Italian Fiction

italy1Call Me by Your Name / André Aciman.

The story of a sudden and powerful romance that blossoms between an adolescent boy and a summer guest at his parents’ cliffside mansion on the Italian Riviera. Each is unprepared for the consequences of their attraction, when, during the restless summer weeks, unrelenting currents of obsession, fascination, and desire intensify their passion and test the charged ground between them. Recklessly, the two verge toward the one thing both fear they may never truly find again: total intimacy.

 

Four Hundred and Forty Steps to the Sea / Sara Alexander

Nestled into the cliffs in southern Italy’s Amalfi coast, Positano is an artist’s vision, with rows of brightly hued houses perched above the sea and picturesque staircases meandering up and down the hillside. Santina, still a striking woman despite old age and the illness that saps her last strength, is spending her final days at her home, Villa San Vito. The magnificent eighteenth-century palazzo is very different from the tiny house in which she grew up. Moreover, as she decides its fate, she must confront the choices that led her here so long ago.

The House at the Edge of Night: a novel / Catherine Banner

Spanning nearly a century, through secrets and mysteries, trials and sacrifice, this beautiful and haunting novel follows the lives of the Esposito family and the other islanders who live and love on Castellamare: a cruel count and his bewitching wife, a priest who loves scandal, a prisoner of war turned poet, an outcast girl who becomes a pillar of strength, a wounded English soldier who emerges from the sea. The people of Castellamare are transformed by two world wars and a great recession, by the threat of fascism and their deep bonds of passion and friendship, and by bitter rivalries and the power of forgiveness.

In Calabria / Peter S. Beagle

Claudio Bianchi has lived alone for many years on a hillside in Southern Italy’s scenic Calabria. Set in his ways and suspicious of outsiders, Claudio has always resisted change, preferring farming and writing poetry. However, one chilly morning, as though from a dream, an impossible visitor appears at the farm. When Claudio comes to her aid, an act of kindness throws his world into chaos. Suddenly he must stave off inquisitive onlookers, invasive media, and even more sinister influences.

The Light in the Ruins: a novel / Chris Bohjalian

Hoping to safeguard themselves from the ravages of World War II within the walls of their ancient villa in Florence, the noble Rosatis family become prisoners in their home when eighteen-year-old Cristina’s courtship by a German lieutenant prompts the Nazis to take over the estate, a situation that leads to a serial murder investigation years later.

The Tuscan Child / Rhys Bowen

Thirty years after her British bomber pilot father parachuted from his stricken plane into German-occupied Tuscany, Joanna embarks on a healing journey to learn about her father’s hidden wartime past.

 

Inferno: a novel / Dan Brown

In Italy, Harvard professor Robert Langdon is drawn into a world centered on one of history’s most mysterious literary masterpieces–Dante’s “Inferno”–as he battles a chilling adversary and grapples with an ingenious riddle.

Death at Sea: Montalbano’s early cases / Andrea Camilleri

Set on the Sicilian coast, a collection of eight short stories featuring the young Inspector Montalbano. In 1980s Vigàta, a restless Inspector Montalbano brings his brash yet clear-sighted investigative style to eight enthralling cases. Death at Sea finds the detective seeking to bring justice to crimes — from those involving jilted lovers and deadly family affairs to an encounter featuring the assassination attempt against the Pope to murders in unexpected places — always with the mafia not far behind.

The Lost Girls of Rome / Donato Carrisi

A forensic analyst in Rome investigates the supposedly accidental death of her own husband and uncovers a series of disappearances that may have connections to an ancient, secret society.

Bella Fortuna / Rosanna Chiofalo

Valentina DeLuca has made hundreds of brides’ dreams come true. At Sposa Rosa, the Astoria, New York, boutique where she, her sisters, and their mother design and sew couture knock-off gowns, she can find the perfect style for even the most demanding customer. Now, it is her turn. Valentina has loved Michael Carello ever since he rescued her from a cranky shopkeeper when she was ten years old. He is handsome, chivalrous, and loyal. In addition, in a few weeks, she is going to marry him in Venice. But just when she thinks everything is falling into place, Valentina is forced to re-examine her life to see what truly makes her happy.

Numero Zero / Umberto Eco

A novel about the murky world of media politics, conspiracy, and murder. A newspaper committed to blackmail and mudslinging, rather than reporting the news. A paranoid editor, walking through the streets of Milan, reconstructing fifty years of history against the backdrop of a plot involving the cadaver of Mussolini’s double. The murder of Pope John Paul I, the CIA, red terrorists handled by secret services, twenty years of bloodshed, and events that seem outlandish until the BBC proves them true. A fragile love story between two born losers, a failed ghostwriter, and a vulnerable girl, who specializes in celebrity gossip, yet cries over the second movement of Beethoven’s Seventh. Then a dead body that suddenly appears in a back alley in Milan. Set in 1992 and foreshadowing the mysteries and follies of the following twenty years, Numero Zero is a scintillating take on our times.

Siracusa / Delia Ephron

Secrets and relationships unravel for two couples vacationing on coastal Sicily in a tale told from alternating points of view that gradually reveal an affair and a precocious 10-year-old’s role in the group’s psychological undoing.

Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions / Mario Giordano 

On her sixtieth birthday, Auntie Poldi retires to Sicily, intending to while away the rest of her days with good wine, a view of the sea, and few visitors. However, Sicily is not quite the tranquil island she thought it would be, and something always seems to get in the way of her relaxation. When her handsome young handyman goes missing–and is discovered murdered–she can’t help but ask questions. Soon there is an investigation, a smoldering police inspector, a romantic entanglement, one false lead after another, a rooftop showdown, and finally, of course, Poldi herself, slightly tousled but still perfectly poised.

