Blog tour: The Unbreakable Heart of Oliva Denaro

Welcome to the blog tour for The Unbreakable Heart of Oliva Denaro by Viola Ardone!

More about the book…

As provincial Sicily bursts into life with the jaunty hum of pop music and the heady scent of wild jasmine, fifteen-year-old Oliva Denaro dares to challenge convention, ignoring the taunts of peers, her mother’s scolds, and her own changing body. Spirited and carefree, she loves to run until her lungs burst: to feel the strength of her lithe limbs, to relish the freedom she cherishes, to honor the friends forced by propriety to conform. Though she knows she cannot stop growing up, Oliva resists the future. To her, becoming a woman means denying oneself.

But adulthood comes all too quickly when the baker’s son sets his sights on her. Offered a blood orange, Oliva—haunted by her mother’s warning, “a girl who smiles has already said yes”—spurns the fruit. Yet, this act sets into motion an unwanted courtship that will force Oliva to fight for the right to choose her own path, even though the odds of winning are steep. While America and Europe are in the throes of social change, Sicily fiercely clings to its rigid traditions, including the custom of fuitina –by which kidnappings could be disguised as elopements– which is accepted and enshrined in law. Oliva’s battle for independence is based on the real-life story that would ultimately rock Italy–capturing the attention of both the Pope and the nation’s president—and transform life for all Italians.

More about the author…

Viola Ardone was born in Naples in 1974.

A high school Latin and Italian teacher, she holds a degree in literature and worked in academic publishing.

She is the author of two previous novels in Italian, La ricetta del cuore in subbuglio and Una rivoluzione sentimentale

My impressions…

Ok, I have to admit that I was so smitten with the cover that I didn’t pay too much attention to anything else when I asked to review this book! I was therefore taken aback when I realised that it was originally written in my mother tongue and translated into English. As strange as it was to think that I was reading an Italian novel in translation, I must also praise the work of Clarissa Botsford, who made the language flow so beautifully that it felt 100% authentic. As to the story itself, I loved it as Oliva is such a strong and inspiring female lead. And if that alone wasn’t reason enough for me to fall in love with this historical novel, the way that the author has managed to bring Sicily and its culture to life is short of amazing. In fact, it is truly amazing.

Three words to describe it. Powerful. Inspiring. Heart-breaking.

Do I like the cover? Beautiful is only the beginning!

Have I read any other books by the same author? Not yet, but I now plan to.

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