Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Book Review: Sofia's Tune by Cindy Thomson

From Amazon: 

In Sofia's Tune, we meet Sofia Falcone, a young woman who has been living in New York only a short time when she is stunned to discover a family secret, one that soon sends her beloved mother into a mental institution. Scrambling to keep her job and care for her mother, Sofia is convinced confronting the past will heal all wounds, but her old world Italian family wants to keep the past in the past.

During this time, she encounters Antonio, a Vaudeville pianist with a street-smart dog, seeking to discover why his father was mysteriously killed. Their crossed paths uncover a frightening underworld in Little Italy. Bringing the truth to light may cost Sofia's mother's sanity, Antonio's career, and the livelihoods of countless immigrants. Change is on the horizon, but it may not bring what they expect.

My Review: 

Sofia’s Tune, by Cindy Thomson, is the third book in her Ellis Island series. I greatly enjoyed Grace’s Pictures and look forward to also reading Annie’s Stories. Hawkins House, a boardinghouse ministry to young immigrant woman, is an important element in Sofia’s Tune as it was in the first two novels of the series.

Sofia Falcone’s route to Hawkins House is not direct, as an immigrant off the boat. Her family, or la famiglia, as it’s called in Little Italy, is going through a difficult time. Sofia learns that the strange loneliness in her heart is not imagined, but caused by the loss of her very own twin. Her parents refuse to discuss the cause and her mother spirals into deeper cyclical depression. This brings on a need for Sofia to leave home for a time.

Antonio Baggio, whose murdered father came from farther north in Italy, is dealing with problems of his own. Wanting closure, he seeks to find who killed his father and why. In the mean time, he works toward a dream of furthering his musical education by earning money with his talent at the piano and organ.

Eventually their paths cross. Sofia and Antonio each seek a separate truth. For Sofia it’s vital to her sense of wholeness. For Antonio he hopes to gain resolution and a sense of peace. They are led to the same person and place as they search for very different answers.

Cindy Thomson opened my eyes to the plight of twin-less twins with the emotional sensitivity of her writing. Her in-depth detail of surroundings and customs drew me right into the sorrows of the Falcone family and brought Little Italy to life for me.

The author also brings humor and heart in the form of Antonio’s four-legged friend, Luigi, as he loyally follows his master. The mysteries of the Baggios and Falcones will keep you turning pages even as their paths intertwine in unexpected ways.

The reader will enjoy the warmth of Hawkins House and all its characters. Sofia, used to keeping family business to herself, as custom demands, blossoms as she finds haven there.

While I would have loved to see deeper development in the relationship between Sofia and Antonio, the characterization and conclusion are still satisfying. Sofia’s Tune proves to be an enjoyable read, bringing closure to a historically rich trilogy. 

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