printed copy

Carissima

Rosanna Chiofalo

ISBN 9780758275042
Publish Date 8/27/2013
Format Trade Paperback
Categories Kensington, Women's Fiction, General

From Rosanna Chiofalo comes a sumptuous novel that sweeps readers from the Italian-American enclave of Astoria, New York, to the stunning vistas of Rome, and introduces two very different women—in a story of friendship, love, and destiny…

In college, Pia Santore dreamed of going to New York and taking the Big Apple by storm with her younger sister Erica. Instead, Pia has arrived in Astoria, Queens, with a prestigious journalism internship at a celebrity magazine…and without Erica. Though the neighborhood has an abundance of appeal—including the delectable confections sold at her Aunt Antoniella’s bakery—the pain of losing Erica a few years ago still feels fresh.

Pia’s arrival coincides with an unexpected sighting. Italian movie icon Francesca Donata is rumored to be staying nearby, every bit as voluptuous and divaesque as in her heyday. With the help of a handsome local artist with ties to Francesca’s family, Pia convinces the legend to grant her a series of interviews—even traveling to her house in Rome. In the eternal city, Pia begins to unearth the truth behind the star’s fabled romances and tangled past. And here too, where beauty and history mingle in every breathtaking view, and hope shimmers in the Trevi fountain and on the Spanish Steps, Pia gradually learns how to love and when to let go. For when in Rome, you may find your carissima—your dearest one—and you may even find yourself…

Rosanna Chiofalo is a first-generation Italian American whose parents emigrated from Sicily to New York in the early 1960s. She is the author of Bella Fortuna and is currently hard at work writing her next novel. She and her husband live in New York City.

Advance Praise For Carissima


"What a glorious novel this is. It's a celebration of life, love and unlikely friendship through the eyes of two very different women. Yet their similarities bind them together and will endear them to readers long after the last page is turned. Bravissima for Carissima!" --Susan Wiggs, # 1 New York Times bestselling author

Fantastico! I couldn’t put it down!” --Lisa Jackson, # 1 New York Times bestselling author

Praise for Bella Fortuna


“Chiofalo brings the Italian immigrant community and neighborhoods richly to life.” —Publishers Weekly

“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

“Well-drawn characters…A charmer.” —BookPage

“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

“Chiofalo’s debut is an inspiring read about second chances with love after tremendous heartbreak… Readers with Italian-American backgrounds will definitely eat this one up!” —RT Book Reviews

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

1. Why do you think Francesca is obsessed with being adored by her public? Why do you think the neighbors in Astoria are so fascinated by Francesca, besides the obvious reason of her being a star?

2. Do you think Signora Tesca was justified in holding a grudge against Francesca for all those years? How much do you think jealousy played a part in her refusal to talk to Francesca for so long?

3. How was Pia’s relationship with her late sister Erica different than Francesca’s relationship with her sister? How have both of these women been influenced by their sisters?

4. Compare and contrast Pia and Francesca. How are their dreams and goals similar? How are they different?

5. We first meet Signora Tesca in Bella Fortuna. What were your first impressions of her in Bella Fortuna? Did your impressions change when you encountered her again in Carissima? If so, how? The same question for Antoniella. How have your initial impressions about her changed from the first book to this one?

6. Francesca is infatuated with jewelry almost as much as she is with being loved by her fans. Why do you think she loves jewelry so much? Of the gifts that Rocco gives her, which was your favorite?

7. Do you feel that Gregory’s sudden discovery as an artist goes to his head? Why do you think many people become more self-absorbed when they find fame and/or success in their lives?

8. Do you feel sorry for Francesca in the beginning of the novel when you learn that her five engagements never resulted in marriage? How has her decision to remain single shaped the person she’s become? Do you feel sorry for her toward the end of the novel? Do you think she’s grown?

9. Francesca chooses to wear il lutto, the dress for mourning, after her sister dies. This custom has been losing popularity in Italy over the years. What do you think of it? Were you surprised that a glamorous star like Francesca chose to honor this decades-old Italian custom?

10. How has Pia’s trip to Rome changed her? Do you think she would have had the same insights if she had not gone to Rome?

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 1 review


Customer Review

Untold Secrets (Monday, November 11, 2013)
Reviewer: Kathy Jund

Pia Santore has always wanted to be a journalist and eventually publish her own magazine; however, unforeseen tragedy has kept her from fulfilling her dream. Finally, determined to gain the experience she needs Pia has chosen to leave her California home and all she holds familiar to travel to the big city of New York and take on a summer internship at the famously known Profile magazine. Feeling dissatisfied with the work assigned to her thus far and the cold shoulder attitude she has received by co-workers, leads Pia to wonder if she has made the right decision and should return home. While contemplating these thoughts, Pia notices a commotion one evening upon her return from work upon walking to the home of her aunt where she happens to be spending the summer. A crowd of neighbors clustered in front of the gates of the famous Mussolini Mansion, the one oddity in the predominately-Italian suburb of Astoria. An excited stir has arisen at the possibility of the secret arrival of the elusive Italian film super-star and sex goddess Francesca Donata also known lovingly to her star-struck fans as “Carissima”. The famed movies star, now in her fifties who had mysteriously dropped from the limelight she so highly craved over fifteen years ago could not possibly be in this small town. Perhaps fate is at last intervening and will provide Pia with the chance of a lifetime interview which would certainly set her career skyrocketing! Although Pia manages a chance encounter with the still dazzling silver screen star, which does not go well, first impressions leave both headstrong and opinionated women slim chances to meet again as Francesca, refuses to grant Pia an interview. Pia finds she may still stand a chance for her career-defining interview if she can convince the handsome Gregory Hewson a struggling artist who Pia discovers also happens to carry a secret family tie to Francesca. Feeling guilty, Pia in her hunger for journalistic success will even allow herself to beg Gregory to come to her aid and use his familiarity to plead her case in obtaining the elusive interview. Manipulative to the end Francesca also has her own agenda and finds fate may also be intervening in her cause as she finds one struggling journalist thrown in her path. Carissima is a story of secrets and loss and unresolved dreams of love. Rosanna Chiofalo returns with her second well-written and heartwarming tale that also provides the reader with a return visit to the Astoria neighborhood of her preview publication Bella Fortuna and the colorful characters who reside there.


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