Stronger Than Magic and A Special Friend

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Courage, My Love

When the Nazi occupation of Rome begins, two courageous young women are plunged deep into the Italian Resistance to fight for their freedom in this captivating debut novel.

Rome, 1943

Lucia Colombo has had her doubts about fascism for years, but as a single mother in an increasingly unstable country, politics are for other people she needs to focus on keeping herself and her son alive. Then the Italian government falls and the German occupation begins, and suddenly, Lucia finds that complacency is no longer an option.

Francesca Gallo has always been aware of injustice and suffering. A polio survivor who lost her father when he was arrested for his anti fascist politics, she came to Rome with her fiancé to start a new life. But when the Germans invade and her fiancé is taken by the Nazis, Francesca decides she has only one option: to fight back.

As Lucia and Francesca are pulled deeper into the struggle against the Nazi occupation, both women learn to resist alongside the partisans to drive the Germans from Rome. But as winter sets in, the occupation tightens its grip on the city, and the resistance is in constant danger.

In the darkest days, Francesca and Lucia face their pasts, find the courage to love, and maintain hope for a future that is finally free.

Under the Light of the Italian Moon

A promise keeps them apart until WW2 threatens to destroy their love forever

Fonzaso Italy, between two wars

Nina Argenta doesn’t want the traditional life of a rural Italian woman. The daughter of a strong willed midwife, she is determined to define her own destiny. But when her brother emigrates to America, she promises her mother to never leave.

When childhood friend Pietro Pante briefly returns to their mountain town, passion between them ignites while Mussolini forces political tensions to rise. Just as their romance deepens, Pietro must leave again for work in the coal mines of America. Nina is torn between joining him and her commitment to Italy and her mother.

As Mussolini’s fascists throw the country into chaos and Hitler’s Nazis terrorise their town, each day becomes a struggle to survive greater atrocities. A future with Pietro seems impossible when they lose contact and Nina’s dreams of a life together are threatened by Nazi occupation and an enemy she must face alone…

A gripping historical fiction novel, based on a true story and heartbreaking real events.

Spanning over two decades, Under the Light of the Italian Moon is an epic, emotional and triumphant tale of one woman’s incredible resilience during the rise of fascism and Italy’s collapse into WWII.

The Vietri Project

A search for a mysterious customer in Rome leads a young bookseller to confront the complicated history of her family, and that of Italy itself, in this achingly intimate debut with echoes of Lily King and Elif Batuman.Working at a bookstore in Berkeley in the years after college, Gabriele becomes intrigued by the orders of signor Vietri, a customer from Rome whose numerous purchases grow increasingly mystical and esoteric. Restless and uncertain of her future, Gabriele quits her job and, landing in Rome, decides to look up Vietri. Unable to locate him, she begins a quest to unearth the well concealed facts of his life.

Following a trail of obituaries and military records, a memoir of life in a village forgotten by modernity, and the court records of a communist murder trial, Gabriele meets an eclectic assortment of the city’s inhabitants, from the widow of an Italian prisoner of war to members of a generation set adrift by the financial crisis. Each encounter draws her unexpectedly closer to her own painful past and complicated family history—an Italian mother diagnosed with schizophrenia and institutionalized during her childhood, and an extended family in Rome still recovering from the losses and betrayals in their past. Through these voices and histories, Gabriele will discover what it means to be a person in the world; a member of a family and a citizen of a country—and how reconciling these stories may be the key to understanding her own.

Stai zitta

Di tutte le cose che le donne possono fare nel mondo, parlare è ancora considerata la più sovversiva.

Se si è donna, in Italia si muore anche di linguaggio. È una morte civile, ma non per questo fa meno male. È con le parole che ci fanno sparire dai luoghi pubblici, dalle professioni, dai dibattiti e dalle notizie, ma di parole ingiuste si muore anche nella vita quotidiana, dove il pregiudizio che passa per il linguaggio uccide la nostra possibilità di essere pienamente noi stesse. Per ogni dislivello di diritti che le donne subiscono a causa del maschilismo esiste un impianto verbale che lo sostiene e lo giustifica. Accade ogni volta che rifiutano di chiamarvi avvocata, sindaca o architetta perché altrimenti «dovremmo dire anche farmacisto». Succede quando fate un bel lavoro, ma vi chiedono prima se siete mamma. Quando siete le uniche di cui non si pronuncia mai il cognome, se non con un articolo determinativo davanti. Quando si mettono a spiegarvi qualcosa che sapete già perfettamente, quando vi dicono di calmarvi, di farvi una risata, di scopare di più, di smetterla di spaventare gli uomini con le vostre opinioni, di sorridere piuttosto, e soprattutto di star zitta.

Questo libro è uno strumento che evidenzia il legame mortificante che esiste tra le ingiustizie che viviamo e le parole che sentiamo. Ha un’ambizione: che tra dieci anni una ragazza o un ragazzo, trovandolo su una bancarella, possa pensare sorridendo che per fortuna queste frasi non le dice più nessuno.

Quando tornerò

Daniela ha un marito sfaccendato, due figli adolescenti e un lavoro sempre più precario. Una notte fugge di casa come una ladra, alla ricerca di qualcosa che possa raddrizzare l’esistenza delle persone che ama – e magari anche la sua. L’unica maniera è lasciare la Romania per raggiungere l’Italia, un posto pieno di promesse dove i sogni sembrano più vicini. Si trasferisce così a Milano a fare di volta in volta la badante, la baby sitter, l’infermiera. Dovrebbe restare via poco tempo, solo per racimolare un po’ di soldi, invece pian piano la sua vita si sdoppia e i ritorni si fanno sempre più rari. Quando le accade di rimettere piede nella sua vecchia casa di campagna, si rende conto che i figli sono ostili, il marito ancora più distante. E le occhiate ricevute ogni volta che riparte diventano ben presto cicatrici. Un giorno la raggiunge a Milano una telefonata, quella che nessuno vorrebbe mai ricevere: suo figlio Manuel ha avuto un incidente. Tornata in Romania, Daniela siederà accanto al ragazzo addormentato trascorrendo ostinatamente i suoi giorni a raccontargli di quando erano lontani, nella speranza che lui si svegli. Con una domanda sempre in testa: una madre che è stata tanto tempo lontana può ancora dirsi madre? A narrare questa storia sono Manuel, Daniela e Angelica, la figlia più grande. Tre voci per un’unica vicenda: quella di una famiglia esplosa, in cui ciascuno si rende conto che ricomporre il mosaico degli affetti, una volta che le tessere si sono sparpagliate, è la cosa più difficile. Dopo L’ultimo arrivato e Resto qui, Marco Balzano torna a raccontare con sguardo lucido e insieme partecipe quelle vite segnate che, se non ci fosse qualcuno a raccoglierle, resterebbero impigliate nel silenzio.

Il valore affettivo

Bianca aveva sette anni quando un incidente dai contorni incerti ha innescato nella sua vita una reazione a catena, che non ha risparmiato nulla. Oggi sta con Carlo, cardiochirurgo di fama internazionale, e all'apparenza lo venera. Ma tanta devozione, in realtà, nasconde un piano macchinoso, folle: un progetto di rinascita in cui l'uomo è un mero strumento. Nel percorso che intraprenderà per realizzarlo, Bianca scoprirà una verità che nessuno avrebbe mai potuto sospettare.

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