This novel is epic in that it spans time from 1914 to 2009, includes myths and legends, and takes place on an island off the coast of Sicily, which can only be described as magical. It follows the fortunes of Amedeo Esposito, a foundling, through his early life on to his education, his becoming a doctor in search of a town to practice in and his family. Amedeo is an amazing character by himself, since he came from nothing and still managed to succeed.
The novel deals with both the Esposito family members and the life of the villagers on the tiny island of Castellamare. I loved how Banner infused both world wars into the story, showing the effects of nationalism on life on the island and the unrest that war brings. This definitely gives you the feeling of both being there, and understanding the behavior that “nationalism” can cause.
For me, the most interesting characters were the women of the Esposito family, from Amedeo’s wife to his daughter in law to his granddaughter. All three women are strong and intelligent. I really enjoyed this novel and highly recommend it. Well done, Catherine Banner! I am looking forward to your next novel.