The Italian Wife – by Ann Hood – independent book review – Historical Fiction (Italy)

Rather than a novel, AN ITALIAN WIFE is more a collection of short stories about members of an extended Italian family over three generations. I found the stories uneven: a few of them rich and poignant, others uninteresting and superficial. And for me, this was a missed opportunity. Awarded three stars on Goodreads.italianwifeThe matriarch of the family, Josephine, opens the book with stories that focus on her siblings, her marriage at fifteen to a much older man, and the births of her seven children, one of whom she gives up for adoption.

Taking place in the years around World War I, with all its inherent drama, these stories could have been more emotional. Instead the descriptions sped along, with little opportunity for me to connect with the characters or feel their angst.I suppose it’s possible the author was using a technique, making the more contemporary stories richer and the older stories more superficial — since memories fade. But I don’t think so.

Ann Hood

Since the author’s own family is Italian American, I think it’s more likely she just wasn’t able to capture the depth of the stories she learned second or third hand. Or, maybe she made them all up. Regardless, there are perhaps three gems in this book. But that wasn’t enough to make me love it.

More about the author, Ann Hood.