What I’ve Read: Elizabeth Street by Laurie Fabiano
This book has been getting a lot of buzz and once I learned a little more about it (that it was based on Fabiano’s actual family history, for one), I downloaded it on my Kindle right away.
It is a fascinating story of her family and their experiences as Italian immigrants in America. There’s a touch of danger (early precursors of the New York City Italian mob presence that became more prevalent later in the 20th century make regular appearances) and plenty of heartbreak, but Fabiano manages to control the swirling story in the anchor of her great-grandmother Giovanna Costa.
Giovanna was a woman far ahead of her time: she was highly educated and strong-willed and was unafraid to go up against men much stronger and more dangerous than she for the sake of her family and her children. Fabiano did an incredible amount of research in order to put you squarely in Giovanna’s shoes. Her descriptive writing allows you to fully envision what New York City looked like, sounded like and even smelled like at the time.
I have to admit: the beginning of the book almost deterred me from continuing. Fabiano jumps between time periods and it’s unclear initially how various characters are related, but that confusion was short-lived.
Elizabeth Street was a fascinating, satisfying book on so many levels and I highly recommend it to you—especially if you have a ancestral connection to Italian immigrants who came to America in the early 20th century!