Date Published: 2/19/2013
The story begins in Italy, 1900. After years of torment and neglect, Victoria and her four small children immigrate to Hell's Kitchen, New York, to escape her alcoholic, abusive husband. On the day they leave, he tragically dies, but she does not learn of his death for several years—a secret that puts many lives on hold.
Quickly, they realize America's streets are not paved with gold, and the limits of human faith and stamina are tested time and time again. Poverty, illness, death, kidnapping, and the reign of organized crime are just some of the crosses they bear.
Victoria's eldest son, Vincenzo, is the sole surviving member of the family and shares a gut-wrenching account of their lives with his daughter during a visit to Ellis Island on his ninetieth birthday. He explains how the lives of he and his siblings have been secretly intertwined with an infamous Irish mob boss and ends his unsettling disclosure with a monumental request that leaves Clare speechless.
Forty Years in a Day is layered with the struggles and successes of each family member and defines the character of an era. Follow the Montanaro family through several decades, and stand in the shoes of a past generation.
Mona Rodriguez and Dianne Vigorito are cousins. Throughout their lives, they had heard many stories from family members that were fascinating, sometimes even unbelievable, and decided to piece together the puzzle of tales. Through research and interviews, their goal was to create a fictional story that follows a family through several decades, providing the reader an opportunity to stand in the shoes of a past generation and walk in search of their hopes and dreams. What they realize in the process is that human emotions have been the same throughout generations - the difference is how people are molded and maneuvered by the times and their situations. Mona and Dianne live with their husbands in New Jersey and they each have two grown sons. This is their first novel together.
There is a lot of history and a lot of raw emotion jammed into this short book! I couldn't stop reading and wanting to know more about this family! I've never been all that into historical fiction, but something about this story just pulled me in. The writing is so good, the characters jump off the page and feel so real. The time jumps and POV shifts were a bit jarring at times, but it reminded me of sitting at my Grandmother's feet and hearing her talk about her past and her family.
This is a wonderful, yet intensely emotional story.
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Why Book Covers are So Important
The cover story…
The cover is an essential part of a book. If thought doesn’t go into the cover, what prompts the reader to believe the rest of the product is any different. Especially for a debut author with no following, the book cover is similar to the first impression of an interview. Does this author have the guts to entertain me, to elicit emotion, to teach me something, to take me on a journey to a place I’ve never been before? Unfortunately, not every book with an alluring cover fulfills expectations, but a book that is accurately and interestingly represented by its cover is more likely to catch the eye. If the design seems uninspired, it might be a sign, and the reader will look no further.
I have had the cover image for Forty Years in a Day in my head from the onset of the project. The story begins on Ellis Island where Clare has taken her father as a gift for his ninetieth birthday. After an emotional morning of touring the immigration museum, they sit down to rest on a bench overlooking the Statue of Liberty. Seeing the depth of emotion in her father’s eyes, Clare decides to ask him for the truth about his family, wondering whether he was willing or able to fill in the pieces of their lives.
Something mysterious overcomes him, and the memories seem to flood Vincenzo’s mind. He begins his narrative with why his mother, Victoria, had escaped from Italy into the streets of Hell’s Kitchen, New York. He ends his unsettling disclosure by telling Clare about the soulless incident that had changed the course of his life and the lives of his siblings; a secret so atrocious that it took him ten years to come to terms with the magnitude and the consequences of the crime. In one afternoon, he shares this gut-wrenching account of their lives and imparts the wisdom of a lifetime.
I believe my publisher has captured my vision, and the cover truly represents the gateway to this incredible story.