cover image Stars in an Italian Sky

Stars in an Italian Sky

Jill Santopolo. Putnam, $27 (336p) ISBN 978-0-593-41917-5

For this moving, intergenerational tale, Santopolo (Everything After) skillfully weaves two love stories in which passionate and idealistic young couples contend with class differences, tension between their personal desires and familial obligations, and the ongoing ramifications of decisions made by earlier generations. In 1946 Genoa, Italy, Giovanna, a tailor’s daughter, and Vincenzo, a count’s son, fall in love despite disapproving family and friends, on the eve of a political referendum that will decide the fate of Italy’s ruling class. In contemporary New York City, two Italian Americans, Cassandra, a marketing director from a modest Long Island family, and her fiancé, Luca, an up-and-coming artist and grandson of Italian winemakers, invite her grandmother and his grandfather to pose together for a painting, leading to a startling discovery and a late-in-life second chance at love. Soon, two sets of wedding plans become fodder for interpersonal and intergenerational conflict. All wrestle with regret, doubt, and hope, seeking guidance from Catholicism, family traditions, and the wisdom of their own hearts. The story toes the line between romance and women’s fiction, with equal focus on romantic and familial love. Santopolo’s flawed yet endearing characters are sure to tug at readers’ heartstrings. Agent: Miriam Altshuler, DeFiore & Co. (Feb.)