Overview from www.bn.com: Set in Italy in the year 1977, The Road to Chianti follows two young orphans as they struggle to find a place to call home.
When their parents are killed in a devastating accident on the eve of the Epiphany, nine-year-old Alessandra DeSantis and her older brother, Salvatore, are left alone. With no one to care for them, the children soon end up in a run-down orphanage far from their home in Chianti. Still emotionally scarred from losing their parents, they now face an even greater challenge-the cruel Agostina, who works Alessandra and Salvatore to the point of exhaustion.
Deciding they must escape, Alessandra and Salvatore flee in the night and unknowingly embark on a harrowing adventure across the Italian countryside. With Agostina’s goons hot on their trail, Alessandra and Salvatore vow to do whatever it takes to survive, and above all else, find their way home to Chianti. But one nagging question always hangs over them-what will they find when they finally get home?
This week’s book is not an easy one to review. I heard about it from someone I know who thought I might find it interesting and I did. I looked forward to reading it for a while after I bought it but decided to finish reading some library books that I had checked out before they had returned them. Those were the bulk of my reviews for the past few weeks.
The overview said that the story is set in Italy in the year 1977 however I found little evidence of that time period in the story unless you factor in the absence of electronic gadgets into the equation. That was not necessarily a negative for me since I am not a huge fan of that time period but it did bring up some other problems.
The main thing I noticed was that the author mentions several different occasions where the runaway children pay for things with Euros. In 1977 Euros wouldn’t have existed yet. I went to Italy back in the nineties just before the Euros became the only acceptable currency and I paid for most of my things with the Lira, as did most of the people who I saw. Most of the merchants were accepting Euros at the same time as Liras but this practice had only recently started.
Another problem I noticed was that the point of view seemed to change abruptly. I have a feeling though that most of this might be due to publishing errors rather than the author’s so I tried to ignore it.
That being said, the story itself was a good one. Though I am not sure, I have a feeling that the target audience is children as the narrator speaks in a child-like tone. However, I think that adults would enjoy this one as well. The characters are sympathetic and the story is entertaining. The author manages to take a heart-breaking accident in the lives of two children and turn it into something beautiful.
I think it might have worked a little better if Alessandra were the only narrator in the story as the prologue begins with her looking back. I am not sure why Salvatore’s point of view is sometimes injected into her musings but it might have worked better if something had divided the Salvatore sections from the Alessandra sections distinctly and if the prologue had been dropped.
I still really like this story. I liked the details about Italy and in particular, life in Tuscany. And as I said earlier, it really was a beautiful and heart-warming tale. The glossary in the back would also be helpful I think for readers who don’t speak Italian though I didn’t need it.
Contains: mild violence