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4.4 out of 5 stars
74
4.4 out of 5 stars
Elizabeth Street
Format: Kindle Edition|Change
Price:£4.99


TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 4 May 2011
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The term "epic" is greatly overused . Often applied to any work , good or bad , of over 400 pages . This is however a true epic covering the author's family from 1890 Scilla , Italy to late twentieth century New York .
The contrast of a never changing , innocent fishing community cast adrift off southern Italy with the burgeoning , corrupt overcrowded NY streets is huge .The life of the poor half starved , abused immigrants leaves one full of admiration for those who survived and prospered .There was corruption everywhere . No one outwith the immediate family could be trusted .The "black hand " thugs [ forerunners of the mafia]ran the rackets and didn't care that it was there own people that they were violently exploiting .There were few honest cops and those that were , were soon dealt with by the mobsters or the thieving politicians . Back in Scilla there were also devastating events and the author moves between the two locations skillfully never loosing our interest with her family's fascinating history .
We have murder , protection rackets ,primitive labour practices mixed in with hard work ,poverty and honest decent family values .
It took 10 years of research to bring about publication and it shows . The reader never doubts the accuracy of the events related in the lives of this real , extraordinary family .
This is a page turner from first to last .
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on 17 February 2014
enjoyed this family history ..made a change a scillian family not being member of mafia but living with the consequences of it .also enjoyed the lesson of learning about the difference for northerns or southerners in italy .. yes i enjoyed this.. it was true made it even better
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on 14 June 2017
Great
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 31 March 2011
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Laurie Fabiano's cross-generational tale of familial challenges, social crises and cultural contrasts is an artful blend of fact and fiction that takes the reader all the way from a small and close-knit Southern Italian village in 1890 to the sprawling and crowded streets of Hoboken, New Jersey, in 1918. Written slowly over a ten-year period, Ms Fabiano was inspired to tell this story after listening to her grandmother and other senior members of her Italian-American family recall the extraordinary experiences they and their forebears had endured as they tried to settle in their new country. In researching the story carefully, and preserving many telling little real-life details, the author has produced a story that, while staying true to her own family's saga, also says something interesting and enlightening about the immigrant experience in general (as well as the evolution of organised crime) during this period in history.

Without wishing to give too much away in terms of how the narrative develops (the amazon synopsis above provides the salient information), I must say I found this a very absorbing and vivid story, full of engaging personal interactions as well as very dramatic and disturbing events, that drew me in very quickly and kept me interested right to the end. Although the odd phrase here and there struck me as somewhat lazy and imprecise cliches posing as meaningful insights (e.g. 'Even from this distance she could feel his warmth and see beyond his eyes'), the prose style is generally pleasingly unobtrusive, moving the action on with a deft economy that keeps the focus on the characters (especially the strong and well-drawn female ones) and their various concerns.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 14 April 2011
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This book is a fictional account of the lives of an Italian family and tells how they came to live in the USA, and then how their lives move forward.
I thought this was the most interesting part of the book.
Back in the southern region of the newly United Italy life was so hard and poverty so intense that even food was hard to come by. Those who could emigrated to the USA sometimes sending back money to bring the rest of the family, sometimes sending money back with plans to return home.
Two of the central characters of this book are based on the author's real grandmother and great grandmother. Around their lives the story is told with a lot of fascinating detail of what life was like at the turn of the 20th century.
Early tragic events are movingly told and give depth to the account.
This book states it is "a novel based on true events" but that is the problem. I felt I was simply reading a dry account of the facts, written without enough of a real narrative drive. I was not sure which bits were true facts and which were fiction and I stopped caring.

It is interesting enough to be recommended to anyone with relatives who did emigrate at that period of time, or even to anyone interested in recent history.
But as a novel I simply wasn't gripped enough, which is a shame.

Some reviews mention their surprise to find out how hard life was for the immigrants at that time in history. I may be older (not that old!), but there have been many films and novels showing the toughness and squalor of then. One book I recommend is A Tree Grows In Brooklyn" which is also an old black and white movie.
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VINE VOICEon 19 March 2011
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Elizabeth Street is a truly beautiful novel. Offering an evocative portrayal of the lives of Italian immigrants in New York at the turn of the century, it is by turns both joyous and heartbreaking. Based on true events in the lives of the author's grandmother and great grandmother, this is a family saga come crime thriller with few parallels. Taking in poverty, personal tragedy, natural disaster, and the ministrations of the Black Hand, this novel is as unflinching in its portrayal of tragedy as it is in its considerations of the small happinesses of life -- friendship, love, and family. I can honestly say that I've not read a novel I've enjoyed more in some considerable time.

