printed copy

Bella Fortuna

Rosanna Chiofalo

ISBN 9780758266538
Publish Date 8/28/2012
Format Trade Paperback
Categories Women's Fiction, Kensington, General

In this warm, enchanting debut novel, Rosanna Chiofalo evokes the extraordinary beauty of Venice, the charm of a close-knit New York neighborhood, and the joys of friendship, family, and surprising second chances…

Valentina DeLuca has made hundreds of brides’ dreams come true. At Sposa Rosa, the Astoria, New York, boutique where she, her sisters, and their mother design and sew couture knock-off gowns, she can find the perfect style for even the most demanding customer. Now, it’s her turn. Valentina has loved Michael Carello ever since he rescued her from a cranky shopkeeper when she was ten years old. He’s handsome, chivalrous, and loyal. And in a few weeks, she’s going to marry him—in Venice.

But just when she thinks everything is falling into place, Valentina is forced to re-examine her life to see what truly makes her happy. And as she soon learns, in a place as magical as Venice, what seems like misfortune can turn out to be anything but, although who knows what may be waiting around the next corner? The chance to enjoy a moonlit gondola ride, to sip Prosecco in St. Mark’s Square, to eat mouthwatering gelato, to put aside “sensible” for once and see where the warm Italian breezes guide her as she visits all the sights she’s dreamed of: The Doge’s Palace, Il Rialto, the little islands of Murano and Burano. And maybe, along the way, to discover that bella fortuna—good luck—isn’t what you’re given, but what you make.

Advance praise for Bella Fortuna

“Like a gondolier navigating the canals of Venice, Rosanna Chiofalo takes you on a magical ride filled with family and friends, love and loss, heartbreak and happiness. Bella Fortuna is a warm glimpse into Italian-American life.” --Holly Chamberlin, author of Last Summer

“Reading Rosanna Chiofalo’s depiction of a modern Italian-American family is like digging into a fresh bowl of pasta—warm, welcome, and satisfying. A deeply felt debut that affirms the importance of friends and family—Italian-style.” --Lisa Verge Higgins, author of The Proper Care and Maintenance of Friendship

“From the streets of New York to the canals of Venice, Rosanna Chiofalo creates a warm and lively story the reader won't want to see end. Valentina DeLuca is a heroine with intelligence, heart, and courage, the kind of person every woman wants for a dear friend. Time spent with her is a sheer joy.” --Mary Carter, author of The Pub Across The Pond

“Go to Venice. Ride a gondola. See St. Mark's square. Chase the pigeons. Then go back to your hotel room overlooking a canal, take out Bella Fortuna, and read. It will make your whole day perfetto.” --Cathy Lamb, author of A Different Kind of Normal

"Sometimes tough, sometimes tender, always heartfelt and honest, Bella Fortuna is a lively, finely-stitched tale of life and love, family and friendship, and a zest for cose Italiane!" --Peter Pezzelli, author of Home to Italy

"Wonderful! Chiofalo is clearly the heir to the Adriana Trigiani throne! Made me want to run to Venice...I loved this book and finished it in two sittings. A great summer read!"--GreatThoughts.com

“An inspiring read about second chances with love after tremendous heartbreak...the novel has a pleasant narrative, and the details of relationships and descriptions of Venice are thorough and well written.”–RT Book Reviews

"Brings the Italian immigrant community and neighborhoods richly to life…the tale is charming.”–Publishers Weekly

Chapter One

Unlucky 13

I’ve never considered myself very lucky. Maybe it has something to do with my being born on Friday the 13th and one day shy of Valentine’s Day. For a long time, I’ve been convinced that my birth date is the reason why I’ve been so cursed in love. And my being named after the patron saint of love, St. Valentine, when I’ve had nothing but agita in romance just makes it more painfully ironic. Agita is what Italians call grief of the worst kind. To top it off, my mother is very superstitious and believes in the dreaded malocchio, or evil eye, even though it’s 2010. Malocchio is when someone puts a curse on you. And many Italians are fervent believers in the mighty power of the malocchio. But none of that matters anymore since I’ve finally met “the one.”

Thinking about this and how my luck has changed, on this cold Sunday morning, I walk out of church. January in New York City is definitely not one of my favorite months. But as every New Yorker knows, the frigid temps don’t stop you. The streets are the quietest on Sunday mornings, my favorite time to be walking through Astoria, the Queens neighborhood where I grew up and still live.

