Saturday, March 10, 2018

The Italian Chronicles by MaryAnn Diorio

The Madonna of Pisano by Maryann Diorio

Publication Date: December 15, 2015
TopNotch Press
Paperback & eBook; 310 Pages

Series: The Italian Chronicles, Book One
Genre: Historical Fiction/Religious

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.

"Beautifully written historical novel. Excellent characters, dramatic plot. Beautifully written, giving wonderful feeling for the setting in place and time. Emotionally intense situations, satisfying resolution. Among the two or three best novels I have read this year. Highly recommended." - Dr. Donn Taylor, Author & Former University Professor of Literature

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         Dusk fell in Luca Tonetta’s tailor shop as he counted his meager earnings from his
past week of work. His revenue had dropped fifty percent in the last week alone. Not good. Especially since he had a wife and three young children to support.
              And two months of back rent due to his landlord, Silvestro Lamponi, the man who owned the building in which Luca’s shop was located.
              At this rate, Luca would soon be bankrupt if he didn’t do something fast. Besides, Silvestro was none too happy and had made it clear that, if Luca did not pay up, he’d be evicted.
              Luca’s stomach tightened as he returned the few coins to the leather pouch in which he kept his earnings. Prospects for a financial turn-around here in Pisano were few and far between. With Italy’s recent devastating defeat at the hands of Ethiopia in the Battle of Adwa, Sicily had felt the blow more than the mainland. No wonder so many were leaving the island for better opportunities elsewhere. The newspaper headlines that very morning had warned of an imminent economic collapse and reported a mass exodus of men from the island.
              Luca rubbed his face. What would the mass exodus mean for his business? Already, the clothes racks of his tailor shop, usually full of finished projects by the end of the day, now held only a few items, while the coffers at the end of the workday held one-fourth the revenues compared to this same date a year ago. In recent weeks, the number of customers had dwindled drastically as more and more men left Pisano—and the entire island—for better opportunities abroad. At first, it had been the lure of wealth that drew them. But now, it was the lure of survival.
              Luca raked his fingers through his hair. He had to do something fast—something that would allow no option for failure. If he failed in his role as provider and protector, he’d never be able to look himself in the mirror again. Nothing else mattered more.
              As if the economic decline were not bad enough, productivity from Bella Terra, his wife’s family farm, had dropped drastically. Last spring’s drought had nearly destroyed the entire orange and lemon crops, and their vegetable staples of green peppers, zucchini, and string beans had fallen far short of yielding their usual bounty.
              Things did not look good.
              Luca exhaled a long breath. What could he do that would assure him of financial success and, at the same time, not put his family in difficulty? Should he join those who were leaving the island, or should he make a last-ditch effort to rescue his business from a looming death?
              The latter choice seemed pretty bleak. Among the large numbers of the population leaving Sicily—and especially Pisano—were those who would have been potential customers.
              He shook his head as the weight of the decision settled in the pit of his stomach.
              He placed the leather pouch in the wooden box where he stored his weekly earnings and locked it. The thought of having to close the tailor shop he’d taken over from his late father and built to a thriving business sickened him. Made him feel like a traitor to his father.
             And a coward in the face of challenge.

A Sicilian Farewell by Maryann Diorio

Publication Date: December 14, 2016
TopNotch Press
Paperback & eBook; 258 Pages

Series: The Italian Chronicles, Book Two
Genre: Historical Fiction/Religious

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.

"Such lovely writing--and an even lovelier story! Author MaryAnn Diorio takes her readers on a courageous journey, from the ancient romance of the Old Country to the perils and possibilities of the New Country. Well developed characters and a story that will stay with you long after you've finished this enjoyable read.” - Kathi Macias, Award-Winning Author

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Return to Bella Terra by Maryann Diorio

Publication Date: October 26, 2017
TopNotch Press
Paperback & eBook; 242 Pages

Series: The Italian Chronicles, Book Three
Genre: Historical Fiction/Religious

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?

