Antonio's Wife: A Novel

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9780060558000: Antonio's Wife: A Novel

From the glamorous uptown world of opera to the seedy underbelly of New York City's worst tenements, a page-turning roller-coaster ride of kidnappings, betrayals, bribes, hidden identities, and twisted intrigues

By 1908 Francesca Frascatti has reached the pinnacle of success in the opera world. A fiery-haired Neapolitan diva with an infamously volatile temperament, Francesca secretly aches with regret for having given up her daughter, Maria Grazia, on the road to stardom, and she has come to America to find her and make amends. By night Francesca appears as Tosca, alternately delighting and tyrannizing the Manhattan Opera House; by day, she and Dante Romano, a detective posing as her lover, search for her daughter, who has reportedly moved to America to find a better life. Francesca and Dante must brave a sordid maze of Black Hand spies, corrupt Tammany Hall police officers, and greedy hooligans to reach Maria Grazia before her cunning and haughty grandfather can spirit her away to Italy and out of her scandalous mother's reach forever.

At the opera house, Mina DiGianni, a gentle Italian lace maker from the Lower East Side tenements, becomes Francesca's costume dresser and confidante. Like Francesca, Mina is haunted by her past, and by a secret she's been keeping. Caught between the joyful hope of a new child growing inside her and the painful reality of her husband's abuse and philandering, Mina discovers new possibilities while working for Francesca . . . and is bewildered to find herself falling in love with Dante. When Mina's husband and his mistress betray her, Mina realizes the terrible price her choices have exacted. As Mina and Francesca's worlds intertwine, and then collide in a shocking turn of events, both women face the greatest challenges of their lives: to finally lay their pasts to rest and to embrace the present.

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About the Author:

Jacqueline DeJohn was inspired to write Antonio's Wife by her father's stories about her grandmother Filomina, who came to America as a mail-order bride. This is her first novel. She lives in New York City.

From Publishers Weekly:

The glamorous world of opera in the early 20th century provides the backdrop for this melodramatic debut. Francesca Frascatti arrives in New York in 1908 to sing Tosca at the Manhattan Opera House (costumed so that her breasts "thrust forward like twin creme caramels"). The diva‚€"famous for both her tantrums and artistry‚€"is accompanied by the dashing Dante Romano, whom everyone imagines is her lover, but who is, in fact, a detective hired to help Cesca find her long-lost daughter. The lovely, naÔve Mina DiGianni, a seamstress living on the Lower East Side with her abusive husband, Antonio, is promoted from the opera's costume shop to be Cesca's personal dresser. DeJohn leaks the "secret" early on, hinting heavily that Mina‚€"who came to New York as a mail-order bride‚€"is really Francesca's daughter. But what is Mina hiding from her own past? The web of intrigue spins tighter as affluent and sordid New York worlds converge: Cesca and Dante must determine Mina's true identity before Cesca's Mafia father-in-law can spirit Mina back to Italy; Mina and Dante begin to fall in love; and they all contend with the sinister counterplottings of Antonio and his mistress, Kathleen‚€"an Irish saloon owner so cartoonishly slutty and fiendish that she raises the she-devil to new heights of clich√©. Had the patently good and obviously evil guys simply been allowed to duke it out, this narrative might have cleverly spoofed its operatic concept; the underlying theme of "destino" (destiny), however, ruins the fun a bit with its overly serious tone. For fans who like their characters more vaudevillian than operatic, however, this is one roiling historical costume fest and a speedy, digestible read.
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Book Description Book Condition: New. Ships From Canada. Glued binding. Paper over boards. With dust jacket. 434 p. Contains: Illustrations. Audience: General/trade. Book Description: From the glamorous uptown world of opera to the seedy underbelly of New York City's worst tenements, a page-turning roller-coaster ride of kidnappings, betrayals, bribes, hidden identities, and twisted intrigues By 1908 Francesca Frascatti has reached the pinnacle of success in the opera world. A fiery-haired Neapolitan diva with an infamously volatile temperament, Francesca secretly aches with regret for having given up her daughter, Maria Grazia, on the road to stardom, and she has come to America to find her and make amends. By night Francesca appears as Tosca, alternately delighting and tyrannizing the Manhattan Opera House; by day, she and Dante Romano, a detective posing as her lover, search for her daughter, who has reportedly moved to America to find a better life. Francesca and Dante must brave a sordid maze of Black Hand spies, cor. Bookseller Inventory # 8973973649

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Book Description New York, New York, U.S.A.: Regan Books, New York, New York, U.S.A., 2004. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. 1st Edition. 434 Pages. Book Description: From the glamorous uptown world of opera to the seedy underbelly of New York City's worst tenements, a page-turning roller-coaster ride of kidnappings, betrayals, bribes, hidden identities, and twisted intrigues By 1908 Francesca Frascatti has reached the pinnacle of success in the opera world. A fiery-haired Neapolitan diva with an infamously volatile temperament, Francesca secretly aches with regret for having given up her daughter, Maria Grazia, on the road to stardom, and she has come to America to find her and make amends. By night Francesca appears as Tosca, alternately delighting and tyrannizing the Manhattan Opera House; by day, she and Dante Romano, a detective posing as her lover, search for her daughter, who has reportedly moved to America to find a better life. Francesca and Dante must brave a sordid maze of Black Hand spies, corrupt Tammany Hall police officers, and greedy hooligans to reach Maria Grazia before her cunning and haughty grandfather can spirit her away to Italy and out of her scandalous mother's reach forever. At the opera house, Mina DiGianni, a gentle Italian lace maker from the Lower East Side tenements, becomes Francesca's costume dresser and confidante. Like Francesca, Mina is haunted by her past, and by a secret she's been keeping. Caught between the joyful hope of a new child growing inside her and the painful reality of her husband's abuse and philandering, Mina discovers new possibilities while working for Francesca . . . and is bewildered to find herself falling in love with Dante. When Mina's husband and his mistress betray her, Mina realizes the terrible price herchoices have exacted. As Mina and Francesca's worlds intertwine, and then collide in a shocking turn of events, both women face the greatest challenges of their lives: to finally lay their pasts to rest and to embrace the present. About the Author Jacqueline DeJohn was inspired to write Antonio's Wife by her father's stories about her grandmother Filomina, who came to America as a mail-order bride. This is her first novel. She lives in New York City. Bookseller Inventory # ABE-841757195

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