The attendance at the eight a.m. Mass at Immaculate Conception is usually low—too early for most people to get up on the weekend. Even though it’s a drag to get myself out of bed, I still go through this weekly ritual. It’s meditative for me. It’s not often one can go somewhere in New York City without running into a crowd so you have to grab your quiet moments when you can. Sunday mornings are when I can hear myself think best. Even though it’s just slightly above the freezing mark, I take my time walking home.

The shops that do open on Sundays are slowly coming to life. Several joggers pass me on their way to Astoria Park. Dogs are trotting along, immune to the nip in the air.

Anyone who knows me will tell you that I love to people-watch, and New York City is a great place to do it. Probably nowhere else in the world will you encounter as many people from different ethnic, socioeconomic, and religious backgrounds—well, except for at an airport!

The aroma of fresh baked bread from the Italian bakeries reaches my nose. Through the windows, I spy a few old men already sitting at the bakeries’ tables, sipping their cappuccinos and reading La Corriere della Sera newspaper. As I step through the doors of Antoniella’s Bakery, I spot Paulie Parlatone’s S-shaped receding hairline behind his newspaper.

Paulie is known as “the Mayor of 35th Street” or “Il Sindaco” for his meddling in everyone’s affairs on my block. He has no idea he’d been christened with this nickname, just as he has no idea that he talks too much. The irony isn’t lost on everyone that his last name, “Parlatone,” means “big talker” in Italian. Paulie will stop you in the street and grill you to the point where you finally surrender and tell him your personal business just so you can end the conversation more quickly.

The worst is when he shows up at your house unannounced. He often comes to my home right after dinner, asks my mother for a toothpick, and makes himself just as comfortable as if he’s sitting in his own house. While he talks to us, he picks his teeth with the toothpick. And no matter how well you hide your dirty laundry, nothing gets past Paulie.

I quickly walk by Paulie’s table at Antoniella’s, praying not to be noticed.

“Valentina!”

I keep walking, pretending I can’t hear amid the din in the crowded bakery. Already there’s a line of customers, waiting to get their Sunday Danish, croissants, and biscotti. I try to hide behind the Shaquille O’Neal dead ringer who stands in front of me on line. But not even the man’s tall figure disguises me. A finger taps me on the shoulder.

“Valentina! Didn’t you hear me?”

“Ohhh, Paulie. I’m sorry. I’m a bit preoccupied, and with the noise in here, I guess I didn’t hear you.” I give him a faint smile.

“Always thinking! That’s been you since you were a little girl. Remember the time you almost hit me while you were riding your bike? You were staring right up at the clouds. I had to whistle to get your attention.”

Of course I remember that day. It’s true, I did like to daydream a lot as a kid. Sometimes, I wish I had hit him—nothing too serious— just enough to shut him up for even a second.

“Well, enjoy your day, Paulie.” I return my attention to the pastry display case, pretending I still haven’t made up my mind as to what I’m ordering.

Paulie doesn’t seem to notice or care.

“So where are you off to?”

“I’m going to the shop.”

“You’re open today? Sposa Rosa’s never been open on a Sunday. Are you losing money?”

I picture myself on my childhood bike, hitting him head on— again and again.

“No, business has actually never been better, especially after the feature Brides magazine did on us a few months ago. I have to finish my wedding dress, and with the store being as busy as it is, the only time I get to work on it is late at night or on Sundays.”

“Of course! Of course!” Paulie slaps his forehead. “How could I forget? Our little Valentina is finally getting married. You know I was beginning to get a little worried for you.”

Oh, how I wish I were on that bike right now—no, make that a car instead.

“Paulie!” I laugh through gritted teeth. “I’m not the only woman in New York to have waited to get engaged until she was in her thirties!”

“I know. I know. But I just couldn’t understand why no one had snagged you sooner. You’re such a pretty girl with a good head on your shoulders.”

Apparently, Paulie’s definition of shoulders is different from mine since his eyes rest on my breasts. I forgot to mention that Paulie is also a perv. He rarely misses a chance to ogle a woman’s boobs.

“I was just picky. There aren’t enough good men out there.”

“May I take your order, miss?”

The salesgirl saves me.

“It was nice talking to you, Paulie. ’Bye!”

