Reviews & Comments
“Bianca’s Vineyard is a lush family epic full of realistic, loveable people that you will come to know and care about deeply. The setting is engrossing, the dialogue as real as overheard conversations. Prepare to stay up late with a bowl of pasta and a glass of Chianti. You won’t want to set this book down.” — Sandra Byrd, best-selling author of “Let Them Eat Cake” and the forthcoming “Ladies in Waiting” series.
“Teresa Neumann weaves an unforgettable true tale of passion, love and legacy, set against the gripping backdrop of World War II Italy. Bring it with you everywhere—it won’t let you go.” — Julie Talbot, editor – Portland, Oregon
The PORTLAND REVIEW writes:
Bianca’s Vineyard is many things: a striking portrait of wartime Italy under the Fascist reign of Benito Mussolini; a poignant story of family, torn apart and brought back together in the decades that spanned the Second World War; a love letter to the Tuscan countryside through its downfall and triumph. But beneath the lush descriptions of the Italian wine country and the startling brutality of a gruesome war that left a lasting impression on the entire world, it’s a story about forgiveness and second chances, and true love that prevails.
The novel, ultimately, is a beautifully descriptive piece of historical fiction that spans nearly ninety years of one family’s history, focusing on one of the most pivotal moments of the twentieth century. The plot twists and turns with all of the provocative intrigue of family lore, but never fails to delight.
Pour a glass of (Italian) wine, and enjoy.
Review from “Rambling Thoughts” Mel, Corvallis, Oregon
Bianca’s Vineyard (Book #13)
We follow the the Bertozzi family through good, prosperous times and through absolutely desolate, terrible times (mainly World War Two and mental breakdowns). We also come to learn about Egisto’s wife and her family. All of this plays importantly into the people of this novel.
Bianca’s Vineyard is a novel that portrays the human condition and family ties beautifully. I was surprised by how much I actually liked this book and would not hesitate recommending it to others. Good choice, Grandma!
Review from Twin City’s Pioneer Press
Hunker down with some worthwhile small-press fiction by or about Minnesotans
By Mary Ann Grossmann
“Bianca’s Vineyard” by Teresa Neumann: Longtime St. Paulites might remember Egisto Bertozzi, a sculptor from Italy who was the subject of St. Paul Pioneer Press stories in the 1940s and ’50s.
Bertozzi, who died in 1974, carved statues for the Cathedral of St. Paul, worked on the Indian God of Peace at City Hall and sculpted medallions for St. James Lutheran Church in West St. Paul.
Now, Bertozzi’s Oregon-based granddaughter tells her family’s story in her debut novel, which spans three generations from 1913 to 2001.
The main story is about Egisto; his parents, Luigi and Carmella; his two brothers; his sister; and his unhappy wife, Armida.
When we meet Egisto in 1913, he’s preparing to leave for the United States, where he hopes to make enough money to help support the family vineyard. Egisto’s fiancee refuses to marry him because he won’t be wed in the Catholic church. At the last minute, he marries Armida, a strong woman who isn’t sure she loves him.
The couple settles on Margaret Street in St. Paul, and Armida gives birth to a son and daughter. But she is lonely and self-conscious because she can’t speak English, and she is so depressed she’s sent to a mental hospital. Eventually, she returns to Italy, where she builds a new life after divorcing Egisto. Then, the narrative moves between Italy, where Armida works for a cruel man committed to dictator Benito Mussolini, and St. Paul, where Egisto raises the children. His last gesture toward Armida will break your heart.
“Bianca’s Vineyard” is involving and smoothly written, which is not surprising because Neumann is a journalist. Her dialogue is crisp and believable, and her evocation of the battle between partisans and Nazis is painful to read. Most of all, her story is of the secrets, compassion, family loyalty and long memories of people in small villages.
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