When this country no longer has farmers or artisans, it will no longer have a history. (Pier Paolo Pasolini)
Once in a while, you read a really good book – I hope more than just once in a while, really, but occasionally you run across one that touches your heart on a personal level while wrapping you in its story, and when you’ve finished, everyday occurrences lose their tint of the mundane and suddenly twist again into something precious, to be savored. For me, these books are gifts, and the best thing you can do with a gift is share it; in this spirit, I’m particularly happy to be able to tell you guys about The Artisan’s Star.
Imagine a love story to a city that transcends time. Imagine that you have a stunning, tiny country that has, for centuries, nurtured its artisans. Imagine scent, riots of color, the taste of a favorite wine. Stretch, luxuriate: you’re in Florence, after all. Gabriella Contestabile does not just describe places, people, and food; she immerses you in them completely, and this reading will involve all your senses.
In this beautifully detailed story, you’ll become a part of Elio’s family, of his past, find yourself entwined as the Barati family picks through some of the issues mirrored by the country they live in and love, the battle to sustain small businesses, to recover from chances lost long ago. You’ll follow along as, wrapped in color and the scent of Florence, they struggle to stay true to themselves and the beauty that surrounds them while keeping pace with the world of today. Contestabile will build you a piece of this city, from the Davide to the pappa al pomodoro, lure you in with descriptions of food and the much-revered Italian style; she’ll also draw you into a tiny community in France where young Elio attends an elite perfumery school, and you’ll even go to Greece. When it’s over and you put the book down, you will still smell the iris and the citrus. When you close your eyes, the spires of the Duomo will rise above you.
Past the end of the story, you will find a note from the characters (don’t worry, I’m not giving anything important away!), an invitation to the author’s website, where you can find a treasure trove for when you really visit Florence (soon, I hope): details and stories of shops, restaurants, places to go and experience the real Artisans of Florence. In this way, Contestabile brings her book to life.
Imagine treasuring that which is singularly ours while embracing, breathing in, the future. Yes. Imagine that.
Thanks to Laura from Italy Book Tours, if you’re in the USA or Canada and you’d like a shot at being one of the five winners who will receive a print or ebook copy of the book, a $10 Amazon gift card, and a perfume sample, then check out their Rafflecopter giveaway before May 16!
As always, happy reading, YiR-ers, and let me know what you think of The Artisan’s Star!
Gabriella Contestabile is an author, educator, and owner of SU MISURA JOURNEYS, a boutique travel company connecting people to the artisans of Florence. She emigrated, with her parents, from Italy to New York City in 1959. In her pre-writer life, she worked as a foreign language teacher, management development specialist, and fragrance/cosmetics executive. Gabriella is a strong advocate of the arts, of multiculturalism, and of social justice—a passion inspired by reading Dickens and Dante at a very young age. She has been an active volunteer with Dress for Success for over eight years and is a member of the Slow Food NYC Food and Farm Policy Task Force. She lives on the Upper West Side with her husband, her daughter, her mom, and a furry Shih–Tzu named Oreo. ‘ The Artisan’s Star’ is her first novel. She is currently working on a collection of short stories, also set in Italy, and a screenplay.