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Book Banter with Elisa Speranza
March 30, 2023 • 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
We are delighted to welcome author, Elisa Speranza to Book Banter!
“The repercussions of WWII are lovingly rendered through one woman’s story, with an endearing cast of characters who all feel like family by the end.”—LALITA TADEMY, New York Times best-selling author of Oprah’s Book Club pick Cane River, Red River, and Citizens Creek
The Italian Prisoner: 1943. New Orleans. Rose Marino lives with her Sicilian immigrant parents and helps in the family grocery store. Her older brother and sister both joined the Army, and Rose prays for their safety as World War II rages overseas. Her parents expect Rose to marry a local boy and start a family. But she secretly dreams of being more like her fiercely independent widowed godmother. Behind her parents’ back, Rose lands a job at the shipyard, where she feels free and important for the first time in her life.
When the parish priest organizes a goodwill mission to visit Italian prisoners of war at a nearby military base, Rose and her vivacious best friend, Marie, join the group. There, Rose falls for Sal, a handsome and intelligent POW. Italy has switched sides in the war, so the POWs are allowed out to socialize, giving Rose and Sal a chance to grow closer. When Rose gets a promotion at work, she must make an agonizing choice: follow a traditional path like Marie or keep working after the war and live on her own terms.
Inspired by little-known historical events and set to a swing-era soundtrack, The Italian Prisoner is an engrossing story of wartime love, family secrets, and a young woman’s struggle to chart her own course at an inflection point in American history.
Elisa M. Speranza is a writer based in New Orleans, LA and Oak Bluffs, MA. The Italian Prisoner, her first novel, was a finalist in the William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition for a novel-in-progress in 2019.