Saturday, March 24, 2018

The Italian Chronicles Series 1-3 by MaryAnn Diorio - #review

A young woman, a priest, and a secret that keeps them bitterly bound to each other…

A horrifying encounter drags soon-to-be-married Maria Landro into the shocking world of religious corruption and an unrelenting village code of honor that threatens to rob her of everything she holds dear. Shunned by the very people who should have embraced her, she withdraws into the confines of Bella Terra, her family’s farm, and remains there for several years…until she is forced to leave to ensure the formal education of her son. In a desperate attempt to protect her child from vicious tongues and malicious hate-mongers and her family farm from bankruptcy, she determines to seek vengeance against the one who ruined her life. But when Luca Tonetta enters her life, she learns a powerful lesson about forgiveness and grace.



Part of me wants to put #MeToo in the headline to this post.  In fiction or not, present-day or at some point in the past, someone in power always seems to be abusing their power to take something from a weaker person.  Ugh.

Political rant aside, The Madonna of Pisano is a beautifully written story of Maria Landro, a young woman in Sicily.  She has a job at the local priests' home, and one day when her sister servants are not around, the 'good father' rapes her.  As if that isn't bad enough, he threatens her safety and that of her family, lest his shame become known.

And whatever happened to "judge not, lest ye be judged"?  When it became apparent that Maria was pregnant, the townspeople considered her a 'loose woman', and besides the horrible things they said, and ways they treated her, they even went so far as to stop trade with the Landro vineyard, driving the business to near bankruptcy.

You see, fearful for her family, Maria had not revealed the father of her son, Nico.  When Nico turned six, Maria decided to enroll him in the town's public school.  Guess who his teacher turned out to be?  That's right.  Maria's rapist, aka Nico's (blood) father.  At least papa got his knickers in a twist realizing that he was Nico's father.  And it was perversely rewarding to watch him squirm then the bishop charged him to find out who Nico's father was, as the other students had called the boy 'bastard' more than once.

But then he heaps on a little more misery and threatens Maria and Nico's safety when Maria comes to pick up her son afere school.

TGFL (Thank God for Luca), who saw that Maria was a talented seamstress, and gave her alterations work, when no one else in the town would say "boo" to her.  And a couple of Luca's many customers told him that his business would suffer if it became known that he employed a 'whore' to sew for him.

It's a good thing Pisano is fictional, or I'd be temped to go over there and give the town a piece of my mind right in the middle of the square!  If the book I'm reading at any given time is not a cozy mystery, or a thriller, I like it when the story gets me riled up. and Madonna certainly did that,  It's intriguing how novels written without meaning to reflect a current social situation will do just that.

Put me squarely on team Maria (and Luca)!  I also have copies of the 2nd and 3rd books in the series (some information about those below) and I cannot wait to dive into them!!!


A young man, a new land, and a dream that threatens to destroy him and his family . . .

The dream of a better life for himself and his family drives Luca Tonetta to the American Promised Land with his wife of five years, Maria Landro Tonetto, and their three children. But the new Promised Land is nothing like what Luca had imagined. Forced to live in a roach-infested tenement house in the seedy section of Brooklyn, he faces the hardships, prejudice, and slanderous assaults of an Italian immigrant torn between two worlds. When Luca is accused of a crime he did not commit, he learns that a dream must first die before it can live.


A mother, her son, and the man who threatens to come between them . . .

When Maria Landro Tonetta receives word that Mama is terminally ill, Maria travels to her Sicilian homeland with her son Nico. She finds herself yearning for the life she once knew as a child on Bella Terra, the family farm, now on the verge of bankruptcy. Caught between two worlds, Maria dreams of moving back to Sicily with her husband and children to save the farm. When Nico’s biological father unexpectedly appears at Mama’s funeral, Maria faces a new enemy to her dream. But is there an even greater enemy within her own soul?



Dr. MaryAnn Diorio is a widely published, award-winning author of compelling fiction that deals with the deepest issues of the human heart. Her books for both adults and children consistently receive excellent reviews for their content and their style. MaryAnn holds the PhD in French with a concentration in Comparative Literature from the University of Kansas. She resides in New Jersey with her husband Dominic, a retired physician. They are the blessed parents of two awesome daughters, a wonderful son-in-law, and five rambunctious grandchildren. When not writing, MaryAnn loves to read, to paint, and to make up silly songs for her grandchildren.

For more information, please visit MaryAnn Diorio’s website and blog. You can also find him on FacebookTwitter, and Goodreads.



Italian Chronicles


Click on the banner to go to the tour page, where you will find links to more reviews of the books in this series.  You can also find out how to become a blog host for future book tours while you are there!

(Disclaimer:  I received copies of each book in this series from the author and publishers via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours in exchange for my honest reviews, each of which is recorded above.


  1. Thank you so much for your great review & for hosting MaryAnn's blog tour! Much appreciated!

    HF Virtual Book Tours

    1. Hey, Amy, thanks for stopping in! I loved reading this series. My mother was born in Switzerland and although I have been fortunate to visit there twice, I had always wanted a side trip to Italy (which never materialized). So this was perfect!