14 May 2021

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[Blog Tour] 'Under the Light of the Italian Moon' By Jennifer Anton #HistoricalFiction #ItalyWWII

A gripping historical fiction novel, based on a true story and heartbreaking real events...

[Blog Tour]  'Under the Light of the Italian Moon'  By Jennifer Anton #HistoricalFiction #ItalyWWII
'Under the Light of the Italian Moon' - Tour Banner

The Book:

Under the Light of the Italian Moon

By Jennifer Anton

  • Publication Date: 8th March 2021
  • Publisher: Amsterdam Publishers
  • Page Length: 394 Pages
  • Genre: Historical Fiction/Biographical Fiction

The Blurb:

A promise keeps them apart until WW2 threatens to destroy their love forever

Fonzaso Italy, between two wars

Nina Argenta doesn’t want the traditional life of a rural Italian woman. The daughter of a strong-willed midwife, she is determined to define her own destiny. But when her brother emigrates to America, she promises her mother to never leave.

When childhood friend Pietro Pante briefly returns to their mountain town, passion between them ignites while Mussolini forces political tensions to rise. Just as their romance deepens, Pietro must leave again for work in the coal mines of America. Nina is torn between joining him and her commitment to Italy and her mother.

As Mussolini’s fascists throw the country into chaos and Hitler’s Nazis terrorise their town, each day becomes a struggle to survive greater atrocities. A future with Pietro seems impossible when they lose contact and Nina’s dreams of a life together are threatened by Nazi occupation and an enemy she must face alone…

A gripping historical fiction novel, based on a true story and heartbreaking real events.

Spanning over two decades, Under the Light of the Italian Moon is an epic, emotional and triumphant tale of one woman’s incredible resilience during the rise of fascism and Italy’s collapse into WWII.

[Blog Tour]  'Under the Light of the Italian Moon'  By Jennifer Anton #HistoricalFiction #ItalyWWII
'Under the Light of the Italian Moon' - Front Cover

'Under the Light of the Italian Moon'  - Excerpt:

November 1914 Nina Argenta stared at the altar, trying to concentrate on the Mass since there was no chance of escape. The warm fragrance of incense surrounded her, and the priest’s recitations combined with the candlelit sanctuary made it hard to keep herself awake. It was Sunday, and like every Sunday of her ten years on Earth, she sat dutifully, bored by the teachings of the ancient text that is the Roman Catholic Holy Bible.

Under the vaulted ceiling of the Chiesa della Nativit├á di Maria, the Madonna statue at the side of the church watched her. Candlelight illuminated the blue veil and gentle expression of the Blessed Virgin casting a shine, like polish, on one side of her face and leaving the other in shadow. Nina shivered, tugging her sweater around her shoulders. The yarn, thick under her fingertips, made her feel secure. It had been a gift from her mother on Nina’s birthday two weeks before – the birthday they shared.

“We are born on the cusp of two moons, passionate and loyal. A gift for my gift,” her mother had said when she gave Nina the present, blue to match her light eyes. It covered the once-white dress she wore that had belonged to her older sister. She leaned against the solid wood of the pew and studied the colours in the paintings of Frigimelica and Forabosco hanging on the grand church walls. Garments of rich burgundies like dried blood, sparkling golds, skin on a flat canvas painted to project luminescence and curve. It was easy to distract yourself from Mass when surrounded by such intricacy.

The women of her family sat to her right: seven of them in the row behind the nuns, a place of honour. The Argenta women occupied the same pew every Sunday. Onorina, four years her senior, perfect and pious, kept her eyes closed and prayed with a sparkling rosary threaded through her clasped hands, oblivious to the three youngest sisters who fretted next to their mother. Her father and younger brother, Vante, sat in front with the other men. Men in front, women in back, separated by the nuns. Nina’s older brother, Antonio, had not joined them today. At breakfast, tension had hung between him and their mother, which she assumed was why he missed Mass. The priest would surely notice. Mamma would be disappointed. Nina knew how it felt to let her down.

The chapel veil sitting atop her head slipped as she looked up at the imposing crucifix that stabbed down above the altar. Adjusting the lace, she missed a prayer response, causing her mother to look over with a lifted eyebrow. Adelasia Dalla Santa Argenta was not a woman to make angry, especially not during Mass. Her wooden spoon would be waiting at home to beat your culo if you weren’t good. She had a reputation for sternness not only with her family but with the entire town.

