Molto Mayhem

Molto Mayhem
ISBN: 9781537184081, is an amusingly presented story set in Italy in e-book by Deanne Wilstead.

Lucia is a 10-year-old visiting family in Italy with her mother and father when they tragically are killed in an automobile accident. She is desolate and will speak to no one but only wants to return to her home in San Francisco. The best efforts of her uncle, Gianni who also is trying to console his wife Cristina who is equally devastated because of her love of her sister and even their young son Mario’s attempts to aid are futile. A decision ultimately is made by the Head of the Family. Nonno, the grandfather, when he decides to take the young Lucia home to America and leave the eminently successful construction business in the hands of his son Gianni. In America, he successfully opens a grocery supply where Lucia helps by stocking the shelves and other menial tasks. She has many ideas for business expansion but Nonno, she is convince, would not consider any such ideas,. Fifteen years pass and Lucia now has returned to Italy to visit the family where she supposedly is to learn to ‘cook Italian’. Many changes have taken place in the family during the ensuing period. Gianni was spectacularly inept at running the business; Cristina, exhibited an adeptness and now runs the construction company successfully; Gianni has become a Chef Par Excellence, and Mario has gained a significant other named Jaime. All of these changes the family believes must be kept from Nonno because of his strong belief that women do not properly belong in positions of authority and other traditional views. Additionally entering the plot is Aiden, a young Englishman whose Godmother Francisca had left him her Villa della Fontana. He and Lucia meet. The young man’s villa unfortunately is in a state of almost complete disrepair. Cristina takes on the restoration project which is hampered by the loss of an icon from the property and must be replaced in order for the work to be completed and the chaotic situation gradually progresses through a number of related and unrelated issues. Suddenly, Nonno returns and eventually a satisfactory conclusion is reached.

Discussion: The author has exhibited an apparent love for a very provincial Italy that most regrettably like Spain, France, Mexico and similar largely has disappeared. Hopefully, it still may exist in some rural and/or ‘out-of-the-way’ sections of the country and can provide the wistfully charming thoughts/reminiscences of a type of people and way of life once prevalent in these beautiful countries. She has been able to capture this unsophisticated social behavior quite appealingly and amusingly.

5* Appealing story of unsophisticated social behavior seldom encountered today.

 

Leftover Girl

Leftover Girl
ISBN: 9781946089007, Dirt Road Books, an e-book by C. C. Bolick

This ‘coming of age’ (with a twist) book follows a period in the life of Jessica Ray Delaney, a 15-year-old as she and her family return to her adoptive mother’s home town of Credence, Alabama after numerous and often abrupt unexplained moves. (Her adoption had followed her being found under strange conditions by her adoptive father at 4 years of age). Her life appears to be filled with the numerous challenges of a teen entering a new school with its already structured social groups, bullies and all. However, her problems are exacerbated by the fact that her parents although loving, seem to emphasize the adoptive fact and she also worries about her adoptive father’s health problems. She is close to her Aunt Charlie’s daughter Bailey and is attracted to her Aunt’s son and popular football player Pade which is the source of further bullying. This fact, associated with another relationship that she gradually develops with Chase, a new boy in town whose mother is Jes’s English teacher gradually gains increasing importance as the tale unfolds and the reader learns more about Chase, his mother, Jes’s earlier history and her family attachments. Of further importance are her dreams and return of memory of her early life. Unfortunately, much of this material had been known by her adoptive mother and father but had not been revealed to her because they had been told by counselors not to do so because her mind eventually would supply the facts. The ending is acceptable for the plot and provides an easy entré to the next volume in the series.

Discussion: This is a rather complex story with acceptable ‘other worldly’ overtones that should be most enjoyable for young adult readers and for the reader who is less pragmatically inclined. For these latter individuals, regrettably there are far too many unexplained actions and unresolved issues other than the ‘other worldly’ matter which is, to reiterate, acceptable and interesting.

3* 4* For Young Adult and/or readers less pragmatically inclined.