I place my order for Palline di Limone biscotti and even throw in a few assorted mini Danish so I can talk to her longer, hoping Paulie will leave me alone.

“’Bye, Valentina.”

It works! Paulie walks away.

“Hey, Valentina!” He stops, returning to my side.

“Have I told you I can’t wait to spin you around the dance floor at your wedding? Oh, wait! You’re getting married in Venice. That’s too far. I won’t be there.”

Thank you, God, Mary, and all the blessed saints in heaven! I nod sadly, belying my true thoughts of elation. Then I look down into my purse as I search for my wallet. I know I’m being rude, but I don’t care. Paulie has been rude toward my family countless times. He finally leaves the bakery, picking up one of the complimentary toothpicks on the counter.

I breathe a sigh of relief. Choosing to get married in Venice was the best decision I ever made. I put Paulie as far away from my thoughts as possible, and focus on returning to the meditative, blissful state I was in before I ran into him.

After leaving the bakery, I pass Anthony’s Salumeria. My mouth waters as I spot Anthony slicing prosciutto—my favorite Italian cold cut. Unable to resist, I walk into the deli and order half a pound of the salty meat along with a block of sharp provolone.

“Good morning, Valentina!”

“Hi, Anthony! How are you?”

“Can’t complain. I’ll be out of here by noon. The Giants are playing so I’ve got that to look forward to.”

Anthony always gives me the first slice of meat to sample even though I know he carries nothing but the freshest products.

“Hmmm! Still the best!”

Anthony smiles. Sometimes, I think he goes through this ritual more for his own sake than mine. He just can’t resist hearing his cold cuts praised.

Although I am used to the sights and sounds of the neighborhood that has been my home since I was a child, they seem more vibrant today. The bread at Antoniella’s Bakery smells particularly heavenly. The froth threatening to spill over from the patrons’ cappuccinos looks thicker, and the prosciutto at Anthony’s is the sweetest ever. Even my three-carat emerald-cut diamond engagement ring sparkles brighter today.

Yes, it’s the start of a new year, and finally I feel like this is going to be my year. After designing and sewing wedding dresses for other lucky brides-to-be for so long, it will now be my turn to shine in the spotlight. In just five months, on June 14th to be precise, I’ll be marrying Michael Carello in my favorite city in the world— Venice.

I had secretly admired Michael since I was ten years old. Michael was thirteen, but even though he was three years older than me, he always said hi and tried to make me laugh. Popular at school and in our neighborhood, Michael and his family lived around the block from me, so I often saw him playing football or hockey with his friends on my street.

He has blond hair and blue eyes, defying the dark southern Italian stereotype. He takes after his mother. Iva Carello is beautiful even now that she’s in her late fifties and is often told she resembles the deceased Princess Grace of Monaco in her twilight years. His father, Joseph Carello, also poses a striking figure, with intense black eyes and a full head of hair at sixty. He always wears a suit, and on his days off from work, he still wears trousers with a button- down shirt, minus the tie and jacket.

Michael has definitely inherited his parents’ sense of style. Even as a kid when he wore jeans or got dirty playing sports, he always looked good. It’s hard not to notice Michael. But what really branded my devotion to him was when he had come to my defense at Li’s Grocery Store when I was a kid.

I passed Li’s Grocery Store every day on my way to school. My mother sometimes bought a few groceries there. It wasn’t a real supermarket in the sense that you could get your week’s worth of shopping. Mr. Li, a Taiwanese immigrant, owned the store and never had a smile for his patrons. Maybe that, along with its limited stock, was why hardly anyone frequented the store. But Li’s did have an aisle full of cool school supplies like pretty binders with flower or fairy patterns, spiral notebooks with sparkly glitter covers, Hello Kitty pencil cases, and my favorite—Strawberry Shortcake erasers that smelled like strawberries, of course.

Every afternoon when I walked home from school for lunch, I would stop by Mr. Li’s to eye the stationery I couldn’t afford. I always politely greeted Mr. Li, who acknowledged me even if it was just a stern “Hello.” So I was shocked when one day he yelled at me as I was leaving the store.

“You! Yes, I talk to you. What you have in pocket?”

I froze as if he had a gun cocked right at my head.

“I say what in pocket? Take hand out.”

I took my hands out of my powder-blue, faux-fur-trimmed coat, holding my palms up to show him they were empty as I whispered, “Nothing.”