The Lost Painting / Jonathan Harr

Recounts the search for a long-lost masterpiece by Italian Baroque master Michelangelo Caravaggio, following a young graduate student across hundreds of years and four countries to uncover the mystery of “The Taking of Christ.”

The Abomination / Jonathan Holt

THE VICTIM: On the steps of Santa Maria della Salute lies the body of a woman, wearing the robes of a Catholic priest. In the eyes of the Church, she is an abomination. THE INVESTIGATOR: Captain Kat Tapo has matched the victim’s tattoo to graffiti in an abandoned asylum. Now she’s been ordered to close the case. THE HACKER: Carnivia.com is a virtual Venice that holds the city’s secrets. Only its reclusive creator can help Kat unearth the shocking truth… THE ABOMINATION has arrived.

Lake Como / Anita Hughes

Hallie Elliot has a perfect life. She is an up-and-coming interior designer in one of San Francisco’s most sought after firms, and has just recently become engaged to Peter, a brilliant young journalist. But when she stumbles upon Peter and her boss in what seems to be a compromising position, her trust in her perfect life is shaken. So Hallie escapes to Lake Como, Italy to spend time with her half-sister. But just as Hallie is beginning to find her footing on Italian soil, she uncovers a family secret that upends all the truths she’s believed about herself, and calls into question the new life she has built in Lake Como.

The Painter of Souls / Philip Kazan
A fictionalized account of the life of the Renaissance painter who became a friar, taught Botticelli, and was a confidante to the Medicis.

Women in Sunlight: a novel / Frances Mayes

Four American women become unexpected friends during a magical year in Tuscany marked by a writer’s complicated relationship with the subject of her biography, long-postponed dreams, and shifting senses of adventure and bravery.

Whispers of Vivaldi: a Tito Amato mystery / Beverle Graves Myers

Venice, 1745. The once celebrated male soprano, Tito Amato, is now determined to prove himself as a director. With the theater losing subscribers to a rival company headed by an unscrupulous impresario, San Marco’s Maestro Torani charges Tito with locating the perfect opera to fill the seats in time for the opening of Carnival. Surprisingly, a second-rate composer provides the very thing–an opera so replete with gorgeous melodies the public speculates it was written by the late Antonio Vivaldi. Even more disconcerting are the rumors swirling around Angeletto, a male soprano imported from Naples to sing the lead. Is the singer truly a castrato or a female soprano engaging in a daring but lucrative masquerade? Both matters lead the perplexed Tito into dangerous waters that turn murderous when Maestro Torani undergoes a series of increasingly vicious attacks ending in his death. And Tito is the prime suspect. His own life as well as the future of Teatro San Marco now depend on his skills as a sleuth.

The Body in the Piazza: a Faith Fairchild mystery / Katherine Hall Page.

While celebrating their anniversary in Italy, amateur sleuth/caterer Faith Fairchild and her husband, the Reverend Tom Fairchild, find murder on the itinerary when a new acquaintance is killed in the Eternal City and someone tries to sabotage her former assistant’s new cooking school in Florence.

The Garden of Letters / Alyson Richman

In World War II Italy, cello prodigy Elodie Bertolotti joins the Italian Resistance to Mussolini’s fascist regime, and soon she must seek sanctuary with a young doctor who has painful secrets of his own.

My Italian Bulldozer / Alexander McCall Smith

A hilarious new novel about one man’s misadventures in travel and romance in the Italian countryside. When writer Paul Stewart heads to the idyllic Italian town of Montalcino to finish his already overdue cookbook, he expects it to be the perfect escape from stressful city life. But when he arrives, things quickly take a turn for the worse. His hired car is nowhere to be found, and with no record of a reservation at the car-rental counter and no other cars are available, it appears that Paul will be stuck at the airport–that is, until an enterprising stranger offers him an unexpected alternative: a bulldozer. With little choice in the matter, Paul accepts, and so begins a series of laugh-out-loud adventures as he trundles through the Tuscan countryside.

The Shoemaker’s Wife: a novel / Adriana Trigiani

Two star-crossed lovers–Enza and Ciro–meet and separate, until, finally, the power of their love changes both of their lives forever. Set during the years preceding and during World War I.

Beautiful Ruins: a novel / Jess Walter

Follows a young Italian innkeeper and his almost-love affair with a beautiful American starlet, which draws him into a glittering world filled with unforgettable characters.

The Scribe of Siena: a novel / Melodie Winawer

Accomplished neurosurgeon Beatrice Trovato knows that her deep empathy for her patients is starting to impede her work. So when her beloved brother passes away, she welcomes the unexpected trip to the Tuscan city of Siena to resolve his estate, even as she wrestles with grief. But as she delves deeper into her brother’s affairs, she discovers intrigue she never imagined–a 700-year-old conspiracy to decimate the city. After uncovering the journal and paintings of Gabriele Accorsi, the fourteenth-century artist at the heart of the plot, Beatrice finds a startling image of her own face and is suddenly transported to the year 1347. She awakens in a Siena unfamiliar to her, one that will soon be hit by the Plague. Yet when Beatrice meets Accorsi, something unexpected happens: she falls in love–not only with Gabriele, but also with the beauty and cadence of medieval life.

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