Elizabeth Street: A Novel Based on True Events


Giovanna Costa is an amazing character whose life from 1890 through the 1900s is one of struggling, but finding peace in her faith and tradition. Raised in the idyllic village of Scilla in southern Italy, she marries the love of her life, Nunzio. With the First World War come hard times for those in her village. Poor crops and little work for this fishing and farming community force the men to leave for L’America, a place where all prosper, it is said.

Nunzio leaves first after studying engineering in Italy; Giovanna’s first experience of devastating suffering comes when Nunzio dies in a construction accident that should never have happened. A while later, Giovanna marries for convenience rather than love; Rocco is a good man who loves her and provides well for his family. The family is torn apart when the 1908 Messina earthquake and tidal wave destroy their hometown in Italy as well as numerous other areas. Some survive miraculously; thousands die.

Giovanna and Rocco make a decision to help those in such dire need rather than buy a larger business that they had hoped to invest in. But both are totally unprepared for what that means with the coming of the “Black Hand”: the Mafia who demand protection money from all local store owners. This evolves into a horrific nightmare that reason and prayers can’t solve; to add to the travesty, justice is thwarted by those officials who are obviously on the take.

Through all of these challenges, Giovanna and her family fall in love with the little things in America that bring such joy and strength to a family in Little Italy. Phenomenal, wonderful read!

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