“You come every day. No buy anyteeng. Why?”

“I was just looking.”

My heart was beating as fast as my cat Gigi’s after my mother had thrown her heavy clog at him for stealing food off our table when we weren’t looking.

“Hey! Leave her alone! She didn’t take anything!”

I hadn’t even seen Michael and his best friend, Sal, standing at the register. Utter humiliation washed over me as my face flushed, resembling the color of the half-rotten pomegranates that lay in the boxes at the front of the store.

“She here every day. Hide in back. Teenk I no see. I no idi-uht.

She never buy anyteeng. She steal.”

“I know her. She would never steal a penny. It’s a free country. She can come in here and look without buying anything. Just because she doesn’t buy your crummy stuff doesn’t mean she’s stealing.”

Mr. Li frowned and glanced at me again. I lowered my eyes to the floor.

“It’s okay, Valentina. Come on, let’s get out of here.”

Michael placed his arm around my shoulders, leading me out. I could feel Mr. Li’s gaze burning a hole through the back of my head as if he was trying to read my mind, still questioning if I’d somehow stolen something and had cleverly hidden it.

Once outside, Michael turned to Sal. “Give us a minute. I’ll catch up with you in a second.” Sal nodded his head and walked toward school.

Michael removed his arm from my shoulder and bent his head lower so his eyes met mine. I stared at the ground, wishing I could shrink to the size of the ants that were crawling around the broken pieces of bread that someone had thrown to the pigeons.

“Are you okay?”

I nodded my head. “Thanks,” I managed to mutter in a tiny voice.

Michael patted my arm. “Don’t feel bad. You hear me? You didn’t do anything wrong. You’re a good girl, Valentina. Mr. Li’s a stingy jerk. He once wouldn’t let an old lady who was short a quarter walk out of there with a loaf of bread. I gave him the quarter. What a creep.”

I just nodded my head again and continued to look down at the cracks in the sidewalk.

“Well, I gotta get back to school. My lunch break is almost over. But if you want, I’ll walk you home.”

I shook my head. “No. That’s okay. Thank you.”

“Don’t sweat it!”

I turned and began walking home.

“Hey, Valentina!”

I stopped and looked over my shoulder, still not meeting Michael’s worried gaze.

“If anyone ever treats you like that again, just tell me. I’ll take care of them for you.”

I finally managed to smile at him. He winked at me and then turned around, running to catch up with Sal.

That wink was all it took to make me fall completely in love with Michael. After that day, every time I saw Michael he always winked at me after he said hello. It was as if he knew its power. For with that one wink, I felt myself soar high above the sky, dancing in midair with the birds. Now my childhood fantasies of wedding my prince someday were replaced with dreams of marrying Michael.

And that was how my crush on Michael began. But I had to watch helplessly over the years as he dated one girl after another. When I turned fourteen and puberty finally decided to pay me a visit, filling in my flat chest and narrow hips, Michael still seemed to look at me as if I were that ten-year-old kid whom he’d rescued. I’d noticed his friends staring at me a few times when they thought I wasn’t looking, but not Michael. Unlike his friends, his gaze always met mine rather than my boobs, which were already a C-cup at that point. But something had changed in how he treated me. He no longer winked at me after he said hello. In fact, he didn’t even try to make me laugh, as he’d loved to do when I was younger. I didn’t get it.

So I started dating, having one miserable relationship after another or not having a boyfriend when important occasions arose like a friend’s Sweet Sixteen party or my sophomore-year dance. My best friend, Aldo, had gone with me to the dance. I could always count on Aldo when I needed a date. So I’d put on my best poker face and pretended I was having a blast with him when all I could think about was, Why can’t I have a boyfriend for longer than two months? Why can’t I have a boyfriend here with me instead of my best friend?

Of course, Michael still wound his way into my thoughts, but not as much since he’d left for Cornell University. I only saw him when he came home for breaks. I was beginning to accept the fact that he’d never have any interest in me as anything more than a childhood friend. I was the little sister he never had, nothing more. Yet from time to time, my mind still wandered to him, wondering what he was doing.

“Swaying room as the music starts . . . strangers making the most of the dark.”

Madonna’s “Crazy for You” was playing. I loved this song. I felt a hand on my shoulder and turned around.