"Each book in the Italian Chronicles series made me want to read the next one. Now I would like to see another spin-off series dealing with the next generation. The characters in MaryAnn Diorio's book feel so real. They have flaws. They seek better relationships. They suffer and they rejoice. Just like us. There are people in their lives who help strengthen their faith, and there are those who undermine their faith. In this third book, Maria has to face letting go of many things, and only through seeking God first can she do that. Along with messages of faith and family, Return to Bella Terra takes you to Italy, and the vicarious experience is wonderful. Diorio sprinkles just enough Italian words (in italic) throughout the text to give you the sense of being there. You can smell the food, hear the music, and see the beautiful countryside. I highly recommend this series and any other books written by MaryAnn Diorio.” - Claudia Cuddy, Former Professor of Communications

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About the Author

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 Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

 Interview with MaryAnn Diorio 

1. What is your favorite part of each book and why?

My favorite part of each book is the internal struggle of my main characters—their emotional, psychological  and spiritual struggle—that results in their realization of the power of forgiveness and their total dependence on God.

2. If you could spend time with a character from your book whom would it be? And what would you do during that day?

I would spend time with little Nico in Book One, THE MADONNA OF PISANO.  I love children and would spend the day playing games with him, talking about Jesus, and eating ice cream.  

3. If you could have been the author of any book ever written, which book would you choose?

I would not have wanted to be the author of any other book ever written since writing that book would not have been God’s will for me.  I want to write only those books God has called me to write.

4. Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?

My heroine, Maria, evolved from a situation that occurred in my great-great-grandmother’s life.  Since I never met my great-great-grandmother, I had to imagine what she was like.  As for the rest of my characters, they came mostly from my imagination.  I did combines traits of people I know into my characters, but no character is based entirely on a particular person I know.

5. What made you want to become a writer?

God called me to write for Him. I simply responded affirmatively to His call. I never intended to be a writer. My goal was to spend my life teaching foreign languages at  the university level. (I hold the PhD in French with a concentration in Comparative Literature). But God had other plans for me—far better plans! :)  God’s ways are always far better than our ways. :)

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, March 5
Feature at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, March 6
Review at Cup of Sensibility (The Madonna of Pisano)

Wednesday, March 7
Review at Library of Clean Reads (The Madonna of Pisano)

Thursday, March 8
Feature at Broken Teepee

Friday, March 9
Excerpt at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Saturday, March 10
Interview & Excerpt at T's Stuff

Monday, March 12
Excerpt at Donna's Book Blog

Tuesday, March 13
Feature at A Literary Vacation

Wednesday, March 14
Review at Library of Clean Reads (A Sicilian Farewell)

Thursday, March 15
Review at Back Porchervations (The Madonna of Pisano)

Friday, March 16
Review at Cup of Sensibility (The Madonna of Pisano)

Monday, March 19
Interview at Creating Herstory

Wednesday, March 21
Review at Library of Clean Reads (Return to Bella Terra)

Thursday, March 22
Review at Creating Herstory (The Madonna of Pisano)

Monday, March 26
Review at Creating Herstory (A Sicilian Farewell)

Tuesday, March 27
Review at Back Porchervations (A Sicilian Farewell)

Wednesday, March 28
Review at Cup of Sensibility (The Madonna of Pisano)

Friday, March 30
Review at Creating Herstory (Return to Bella Terra)

Wednesday, April 4
Review at Back Porchervations (Return to Bella Terra)


During the Blog Tour we will be giving away two eBooks of each title in the Italian Chronicles trilogy! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on April 4th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US residents only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

Italian Chronicles


  1. Thank you so very much, Teresa, for featuring my trilogy on your blog today. I deeply appreciate your kindness.

    Many blessings to you!

    MaryAnn Diorio

  2. Thanks so much for hosting MaryAnn's Blog Tour, Teresa! Much appreciated!

    HF Virtual Book Tours