The main character, Giovanna (the great grandmother in question), is superbly drawn and hugely inspiring, showing incredible strength and courage in adversity. The other characters are equally well crafted, and, as their story progresses, they become people you care about immensely. The plot is similarly gripping, moving along at an incredible pace, so this novel never feels like a history lesson -- testament, I believe, to Laurie Fabiano's beautiful prose style. She relates her family's story so flawlessly that it feels lived, rather than read.

This novel reproduces all the highs and lows of life, and had me laughing and crying almost alternately. If emotional involvement is the mark of a stunning novel -- then Elizabeth Street is in a class of its own. Giovanna's story is truly unforgettable -- one that will stay with you long after you finish reading.
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on 14 April 2011
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
A thoroughly enjoyable story based on a real-life family. Characters brought to life, Italian culture described colourfully. Excellent writing. Sad & funny,educational & enlightening. Had never read a book about this subject & was shocked to realise the hardships & prejudices faced by Italian immingrants to the U.S.in the 1900's. Useful diagram of family tree & dictionary to interpret Italian words. Couldn't put it down, which to me means an excellent book & one not to miss! Would make a wonderful film!
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 30 March 2011
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This book truely is unputdownable ( probably not a real word). I loved it fron the first page. It took Laurie Fabiano over 10 years to write and it was worth every one of those years.It is based on a true story about her family, who came from a little place in Italy called Scilla . The main character is Giovanna who life is compleatly crushed when her husband , who is her child hood sweetheart goes to America at the begining on the 20th century. A dreadful tragedy happens and Giovanna has to go to New york so that she can start healing. This her story and that of her family,her life was hard and difficult , and when things seemed to go her way she was knocked down again. Her daughter is kidnapped by the "Black hand" ( The forerunner to the Maffia ) but it is down to Giovanna that she gets her back. This book has history , romance , sorrow, and mystery and I loved every minute of it. Thank you Laurie for sharing your family story with the rest of us.
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VINE VOICEon 13 March 2011
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is an absolute gem of a book, published by Amazon Encore who find books that have been overlooked and promote them. I was lucky enough to receive a copy as part of the Amazon Vine programme, and I would encourage anybody, whether part of Vine or not, to read it.

It's the story of Giovanna Costa, who marries her childhood sweetheart in Scilla, Italy. He goes to America to try to earn money before coming back to her, but instead Giovanna finds herself following him to New York after tragedy strikes. Against the odds, she makes a life for herself in New York on the Elizabeth Street of the title, but her family becomes a target for the Black Hand protection mob who kidnap her four year old daughter.

Giovanna is a brilliant character. All the characters in the book are great, but I particularly loved Giovanna for her courage and strong will. I really like character-driven books and also slice of life stories, and this book is both of those things.

I loved following the twists and turns of Giovanna's life, and also things that happened, such as the earthquake that affected Scilla in 1908. The fact that this book is a novel based around true events (the author's great-grandmother and grandmother are Giovanna and her daughter Angelina) really appealed to me and made reading this book even more of a pleasure.

Laurie Fabiano really has produced a fantastic read with this book. It seems to be well thought of in America, but has a very small readership in the UK, and it would be great if more people were able to read and appreciate this wonderful book.
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on 14 January 2011
If you like historical fiction, you'll love this. The author has taken a true story from her family past and woven it into an extremely enjoyable tale with vivid characters and a plotline that will have you turning pages (or, as in my case, clicking 'Next' on your Kindle) into the wee hours.

I often read novels set in the 15th or 16th century, so this was a change for me, but I found it riveting. The author has done her homework and really brings alive the sights and sounds of Little Italy in New York City at the turn of the 20th century. And she takes you into the life of an italian immigrant at that time, too. Slumlords, corruption, mafia protection rackets and worse: it's all here.

An excellent read!
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