“Wanna dance?”

Michael!

“Hey! What are you doing here?”

“I heard the music from outside. I couldn’t resist coming in and catching up with some old friends and teachers.”

“They let you in?”

“Of course! Why not?” He winked at me.

Oh my God! He hadn’t winked at me in years. It still had the same bone-melting effect on me.

“Come on. Let’s dance.” Michael took my hand, leading me to the dance floor. My heart was racing so fast, I was convinced he could see it. He pulled me close to him as we slowly danced to the music. He rested his chin on my shoulder. I swallowed hard. I should probably make some conversation. But all I wanted to do was close my eyes and listen to the words of Madonna’s “Crazy for You.”

“Isn’t this such a great song?” Michael pulled his head back and looked into my eyes, smiling.

“You like this song, too?” I asked incredulously.

“Yeah, it’s one of my all-time eighties favorites, right up there with The Cure’s ‘Just Like Heaven.’ ”

“Oh my God! I love that song!”

“No way!”

“Yeah, way!”

We laughed together. He put his chin back on my shoulder.

Again, my insecurities were telling me I should make more of an attempt at conversation. Why couldn’t I just relax and enjoy this moment? It would probably never happen again.

“So how’s Cornell?” I managed to get out.

“Stuffy and dull!”

“Oh, come on! I can’t believe it’s all that dull! I can only imagine all the fun you must be having at those parties and all those interesting classes. I can’t wait to go away to college.”

“Really?”

“What’s so surprising about that? You think I want to stay in Astoria and commute to school? Get real!”

“I don’t know. I just thought you’d be like the other Italian girls in the neighborhood and stick close to home. Besides, will your parents let you go away for college?”

“Probably not, but I don’t care. I’m going to do it anyway!”

Michael laughed. “You’ve got spunk! I like that. You are different from a lot of the girls around the neighborhood. Promise me you’ll stay that way.” Michael pulled his face away and stared into my eyes again, waiting for my promise.

I shrugged my shoulders.

“Promise me!”

His face came closer to mine. My heart started pounding again.

“Okay.” I blushed and looked away. He was staring at me in the most peculiar way.

“Good!” He winked at me again and pulled me close to him. I could smell his cologne. Drakkar Noir. Every guy wore Drakkar Noir back then. It just occurred to me that Michael wasn’t dressed for a dance. After all, he wasn’t planning on coming. I didn’t care. He was the sexiest guy here tonight. His dark-wash denim jeans and black V-neck sweater made him look like one of those male models I’d seen on the covers of Maxim magazine or GQ.

“So you like The Cure, huh?”

“Yeah, they’re one of my favorite eighties bands.”

“I might be able to score some tickets to one of their concerts at the Meadowlands this summer. Would you be interested?”

I looked up into Michael’s eyes.

“You know. For you and a friend.”

“Oh. Sure. That would be nice.” Just as soon as my hopes had soared, they immediately took a nosedive.

The song was over. We looked at each other a bit uncertainly.

“Thanks for the dance,” I said.

“Hey! No sweat. I’ll let you know about the tickets when I’m back in town for the summer. They’re supposed to go on sale next Monday, but there’s someone at school who scalps them. He said he’d hook me up.”

“Okay. Sounds good. Thanks.”

“I’ll catch you later. I want to say hi to Mr. C.”

“Sure. Go ahead.” Boy, I sounded lame! Like he needed my permission to leave.

Michael smiled and looked at me as if he wanted to say something else. Then he walked away.

I made my way to the refreshments table and asked for a Coke. My mouth felt so dry, and my hands still felt shaky. Part of me was elated that Michael had asked me to dance, but another part was disappointed, too. For a second, I thought he was going to ask me to go to The Cure concert with him.

“Hey, Vee! You guys looked amazing! Give me all the juicy details!”

“There are no details to give, Aldo.”

I crossed my arms and searched the room for Michael. Mr. C., the American History teacher at St. John’s Prep, was talking to Ms. Vicelli, my English Literature teacher. It looked like Mr. C. was flirting with her, touching her shoulder regularly as he talked animatedly with his hands. He must be bragging about something. Mr.

