BY LISA MCGUINNESSPublication Date: October 13, 2015
eBook & Paperback; 365 Pages
Genre: Women’s Fiction/Literary/Historical
The New York Times best-selling author Lisa McGuinness interweaves the stories of four generations of strong, vibrant women and has created characters both idiosyncratic and adventuresome. Born at the end of the Nineteenth Century and nestled in South Western Italy, Catarina Pensbene’s life in Perdifumo is full of sun-drenched olive orchards, lush grape vines, delicious peasant food, family and love. Because of an unexpected plunge into an untenable situation, Catarina decides to take a huge risk to become a mail order bride and sets out across the ocean.
Interwoven with Catarina’s, is the story is of her witty and self-deprecating granddaughter, Juliette Brice. Born and raised in Northern California, Juliette experiences an unfortunate tragedy that serves as the impetus for her to shake up her life, and travel to her grandmother’s homeland, where she enrolls in a six-month cooking class in Lucca, Italy. While abroad, Julliette becomes romantically involved with a handsome Italian man, yet her own destiny dictates she is to return to California once her class ends. Through her attention to detail and employing both historically accurate and thoroughly modern storytelling, Catarina’s Ring serves up Italian delicacies, luminous characters, a delicious escape and completely inspiring storytelling.
AMAZON | BARNES AND NOBLE | CHAPTERS
Praise for Catarina’s Ring
Midwest Book Review called Catarina’s Ring, “A deftly constructed novel, Catarina’s Ring is an extraordinary and original novel that will hold the reader’s thoroughly absorbed attention from beginning to end. Solidly entertaining from first page to last, Catarina’s Ring is highly recommended.”
Gentry Magazine said the “Engaging characters, delectable food, gorgeous Italian landscapes, and simmering love make for a delicious novel by Bay Area author, Lisa McGuinness that will leave your hungry for more.”
The Reviewer “…the food descriptions made my mouth water, and the stories were great.”
Catarina Pensebene grew up in Italy's farming country. Her life was filled with olive groves, hard work, good food and a large, loving family. When Catarina is put to work as a maid for another family, she attracts the attention of the husband and is almost raped. Salvation comes in the form of a letter from the United States. A family friend is asking for Catarina's hand in marriage for their son, Franco. Catarina gains the courage to leave her home and her family in order to travel to America and marry a man she only knew in her youth. Making the best of the life she now leads, Catarina finds love with Franco and his family, she dutifully passes on her life lessons along with the ring Franco made for her to her daughter and granddaughter. Years later, Catarina's granddaughter, Juliette decides to escape to Italy after a tragedy. Juliette calls upon the strength of her grandmother to get through heartbreak and find the courage to follow her dream and open her own Italian restaurant.
Beautiful scenery and intriguing plot immersed me into both Catarina and Juliette's stories. I am a sucker for dual time stories and I loved that I knew the connection between Juliette and Catarina from the beginning, but not the full importance of the ring. I felt a strong connection to each character; I experienced the struggle of Catarina's decision as she weighed leaving her home for a new land and fiance, as well as her resolve in being happy and making love grow. Juliette's experience began in tragedy, however Italy was a wonderful place to recuperate. I was brought into the sights, smells and food as Juliette cooked her way to recovery. I enjoyed that Juliette also found solace in her Grandmother's letters, the shared experiences through time and the bond of the ring deepened their links. Overall, an emotional and enchanting story of love, lessons, loss and family.
This book was received in exchange for an honest review.
Lisa McGuinness is the author of the Caffeinated Ideas Journal as well as the co-author of several children’s books including the New York Times bestseller Bee & Me and Baby Turtle’s Tale, both under the pen name Elle J. McGuinness. She is also the co-author of the Dictionary of Extraordinary Ordinary Animals. She lives in Walnut Creek, CA.