This is part of the lead in that makes an author’s heart pound! In a good way. Thankfully! Library Journal reviewed Varina Palladino’s Jersey Italian Love Story.
Varina Palladino’s Jersey Italian Love Story.
Morrow. Feb. 2023. 416p. ISBN 9780063228436. $27.99. F
It’s been a few years since DeFino’s The Bar Harbor Retirement Home for Famous Writers (and Their Muses), but it was worth the wait for this story of a big, boisterous Italian family that offers a lesson in New Jersey–inflected Italian. The family includes a couple of sons, their wives, exes, and kids; Donatella’s best friend, a gay man abandoned by his Italian family and taken in by hers; and “Vicky,” the haunted record-playing Victrola. The family matriarch, Sylvia, is approaching her 93rd birthday and is worried about her widowed daughter, Varina. Together with her favorite grandchild, Donatella, the two cook up a scheme to attract single grandfathers looking for love as possible matches for Varina. Meanwhile, Varina books herself a secret cruise and finds a new best friend, her daughter gets a diagnosis that surprises no one, and a new baby is on the way. VERDICT There are a lot of laughs despite the mayhem and drama, and of course, many family dinners (with recipes!), but it is love that permeates and elevates this terrific Italian family saga. Adriana Trigiani fans will feel right at home here; a slightly more food-centric read-alike is Angelina’s Bachelors by Brian O’Reilly.