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Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite
Ancora by Christina Rauh Fishburne is a tale like no other; original, infused with humanity, and filled with amazing characters. It starts with memories of Laura Maniani, a woman who could read Connecticut’s “palm on her face” — a very symbolic expression to convey what the city had done to the Italian woman. She is the woman who learned English from the movies, by renting one movie and watching it over and over. The reader is introduced to the life of Laura’s family, a home filled with many children, but then one person is always absent: Frank, who is described as not being a husband, regardless of his fathering the children — a man with red hair and unusual charm. Meet the six girls of this family and the boy who left home so often that he’d forget he belonged there. Lucia is described as “the little general, small, like a penny — a copper, tangy coin.” From the moment she learns what her mother is, Lucia begins to look at life and reality differently. But will she ever understand why?
Ancora is a riveting story, told in a voice that is humorous and that grabs the reader’s attention right away. The narrator captures beautiful images of places, enabling readers to understand what life was like in the '60s in Connecticut. Readers will enjoy the themes of love and family, and understand what the challenges of leaving home and embracing a new culture could entail for a young woman. The way relationships come out in this story is gorgeous. Christina Rauh Fishburne has a gift for character and the quirkiness that accompanies them enriches the narrative and pulls the reader deeper and deeper into the hearts of the characters. One of the things that kept me reading is the evocative nature of the prose — rhythmic and upbeat.