Saturday, April 23, 2011

A Heart Most Worthy--Siri Mitchell

Historical Fiction Available for Review
I received this notice from Bethany House Publishers and I eagerly sent off for a new 2011 release from an author I have not read before, Siri Mitchell's "A Heart Most Worthy." I would like to pass the word on to others who would like to review copies: to get your name in to choose a book to review. I chose "A Heart Most Worthy" as it is about Italian settlements in the U.S. in the early 1900s. I have always loved historical fiction incorporating the immigrants as I am from Irish, German and Norwegian descent.

In the beginning of the book there is a list of characters which I like to be able to sort out who's who. The story starts out with the three main characters beginning their day. Siri is very descriptive and you can get inside her story with all your senses; sights, sounds and smells! Nationalities coming to America were sometimes sent for by previous arriving relatives and it was common for each dialect to live in the same area of their customs, traditions, and speech. This is 1918 Boston, and Julietta, Annamaria, and Luciana live in the North End where the day workers and laborers live. They go to work each day in the wealthy section, so it is quite a contrast from where they spend their nights and evenings. Actually, these three girls are hand-selected for their individual crafts. They spend their days on the third floor of Madame Fortier's elite gown shop, where society's upper class choose from drawings for their fine apparel for seasonal social outings. Their lives interweave but they are unaware of it, as each story is told separately, paralleled by a third-person narrator drawing them together. This was a little disconcerting to me as a reader, for the narrator to pop up inside the story. The further in I got, I was glad I continued to read bypassing this thought interruption, being griped by the story itself. The gown sewers are on the second floor and the three floors do not mingle with each other. I kept waiting for Julietta, Annamaria, and Luciana to share aspects of their lives together but they do not. A heart most worthy is very fitting, as they each explore who they are in their New World and where they fit. I especially liked the outcome for Madame Fortier, as she is very gracious and caring for these young ladies in her employ. Enjoy their individual lives as their stories unveil. Surprising how lives intertwine without our knowing it! They all have strong characters and a zest for life. I will be searching for Siri Mitchell's previous works!