A Heart Most Worthy by Siri Mitchell is a historical romance with both depth and heart. Three very different Italian young woman work for famed dressmaker Madame Fortier in Boston at the end of World War I. Juliana Giordano revels in her beauty and wants romance in her life, and Angelo Moretti's smoldering brown eyes are filled with both romance and a hint of danger, making him much more attractive than Mauro Vitali, a doctor she's known most of her life. Annamaria Rossi is beginning to strain against the limited existence in which her position as eldest daughter has placed her. Expected to serve the entire family and never marry, she is open to the invitation she sees in the eyes of Rafaello Zanfini, the Sicilian vegetable stand owner's son, but he is forbidden, first because she must never leave the family, and second because he is Sicilian. Luciana Conti fled her estate and wealth in Rome after the assassination of her father, the Count of Rome, bringing only her grandmother, the contessa, whose mind has drifted away since the tragic night that left them homeless, poor, and hunted by the anarchist who has promised to kill them both. Luciana thought to find safety in America, but she has seen the man here again, on her very street, making every day filled with fear. Mitchell has turned from writing humorous chick lit to intelligent historical romances, but she brings the same light dexterous touch to these novels, filling them with fascinating heroines, strong heroes, and interesting conflicts. She truly brings to life each of these women and makes the reader empathize with each, even Juliana's flirtation with danger. Mitchell reminds readers of the terrible prejudice against Italians at the beginning of the twentieth century, as well as the danger of the anarchists who were creating terror through bombs and assassinations around the world. Somehow Mitchell manages to throw together the prejudice, anarchy, romance, faith, gown-making, and the Spanish Influenza together to make a compelling story readers will be hard-pressed to put down.
Siri Mitchell tells a good story. I've found myself immersed in her novels, picturing and smelling just what she is describing. I've also found myself connecting with her characters. I'm not sure that Siri has a fiction-writing weakness. In another historical, which have all been intriguing, Siri takes us to Boston during a time of unrest and upheaval. Italian immigrants have come to America, Spanish influenza is on the horizon, and … more
Julietta enjoys flirting with boys and wishes she were American rather than an immigrant from southern Italy. Annamaria, from another town in the same area, is serious and devout, resigned to being the family drudge. Luciana, f�ted only child of the Count of Roma until his recent assassination, now goes in fear for her life, especially after glimpsing the anarchist near the shabby Boston tenement she and her grandmother now occupy. The three young women meet and share confidences over their work at Madame Fortier�s, the exclusive gownmaker whose most important client is the formidable Mrs. Quinn. Each girl battles prejudice in her own way, helping her family adapt and merge into the great American melting pot of cultures. Mitchell�s inspirational historical romance, set in 1918, skillfully contrasts the girls� traditional Italian-Catholic upbringing and the bustling, exuberant American lifestyle they crave, using the Great War and Spanish influenza pandemic as an effective backdrop to the young women�s first important steps in self-awareness on the way to adulthood. --Lynne Welch