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The Queen of the Big Time Audio CD – Abridged, Audiobook
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Nella Castelluca is the middle daughter of five girls, whose enquiring mind and direct approach fuel her ambitious determination to succeed. The story revolves around her life and loves as she grows to womanhood in an Italian community in rural Pennsylvania, and then beyond that through the next two generations.
The author takes us deep into the mind and heart of this lovable character, exposing her weaknesses and mistakes, whilst at the same time recognising and honouring her strengths. It is in her relationships with those she loves that we see the real Nella, who learns a lot about love and faith as she goes through her life, grieving her losses and celebrating her triumphs.
The descriptions of the times and lifestyle are meticulous, and it is easy to get lost in the mental pictures and become a fly on the wall. I don't want to go into the story any deeper as it is so easy to write a spoiler when reviewing, but this is an emotional read with lots of smiles thrown in for good measure. This is the first book I have read from this very talented author. She has a distinctive voice that is far from run of the mill, and I look forward to reading more in the future.
The book is about her growing up and her adult life. It's primarily a character-based book, based in part on reminiscences from the author’s father and grandmother. I enjoyed Nella’s take on life, the reasons for the decisions she makes, and her growing awareness of who she really is, something that doesn’t hit her fully until she’s in her fifties.
I know almost nothing about the Italian American communities, but there’s an authentic touch that made them come alive in my mind. The author is skilled in painting pictures of people’s lives and occupations without any hint of being overtly educational.
There are some unexpected and tragic incidents in the novel, but they’re sensitively dealt with. Given the era and the circumstances, they’re probably realistic. The ending is gentle and open, and there’s then a bittersweet epilogue which rounds it off in a way that helped bring it to completion.
Recommended to anyone who likes historical fiction, with no real plot other than the unfolding and developing of somebody’s life.
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this one didn`t disappoint.....................I didn`t want it to end