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A Kiss from Maddalena

A Kiss from Maddalena

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3.78

(23)
|Views: 11|Likes:
Published by Workman Publishing
It is 1943, and Santa Cecilia has become a village of women. All the young men are away at war, except for Vito Leone, his best friend, and the shopkeeper's son. When Vito falls in love with Maddalena Picinelli, the shy and beautiful daughter of the town's most powerful family, a few obstacles appear in his path. Maddalena's sassy, iron-willed sister Carolina thinks he's a penniless fool. Her parents think his crazy mother has turned him into a mammoni, a mama's boy. But Maddalena sees another side of Vito. He's romantic. He builds a bicycle for the girls to ride. He takes care of his feeble mama, who hasn't been the same since her husband and daughters ran off to America. And Vito is determined to win Maddalena's hand even though she has three older sisters who must be married off first. When the Italians surrender to the Allies and German soldiers invade Santa Cecilia, everyone flees but Vito and his mother. With ingenuity and boundless devotion, Vito comes up with a plan to prove that he's a suitable suitor. The Picinelli family returns home after the war to find that some miraculous changes have taken place. Now, only one man stands in Vito's way, and Maddalena is forced to choose between her family's wishes and her own heart. In the spirit of Corelli's Mandolin and Chocolat, A KISS FROM MADDALENA is a captivating novel that celebrates the beauty of life and the passions of youth.
It is 1943, and Santa Cecilia has become a village of women. All the young men are away at war, except for Vito Leone, his best friend, and the shopkeeper's son. When Vito falls in love with Maddalena Picinelli, the shy and beautiful daughter of the town's most powerful family, a few obstacles appear in his path. Maddalena's sassy, iron-willed sister Carolina thinks he's a penniless fool. Her parents think his crazy mother has turned him into a mammoni, a mama's boy. But Maddalena sees another side of Vito. He's romantic. He builds a bicycle for the girls to ride. He takes care of his feeble mama, who hasn't been the same since her husband and daughters ran off to America. And Vito is determined to win Maddalena's hand even though she has three older sisters who must be married off first. When the Italians surrender to the Allies and German soldiers invade Santa Cecilia, everyone flees but Vito and his mother. With ingenuity and boundless devotion, Vito comes up with a plan to prove that he's a suitable suitor. The Picinelli family returns home after the war to find that some miraculous changes have taken place. Now, only one man stands in Vito's way, and Maddalena is forced to choose between her family's wishes and her own heart. In the spirit of Corelli's Mandolin and Chocolat, A KISS FROM MADDALENA is a captivating novel that celebrates the beauty of life and the passions of youth.

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Publish date: Apr 25, 2003
Added to Scribd: Aug 02, 2013
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reservedISBN:9781565123892
List Price: $23.95

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12/16/2014

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9781565123892

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Publishers Weekly reviewed this
Stendhal, in his book On Love, claimed that Italy was the home of passionate love because Italians take reverie as seriously as politics. Castellani, a young American writer, takes the Stendhalian viewpoint in this charming first novel. Vito Leone is a 17-year-old in the Italian village of Santa Cecilia in 1943, one of the few males who have not gone off to war. Vito is only intermittently aware of the fighting, since his attention is absorbed by the village beauty, Maddalena Picinelli. Vito is the village clown, living alone with his mother, Concetta, who suffers from a chronic mental disorder. Despite these circumstances, Maddalena reciprocates Vito's love. On the night that the Germans come through Santa Cecilia, blowing up buildings, Maddalena nearly decides to give herself to Vito, but to scare Maddalena into chastity, Carolina, Maddalena's shrewd sister, tells her of a young village woman who recently died in childbirth. The Picinellis flee to the countryside for the duration of the war, while Vito, in the mostly deserted village, cares for his mother. After the Germans nearly destroy the Picinelli house, Vito rebuilds it. When the Picinellis return to Santa Cecilia, they are surprised to find their house preserved, but they want to bestow Maddalena upon a prosperous Italian-American, Antonio Grasso. Will she sacrifice Vito for her family? Vito, Maddalena and Carolina are strong characters, and Castellani creates a velvety, cinematic atmosphere-a touch clichd, but rich and effective nonetheless. Like a Verdi opera, Castellani's story creates a certain grandeur out of its own lightness. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

2003-02-10, Publishers Weekly
carolynschroeder reviewed this
Rated 3/5
For the most part, this was a pretty unique and interesting love story of sorts. It takes place amidst Italy's shifting alliances at the end of World War II. The ending was weird, awkward and pretty horrible, but up until that last chapter or so, it was good. I'm not so sure I bought the insipidness of the main character, Maddalena, but I suppose families do often dictate their children's every move, especially the "favorite" girl (and especially during the 40s). I loved the depiction of Italy during the war though, the lives of the men left behind and how the families survived (or did not). Ultimately, kind of a so-so read with high points.
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