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Reviewed by Joy Hannabass for Readers' Favorite
The Chiaravalle Family by Natalia Settembrini Casillas centers around the Chiaravalle and the Cavalieri families. Even though the Cavalieri family was very wealthy, and the family of Chiaravalle was not, they each faced the same love and loneliness, secrets and tragedies that life throws at them. Giovanna was happy being a servant for the Cavalieri family as Mercedes' personal maid, and they both got along well as friends. Mercedes Cavalieri had everything money could buy but when her father demanded she marry a man her senior, her life was ruined. That is, until Mercedes' father hired an artist to take several pictures to hang in their home, one being Mercedes herself. Her life was changed because she fell in love with the artist. But this love was not to be, because life continues to change for Mercedes, and she had only Giovanna to confide in. As the story continues, there's more to the lives of these two ladies than readers can imagine.
The Chiaravalle Family by Natalia Settembrini Casillas is full of complicated characters because of the bittersweet challenges life throws at them, especially Mercedes and Giovanni. There is so much going on in the lives of both of these women. The story covers many decades, and both Mercedes and Giovanna have such complex and heart-wrenching lives, it's a lot to keep up with. And throughout the years, as children grow up and marry and have more children, life seems to be difficult for all of the characters. My heart went out to many of them with the heartaches they faced. My favorite character is Vico, Giovanna's son, which in itself is a story. Vico grew up to be a very nice guy that was dedicated to his mom and family. His life wasn't without difficulty, and I think his story will stay with me for a while. All in all, this is a really good book to get lost in. I recommend it for those readers who love historical fiction, and those who just want a bit of entertainment.