“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
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.
“Chiofalo brings the Italian immigrant community and neighborhoods richly to life.”
“Well-drawn characters . . . A charmer.”
Chiofalo's debut tells the story of Valentina DeLuca, a young woman in Queens who is set to marry her childhood crush, Michael Carello. She and her mother run a faux-couture bridal shop in Astoria, but while Valentina's life is all wedding gowns and lacy veils, she has yet to walk down the aisle. With her dream wedding in Venice just a few months away, her fianc suddenly breaks off the engagement. Devastated, Valentina resolves to go to Venice on her own and see the city of her dreams. There she meets Stefano, a handsome tour guide with whom she has a whirlwind romance, and whose affections force Valentina to reconsider all she knows of love, forgiveness, and family. Chiofalo, a first-generation Italian-American whose parents emigrated from Sicily in the 1960s, brings the Italian immigrant community and neighborhoods richly to life. However, her Venetian romance is contrived full of gondola rides, linen pants, and cold Prosecco and supporting characters are thin. While the tale is charming, it has little substance to distinguish it from similar stories.
I bought it when it was on sale and loved it. It has been awhile since I have read a book that kept me up way past my bedtime, but this one did. I will definitely read some more of her books.