From turn-of-the-century Italy to America in the 1970s, we follow one woman’s story, with all of its layers and the changes wrought in the world around her, watching how she clings to the old traditions even as everyone else is desperately becoming American.
Josephine Rimaldi had been happily playing and dreaming, and the next day she was getting married. She was fifteen, but the marriage had been arranged many years before. Still, the reality was astounding.
And then, after the marriage, the couple spent a few days together, and then he went to America to set up their lives. It would be nine years before he would send for her, but she had happily picked up with her normal routine…until it was disrupted again.
In America, Josephine started having babies right away, and they came one after the other until she said “enough.” But then something happened…something unexpected, like a gift. She fell in love with the ice man.
What would come afterwards would change her life forever, reminding her of other losses, the most poignant being the loss of home and a self that no longer defined her.
Generations of children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren are chronicled, as An Italian Wife takes the reader into the times recognized by Americans as the era of sex, drugs, and rock and roll.
At the beginning is a chart that lists the Rimaldi children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, but the story moves between them quickly, and each time I had to check the chart to see who we were dealing with. The story was not linear, moving back and forth, and somewhat confusing. Like the times. A poignant story that engaged me, even as it often confused me. 3.5 stars.