Elizabeth Street: A Novel Based on True Events
"Basing her story on her own family narratives and a deep understanding of Italian Americans, [Fabiano] paints a vivid portrait not just of immigrants' lives in the first ten years of the last century, but of the vicious criminals who preyed on them." -Mike Dash, author of The First Family
In Elizabeth Street, Laurie Fabiano tells a remarkable, and previously unheard, story of the Italian immigrant experience at the start of the twentieth century. With stories culled from her own family history, Fabiano paints an entrancing portrait of Giovanna Costa, who, reeling from personal tragedies, tries to make a new life in a new world. Shot through with the smells and sights of Scilla, Italy, and New York's burgeoning Little Italy, this intoxicating story follows Giovanna as she finds companionship, celebrates the birth of a baby girl, takes pride in a growing business, and feels a sense of belonging during a family outing to Coney Island.
However, these modest successes are rewarded with the attention of the notorious Black Hand, a gang of brutal extortionists led by Lupo the Wolf. As the stakes grow higher, Giovanna desperately struggles to remain outside the fray, so she may fight for-and finally save-what is important above all else: family.
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Enjoyed this book very much. The story of Italian immigrants based on a true story of the author's family. On Kindle July 14th, 2010
Set in the early 1900’s, this absorbing story is actually a fictionalized account of the immigration experience of Laurie Fabiano’s great-grandmother. Fabiano writes with force and passion; she develops not simply characters in a book but members of a family and a community. I loved Giovanna - the main focus of the book; she is determined, brave and fiercely proud. The story follows her from her carefree childhood days in Italy to the lower East Side of NY where her strength is repeatedly tested. She and her family struggle to make a life in NY and are forced to live in fear and deal with extortion by the Black Hand, an early version of the Mafia. There are language barriers, problems securing work and discrimination issues. Italians are paid lower wages and work the jobs no one else wants. Laurie Fabiano does a great job of showing that the resilience to overcome these adversities and succeed comes from the indelible influence that neither distance nor time can weaken - strong family bonds. In summary, although too wordy and slow in spots, it’s a wonderful story of courage and triumph that will appeal to those who like Historical Fiction, family sagas, or just enjoy a good story. Review previously posted at: www.princetonbookreview.com