Godmother

Anthony Mancini, Author Dutton Books $21.95 (272p) ISBN 978-1-55611-376-5
Mancini's ( Menage ) Italian immigrant potboiler traces Maria Croce Falcone's rise from Neapolitan peasant girl to La Cumare , Godmother of New York City's Little Italy. When Maria's father runs afoul of the Commora (the Neapolitan mafia), his 16-year-old orphaned daughter is taken in by the village priest. Pregnant with the priest's child, Maria finds herself alone once again and turns to Pepe Falcone, a carpenter who has long loved her. The two head to America to join Pepe's brother Claudio in the Pennsylvania steel mills; but when Claudio kills his foreman, the Falcones are forced to flee again, this time to the chaos of New York City's Lower East Side. Maria starts a bootleg business, buying off the local Commora boss Antonio Malatesta with money and favors--until Malatesta tries to destroy her business. Maria kills him and becomes La Cumare of Sullivan Street, fending off forays by Sicilian, Jewish and Irish counterparts with feminine cunning. The climax comes when an old friend betrays her beloved son Angelo, now a parish priest, and Maria must try everything to protect him. Despite a made-for-TV miniseries style, Mancini's depictions of Italian peasant and immigrant life ring true. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/04/1993
Release date: 10/01/1993
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