As the only trained midwife in Fonzaso and the villages surrounding, she had delivered every child Nina knew and had earned the nickname, La Capitana, The Captain. It was said even the priest feared her.

Nina could see her father, Corrado Argenta, through the heads and habits as he shifted from side to side. His eyelids drooped in boredom, but he glanced back from time to time to check on his wife and mother, both of whom he feared as much as the children did. Nonna Argenta, small and severe in her black dress and head covering, was the only one besides Onorina entirely consumed by the Mass. Nonna looks just like a strega, thought Nina, missing only a broom to fly away on.

Nina let out a relieved sigh when it was time for Communion. At last! Mass would be over soon, and she couldn’t wait to be by the fireplace, reading her book after helping Mamma and Nonna prepare the polenta for supper. She walked up the marble aisle, inching forward behind the nuns, then knelt at the altar and held out her tongue, awaiting the body of Christ. Receiving the wafer, she gave the sign of the cross and stood to head back to her seat. The taste of creamy paper stuck to the roof of her mouth and she contemplated why God would want children to have sore knees and numb bottoms to get into Heaven.

Passing rows of men knelt to pray after Communion, she saw the large Pante family filling two benches in the front of the church. Pietro, one of her sister’s classmates, leaned unceremoniously in the pew, trying to help his tiny brother fix his shoelaces, tied together so he would trip. A messy redhead crouched in the seat behind them was the likely culprit of the prank. The Pante boy finished helping his brother, then sat back on the pew, catching Nina’s eye and giving her a quiet smile. She hesitated before returning it. The Madonna was still watching her. I should be praying after receiving the body of Christ. She returned to her seat, then knelt again, bruised knees on cold wood, to await the end of the Mass.

Fratelli e sorelle, ” Don Segala proclaimed after he had completed the liturgy. “I would like to ask for a special prayer today. Another group is leaving tomorrow for America. They will travel to Genoa and take a long ship ride. Signori, please join me here on the altar.” The pews squeaked, echoing in the church as a group of five men and three boys walked to the front. To Nina’s surprise, the Pante boy was one of them. Was it possible such a young boy was going on that voyage? There was an earnestness in the way he stood next to the other men who were a head taller than he was; his face was sombre. He stuck out a proud, lifted chin, smooth, unlike the others. A patched brown jacket, cut too wide, hung on his slender physique. I wonder how many brothers have worn that jacket before him.

The priest called out each of the men’s names. “Lord, please bless these men and give them a safe journey to America. Allow them to prosper there and, if it is your will, bring them safely home to their families here in Fonzaso.”

The parishioners united in an “Amen”. As Pietro returned to his seat, he peered back towards the Argenta pew, gave a wry smile, and nodded. Nina tried to see if he was looking at her or her sister, but Onorina was quick to bow her head again. The Madonna was watching her, too.

Nina knew many men were leaving Fonzaso to find work abroad. She had overheard her father mentioning it to her mother – the emigranti – but she never imagined such young people going. It unsettled her, and her heart raced as questions filled her head. Pietro Pante, who lived with his family a few streets down, who went to school with her sister, was leaving for America.

America!

The furthest she had travelled was to Padua with her mother, and Bergamo once. How exciting! What will happen to him? What would it be like to sail on a ship, miles away, to a new country? To start life over far away from Fonzaso? The Mass ended and the parishioners rose in song. Nina lent her voice with fervour and when she looked again at the Blessed Virgin, it seemed the Madonna was smiling at her.

[Blog Tour]  'Under the Light of the Italian Moon'  By Jennifer Anton #HistoricalFiction #ItalyWWII
Jennifer Anton

Author Bio:

Jennifer Anton is an American/Italian dual citizen born in Joliet, Illinois and now lives between London and Lake Como, Italy. A proud advocate for women's rights and equality, she hopes to rescue women's stories from history, starting with her Italian family.

Connect with Jennifer Anton:

Website ✔ Twitter ✔ Facebook ✔ Instagram ✔ Pinterest ✔ Book Bub 

Amazon Author Page ✔ Goodreads ✔ Youtube 

[Blog Tour]  'Under the Light of the Italian Moon'  By Jennifer Anton #HistoricalFiction #ItalyWWII
'Under the Light of the Italian Moon' - Tour Schedule

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