Forgotten Objects traces the life of Anna d’Amio, daughter of opera singers Louis and Francesca d’Amio, from Mussolini’s Italy to the city of Pittsburgh during the mid sixties. The novel proper is made up of three parts: Italy, Cuba and United States. Married at seventeen and widowed at twenty, Anna leaves war-torn Italy to find her fortune in Cuba, she eventually meets Ramón Contreras, a wealthy tobacco grower who later becomes her second husband. The idyllic world that the couple had so laboriously built suddenly comes crashing down after the communist take over of the island and Ramón’s sudden and violent death.
Now with two daughters under her care, Anna soon realizes that there is no future for them in Cuba, so she opts to send them to the United States through the Pedro Pan Program. Eventually she comes to the US herself, but by then the girls have been placed in foster homes. It is during this stage of her life, penniless and without influence, that she must make the greatest sacrifices to regain custody of her daughters. At the end of the novel, we find a series of letters, all dated 2005, that were exchanged by the sisters after their mother passed away. Anna left behind a box containing a collection of sundry items that she had collected throughout her life. Cognizant that these were significant for their mother, they attempt to piece together a sketch of her life through these forgotten objects.
What’s It About?
“It is not until now, when we are left with her absence and with these forgotten objects that we pause and take a look away from our own lives and try to assess the type of woman she really was.”
Forgotten Objects is a historical women’s fiction that details the remarkable life of a simple woman named Anna D’Amio.
Anna’s life takes several major turns, from Italy, to Cuba, and finally the United States. She escapes war, marries three times, experiences love and loss, and births twin daughters. All along, love keeps her going, and the acceptance of whatever fate has to offer her. She seizes multiple opportunities, and meets people along the way who leave an indelible impact on her life.
“We simply follow the coordinates of our individual destinies.”
While a fictitious story, Forgotten Objects is rich with political and social history and can be enjoyed by history buffs and fans of women’s fiction alike.
My initial impression was that this was Anna’s mother, Francesca’s story, as until chapter 4, the story detailed Francesca’s background. Upon reading further, I realized that the author has a love for backstory, as every character, no matter how minor, had a complete detailed history. While I appreciated the attention to detail, sometimes it was a bit much…. (Did I really need to know the entire life story of the Priest who married Anna and Giacoma?)
Fortunately, I liked the characters, (yes even Benito, the former fighter turned Priest), and was met with a bit of nostalgia when they were reintroduced into the plot later in the story. It is probably of no surprise, that my favorite character was Anna, who seemed so simple and yet led such an impactful life. I was impressed with her abilities to bounce back from tragedy, and always managed to land on her feet. Her story is inspiring.
My favorite scene in this novel was when she was preparing for her wedding to Harold, and she receives a letter from someone from her past. I am being vague in order not to reveal any spoilers, but I was surprised with the decision she made. I thought for sure she would reunite with this person! Actually, I wanted this to happen!
This story isn’t predictable in the sense that you know what will happen next, but it does follow a historical timetable, bringing fact to fiction. I would recommend this novel to fans of historical fiction, with a strong emphasis on a woman’s life experiences.
***I received an e-copy of Forgotten Objects, by the Author, in exchange for a fair, thoughtful, and honest book review. This in no way swayed my opinion or rating.