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) 

I’ve had Teresa Neumann’s Bianca’s Vineyardfor a while now, thanks to my grandmother, but have been skipping over it to read other books.  I don’t know why I did this because it was actually a great read.  Neumann is a local author who decided to write a novel about family history.  The majority of the novel is based on factual evidence and personal family interviews.  There is one portion, which I won’t give away, that is only speculated at by Neumann, but what she does choose to speculate is a highly probably scenario.
 
The book is written in a way that suggests it is being told to the reader, as well as Egisto’s son and his wife, through flashbacks from Bianca in her 80′s.  We know this because the font and boldness of these sections gives personal reflection from Bianca and foreshadows what she will eventually reveal.  She takes you back to the beginning of what changed the course for this family, mainly one brother of the Bertozzi family moving to America in order to help his Italian family, and continues to present day.Moving to America is a big deal at this time in history (1913) and Egisto, the brother moving, must find a wife before he leaves.  He’s had his heart set on a specific woman but, after her father veto’s Egisto’s decision to marry outside of the Church, he must come up with an alternative.  This decision alters the family in unseen ways. 
 

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.

Comments for Bianca's Vineyard

4 Comments

  1. Posted on November 28, 2010 at 5:05 am by Emily

    Teresa, I’m hooked on this book. I started it last night and because I only had 2.5 hours of sleep from all my Black Friday shopping, I had to put it down after chapter 5. BUT….I am well on my way to finishing it today and I’m so in love with all the characters. It makes me love Babe even more in real life too. I wish desperately that we were going to Italy this summer with you to see all the places in your tale. It’s amazing. I can’t believe my own fairy God Mother wrote this fabulous book. WOW. I can’t wait for the sequel. Love you! EM

  2. Posted on December 23, 2010 at 8:56 pm by Bonnie Woeckener

    Teresa: I finished your book couldn’t put it down.
    The characters were so interesting made me feel the pain the family went through. The family in Italy and the struggles they went through during the war was so real. I felt that
    Babe was a special when I met her, now I know what made her such a strong woman. I am looking forward to your next book.
    Bonnie Woeckener

  3. Posted on March 26, 2011 at 6:11 pm by Mike Salley

    Teresa. I thoroughly enjoyed Bianca’s Vineyard. I was kept on the edge of my seat cheering on the characters! I felt like I knew them as I was reading. Can’t wait until the next book. Great stuff. I highly recommend this book to anywone!

  4. Posted on December 19, 2012 at 6:56 am by Joyce

    Dear Teresa,

    I started this book and could not put it down except for necessity of taking time for my family.

    My Dad was in World War 11, plus Invasion of Normandy, throughout the years of 16yrs-21yrs (He fibbed to join since he looked 18) and suffered his whole life with the remaining tragedy of it. My sister is now sending me his WW11 campaign map and perhaps some of the Italian cities in your book are part of it.

    I bought this book for my daughter at 2012 Salem, Oregon Christmas Show at State Fairgrounds, but she let me read it first!

    I now look forward to reading the sequel. I love your writing style and the sincerity of the book, its story and the characters portrayed. It touched my heart.

    Keep up the great work; I feel blessed to have read this part of you and your husband’s family history!

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