Publication date: February 19, 2013
Publisher: Tate Publishing
Source: authors/publisher via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for an honest review
Confession is good for the soul even after the soul has been claimed…
The story begins in Italy, 1900. After years of torment and neglect, Victoria and her four small children immigrate to Hell’s Kitchen, New York, to escape her alcoholic, abusive husband. On the day they leave, he tragically dies, but she does not learn of his death for several years—a secret that puts many lives on hold.
Quickly, they realize America’s streets are not paved with gold, and the limits of human faith and stamina are tested time and time again. Poverty, illness, death, kidnapping, and the reign of organized crime are just some of the crosses they bear.
Victoria’s eldest son, Vincenzo, is the sole surviving member of the family and shares a gut-wrenching account of their lives with his daughter during a visit to Ellis Island on his ninetieth birthday. He explains how the lives of he and his siblings have been secretly intertwined with an infamous Irish mob boss and ends his unsettling disclosure with a monumental request that leaves Clare speechless.
Forty Years in a Day is layered with the struggles and successes of each family member and defines the character of an era. Follow the Montanaro family through several decades, and stand in the shoes of a past generation.
Forty Years in a Day really sounded like it would be a book that I'd enjoy reading. It is the story of a family. The Prologue sets up the premise: the father tells his family's story to his daughter on his ninetieth birthday after they have toured Ellis Island. This story is typical of many families, love, scandal, loyalty, betrayal, disillusionment, hope, -- you know - life. I loved the set up and I really loved the premise of the book.
While reading Forty Years in a Day, I felt like I really was reading about a family history. It felt genuine and despite the rather large scope of time covered, I felt sympathetic towards all the characters that made up this family. The time period makes for interesting reading by itself, but include a struggling immigrant family trying to make it in America, and you have all you need for a great story.
My one issue with the book is unusual for me because I am a big proponent of thesaurus use. However, in this case, I feel that there was a bit too liberal use of the thesaurus without taking context into account, sometimes causing awkward sentences that jarred me so much that I had to stop and reread a sentence over and over because it either didn't make sense or didn't flow well. A good editor could find and address these instances easily.
Aside from my small issue, I loved the story. I loved the tone and the way it sounded just like someone telling their family story to their children. It is a lovely book. I especially enjoyed how the Epilogue tied up loose ends and even revealed a few family secrets. Actually, I would have liked to read more of the details of things revealed in the Epilogue, but I guess we can't have everything we want.
About the AuthorsMona Rodriguez coauthored Forty Years in a Day with her cousin Dianne Vigorito. Throughout their lives, they had heard many stories from family members that were fascinating, sometimes even unbelievable, and decided to piece together the puzzle of tales. Through research and interviews, their goal was to create a fictional story that follows a family through several decades, providing the reader an opportunity to stand in the shoes of a past generation and walk in search of their hopes and dreams. What they realize in the process is that human emotions have been the same throughout generations – the difference is how people are molded and maneuvered by the times and their situations.
Mona Rodriguez has her MS in environmental Management from Montclair State University. She is presently a trustee on the board of directors of a nonprofit foundation created to benefit a local public library and community. She lives with their husband in New Jersey, and they have two grown sons.
For more information, please visit the official website.
Virtual Book Tour ScheduleMonday, August 5
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Tuesday, August 6
Review at Impressions in Ink
Interview at Flashlight Commentary
Wednesday, August 7
Review & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books
Thursday, August 8
Review at A Book Geek
Friday, August 9
Review & Guest Post at The True Book Addict
Interview at Layered Pages