their lives.
Praise for Bianca’s Vineyard~
“Bianca’s Vineyard is many things: a striking portrait of wartime Italy under the Fascist reign of Benito Mussolini; a poignant story of family, torn apart and brought back together in the decades that spanned the Second World War; a love letter to the Tuscan countryside through its downfall and triumph. But beneath the lush descriptions of the Italian wine country and the startling brutality of a gruesome war that left a lasting impression on the entire world, it’s a story about forgiveness and second chances, and true love that prevails. The novel, ultimately, is a beautifully descriptive piece of historical fiction that spans nearly ninety years of one family’s history, focusing on one of the most pivotal moments of the twentieth century. The plot twists and turns with all of the provocative intrigue of family lore, but never fails to delight.” — The Portland Review
“Bianca’s Vineyard is involving and smoothly written, which is not surprising because Neumann is a journalist. Her dialogue is crisp and believable, and her evocation of the battle between partisans and Nazis is painful to read. Most of all, her story is of the secrets, compassion, family loyalty and long memories of people in small villages.” — St. Paul Pioneer Press
“Filled with drama and mystery, this page turner will have you longing for a vineyard of your own. Recommended for readers of historical fiction with lush settings and fans of family sagas.” — JoAnne Drake, Willamette Woman Magazine
Bianca’s Vineyard is beautifully written and is rich in culture and complex characters. Neumann gives you a realistic picture of what people went through during the war and how they survived a terrible force bent on destroying everything they have worked hard for and loved. I highly recommend this story! You will fall in love with it the moment you start the first page. Five Stars! — Historical Novel Society, Layered Pages
“Teresa Neumann’s wonderful novel, born in the contemporary history of Italy, has the impact that only a true and deeply human story could deliver. This is no fluffy Under the Tuscan Sun affirmation of all the cliches about Italy that you’ve read in recent years. Yes, the long family table under the sun, the wine and the wonderful Italian food, and the charming Italian eccentricity are all there … but this book is a riveting human story told by a master storyteller. It transcends place and time. With the instincts of a detective, Neumann investigated the tangled and often missing threads of a family story that found its way through the decades down to her. She has created a story that absorbs, stuns, and sometimes overwhelms the reader with its reality and immediacy.” — Dick Paetzke, Author of Postcards: Little Letters From Life
Buy the Book~
Author Teresa Neumann~
Teresa Neumann was raised in a large, boisterous Irish-Catholic family from Iowa and is the author of “Bianca’s Vineyard,” and its sequel, “Domenico’s Table.” Both books are based on the true stories of her husband’s Italian family in Tuscany. She has lived in Oregon for over 30 years with her husband and three children. In addition to enjoying family, writing, reading, meeting her readers, wine tasting, traveling, and all things Italian, Teresa loves playing the fiddle with other musicians.
To win a Kindle eBook of Bianca’s Vineyard, please complete the Rafflecopter giveaway form below. TWO copies are up for grabs tour wide. Giveaway for U.S. residents only, per Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours.
Giveaway ends 11:59 p.m. on August 26, must be 18+ to enter. Winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter on August 27 and notified via email. They have 48 hours to claim prize for new winner is chosen.
Tour Schedule: http://www.hfvirtualbooktours.com/biancasvineyardblogtour
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