C. often told the most outlandish stories from his days when he was young, as he liked to put it. I couldn’t help feeling he had chosen the wrong career path. He loved attention and should’ve gone into politics or acting. Ms. Vicelli was pretty with light golden brown hair and highlights that framed just her front bangs. It seemed like every male teacher at St. John’s Prep was in love with her. She was one of the nicest teachers at school. Michael approached them and shook Mr. C.’s hand. Ms. Vicelli gave him a hug. Suddenly, I felt jealous. I knew it was crazy to be jealous of Ms. Vicelli. She was, what? A dozen years older than Michael? But still. I wanted it to be me hugging him, not her.

Aldo broke in on my thoughts.


DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

1. Do you feel that Valentina has truly been “cursed in love” as she proclaims in the opening chapter of Bella Fortuna? Do you feel that she’s been unlucky in general in life?

2. How is Valentina different from her mother in her beliefs of the mighty malocchio or evil eye? How are they alike in their beliefs of good versus bad luck?

3. How does Michael fit the knight-in-shining-armor stereotype where Valentina is concerned? Do you think that is a large reason why Valentina falls in love with him?

4. Do you agree with Aldo’s assessment that Valentina has put Michael on such a high pedestal and that no one can live up to such high expectations? Does that make it easier to forgive Michael’s transgressions later? Do you feel that Valentina’s expectations of Michael are unrealistic?

5. Discuss the concept of “forgive and forget” and the pros and cons of either forgiving and forgetting or not forgiving and holding on to a grudge. Do you feel that Valentina is justified in her refusal to forgive Tracy when she sees her at her shop? Do you feel that Valentina was harsh? How might Valentina have handled the situation with Tracy in her shop differently?

6. Valentina is close to her family. But we also see she has a special relationship with her neighbors and the people in her neighborhood. Which is your favorite neighbor and why? Which is your least favorite neighbor and why? Do you feel that the neighbors are an extended family for Valentina?

7. What are Valentina’s views on friendship with women? Do you feel that her views were shaped by Tracy’s betrayal when they were in high school?

8. Valentina and Aldo share a very close friendship and bond. How are they alike and/or different?

9. For most women, weddings are a milestone, and they want their big day to be perfect. Do you feel that Valentina has placed too much importance on having the perfect wedding with Michael? Do you think Valentina is guilty of falling more in love with the notion of getting married than falling in love with Michael?

10. What does Valentina’s wedding dress symbolize for her? What does the dress symbolize for her mother? Do you agree with Michael after he has walked in on her gown fitting that she should drop the shorter front hem of her dress? What do you think are his real motives in wanting a more traditional dress for Valentina?

11. Do you believe that Sonia, the teenage fortune-teller Olivia goes to see, truly has “the power”?

12. Do you think it was wise for Valentina to go to Venice after her engagement to Michael is broken? How does the trip hinder her initially from moving on with her life? How does it help her come to terms with what she’s lost?

13. How is Stefano different from Michael? Why do you think Valentina falls for him?

14. After Valentina returns to New York and visits Tracy’s mother, she learns that Tracy seems to have changed her ways. Did you feel compassion for Tracy? Was it easier to understand her actions toward Valentina when they were in high school?

15. What did you think of Valentina’s enormous gesture of giving Tracy’s mother her wedding dress? Do you feel that her action has truly brought her peace?

16. Valentina regrets not having forgiven Tracy. Do you think she should have been more understanding toward Michael when he reveals the secret he’d been keeping from her? Why do you think she is not ready to forgive him? Do you think she ever will? Do you think they can ever be friends?

17. How are Valentina’s wedding plans to Stefano different from her plans for her first wedding? Do you feel that she’s grown?

18. What did you think of her choice in wedding gown for her wedding to Stefano? Did you like it more than the dress she was supposed to wear to her wedding with Michael? Which gown do you feel represented accurately who she was?

19. How do Valentina’s relationships with Michael and Stefano mirror her mother’s relationships with her first love, Salvatore, and her husband, Nicola? How much did fate play a role in whom they fell in love with?

20. Olivia shares with Salvatore what Connie has told her about the Cherokee Indians’ belief that each stage of our lives—childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and old age—is a different life, almost like a reincarnation. Do you agree with this Cherokee belief? How has Olivia reinvented herself in every stage of her life? How has Valentina?

