The Inheritance was reviewed in the June 2015 Issue Vol. 21, No. 10 newsletter of The Italian Genealogical Group.

Many novels have been written about the peasants of Southern Italy and their struggles to survive on land basically owned by a landowner. This story, although fiction, relates the experiences and relationships between the padrone and the servants. The story takes place in the first quarter of the 20th century in Calabria. The author uses her personal recollection of her travels to her grandmother’s home town to set the stage. Her words capture the beauty of the countryside.

Anna, la signora of the estate in Cetraro, lovingly cares for an orphaned servant girl, Caterina, as her own despite her husband Santo’s disapproval. Caterina and Anna’s youngest son Lorenzo grow up together and become very close. Under the tutelage of the local priest, Caterina studies very hard to become an educated young lady.

The padrone, Santo, in the meantime is consolidating a fishing business with men in Naples. He and his older sons are away from home for weeks at a time. Santo becomes involved with the Camora and ‘Ndrangheta organizations. As the years pass Lorenzo is sent to Florence to study to be a lawyer for the family business. On a return trip to visit his ailing mother, Lorenzo realizes he has deep feelings for Caterina. Aware of his father’s attitude about class status, they get married secretly – a fact that Santo learns about soon after. Santo immediately has the servant girl kidnapped, transported to Naples and sent off on a ship to America. Those who may have opposed this padrone do not. Santo has learned of their scandalous secrets and they remain silent and fearful of exposure. Even his oldest son would cause shame to the family if the town knew.

Caterina who has endured many hardships is headed to America to face new struggles with no one.

This novel is a love story mixed with intrigue. Will Caterina and Lorenzo be reunited and begin their married life? We look forward to a sequel.

Marianne Perry hails from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada. Her grandparents emigrated from Calabria and Sicily to Toronto, CA. Her genealogical research was vital to the development of this novel.

There are reading group questions included for book clubs to use. The author can be reached at or visit her website at The book is available on or

Reviewed By: Marilyn Ann Verna, Ed.D.