The Florios of Sicily by Stefania Auci. Translated by Katherine Gregor

Published: 2020 Originally published as I leoni di Sicilia in 2019. 1. First lines 2. Cover: Harper Collins 3. The harbour at Palermo [CC BY-SA 2.0] via Flickr 4. Vincenzo Florio with his wife, Giulia Portalupi, and his son, Ignazio Florio, with his wife, Giovanna D’Ondes Trigona By Unknown author [Public Domain] via Wikimedia 5. Ignazio Florio Jr., Donna Franca and their first children, Giovanna and Ignazio “baby boy” By Unknown author [Public Domain] via Wikimedia

This book brings to life the story of the real-life Sicilian family, the Florios. After losing everything in an earthquake in their hometown in Italy, the family moves to Palermo in Sicily to set up a business trading in spices. It becomes a very successful business due to the family’s ruthlessness and ambition.

Couldn’t we afford anything better than this place?

Even though this is based on historical fact, the author has written a very readable novel, with characters that are depicted realistically. This is a strength of the novel also noted by Kirkus (“Auci focuses a panoramic lens on the Florio family’s achievements while never losing sight of the smaller personal details.”) and the Historical Novel Society (“Their true-to-life interactions, emotions and dialogue make it easy for readers to care.”). I also liked the way discrete chapters throughout the book place the narrative in historical context.

Quotes:


“Christmas 1799. Another year has gone by quickly and the aromateria has grown. They, the Florio brothers – after much struggling- have become known.”

”The city unfolds, and takes shape before him. Majolica domes, crenallated towers, roof tiles. There’s La Cala, the port, crammed with feluccas, brigs and schooners, a heart-shaped cove between two strips of land.”

Author: Stefania Auci


Audio Sample from Audible

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