21. How have Olivia’s views on bad luck changed toward the end of the novel? How have Valentina’s changed?

About Rosanna Chiofalo:

Rosanna Chiofalo is the author of Bella Fortuna, Carissima, Stella Mia, Rosalia’s Bittersweet Pastry Shop, and The Sunflower Girl. An avid traveler, she enjoys setting her novels in the countries she's visited. Her novels also draw on her rich cultural background as an Italian American. When she isn’t traveling or daydreaming about her characters, Rosanna keeps busy testing out new recipes in her kitchen and tending to her ever-growing collection of houseplants. She lives in New York City with her husband. Readers can visit her website at: rosannachiofalo.com.

Average Customer Review

Based on 3 reviews


Customer Review

Believe your true love will always find you! (Sunday, September 23, 2012)
Reviewer: Kathy Jund

Debut author, Rosanna Chiofalo delivers a heart-warming love story that makes you want to believe in the timeless laws of happy-endings and true love although the journey itself contains the required dose of heartbreak that makes the end result worth it. A visit to Italy is a chance of a lifetime, even with the unforeseen deviation as to its initial purpose. Valentina DeLuca was born on Friday the 13th just one day short of Valentine’s Day, she believes her birth date contributes to the “unluckiness” she has had with love. However, the fact that her parents named her after the patron saint of love appears to have evened the odds in bringing her the love of her life, Michael Carello. Valentina has been in love with Michael Carello since she was a young girl when he came to her rescue. Now no longer a girl, the fates have finally intervened as in six months time Michael and Valentina are to be married in Venice. Valentina, as the oldest daughter of three, whose Italian heritage included the traditional suspicions her mother carried across the ocean from the old country, is taking no chances as she guards closely the secret of her solely designed wedding dress. Olivia DeLuca has been the owner of the New York bridal boutique Sposa Rosa, (because it rhymes!), which translates from Italian into the Pink Bride, to the chagrin of Valentina and her sisters for the last ten years. Here Valentina works designing and sewing the most gorgeous wedding dresses whose individual designs cannot help but cameo their owners on their most special day. The time has now come for Valentina to be the cameo! However, will the circumstances of her birth date yet again play havoc with the happiness and love Valentina so deserves? In this personal journey and with the support of her loving family, Valentina finds the true meaning of love. Along the way, a secret love thought long lost also surfaces, which only serves to remind us that true love will find you no matter the odds. I look forward to reading the next of Rosanna Chiofalo’s novels set to publish next year!

Bella Fortuna (Tuesday, July 31, 2012)
Reviewer: jbarr

Bella Fortuna by Rosanna Chiofalo
Through the years Valentina DeLuca, Italian and Christian has endured the neighbors and others and loves Michael but he's into others. Years later when she's grown and is a wedding dress designer who is getting married to Michael we find out about her and his past histories having been raised in the same neighborhood.
Her sisters and mother are also in the sewing business-different aspects of it. They are finally to be married in Italy and she's just finished her wedding dress. Tracy, who she thought would be her lifelong friend turns on her when they were teens and she gets back at her later in life for the betrayal.
The book also travels back to when their parents had first come to America and the fears and dreams as they lived their lifes on the streets of Greenwich Village and Astoria Park. Lots of secrets over the years.
Love the talk of the design field and jaunts to Central Park, some cooking secrets, Italian phrased explained in English and the travel to Italy=whoa! and the recipes at the end of the book.
Betrayal, cancer, travel, death, and love make this a really great book to read.

Bella Fortuna (Monday, July 23, 2012)
Reviewer: jbarr

Bella Fortuna by Rosanna Chiofalo
Through the years Valentina DeLuca, Italian and Christian has endured the neighbors and others and loves Michael but he's into others. Years later when she's grown and is a wedding dress designer who is getting married to Michael we find out about her and his past histories having been raised in the same neighborhood. <P>
Her sisters and mother are also in the sewing business-different aspects of it. They are finally to be married in Italy and she's just finished her wedding dress. Tracy, who she thought would be her lifelong friend turns on her when they were teens and she gets back at her later in life for the betrayal. <P>
The book also travels back to when their parents had first come to America and the fears and dreams as they lived their lifes on the streets of Greenwich Village and Astoria Park. Lots of secrets over the years. <P>
Love the talk of the design field and jaunts to Central Park, some cooking secrets, Italian phrased explained in English and the travel to Italy=whoa! and the recipes at the end of the book. <P>
Betrayal, cancer, travel, death, and love make this a really great book to read.


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