Natalie Danford's exquisitely written novel Inheritance asks a simple question: How well do we know our parents? One half of the story begins after the death of Luigi Bonocchio, an Italian immigrant whose daughter, Olivia, discovers a mysterious deed among his possessions. The deed is to a house in Urbino, Italy---the hometown he barely spoke of. Intrigued, Olivia travels there. At first she is charmed by the historic city, the relatives she’s not met before, and the young lawyer she’s hired to help her investigate the claim. But when Olivia tries to sort out the deed, she is met with a puzzling silence. Everyone in the town remembers her father, but they are not eager to tell his story. However, Luigi tells his part of the tale directly to the reader as the chapters alternate between Olivia’s search for the truth and Luigi’s account of his history. By the end of this skillfully constructed book, the reader understands both sides of a heartbreaking yet ultimately satisfying love story.
Praise for Inheritance by Natalie Danford
Inheritance, Olivia Bonocchio goes where each of us knows we should never go: past a father’s persona and into the sloppy, disconcerting truth of who he really was. Danford perfectly captures the dance between the kind of knowledge that can banish a person from the garden and the sort of truth that can set her free. Inheritance may be a debut novel, but the storytelling is so assured, it reads like the work of a reliable old pro---something Danford seems destined to become.” ---Mark Winegardner, author of Crooked River Burning and The Godfather Returns
“In prose that is as elegant as it is subtle, Natalie Danford captures the true essence of Italians, both in Italy and as Americans. Her portrayal of an Italian-American daughter’s return to her father’s homeland is beautiful and evocative.” ---Mark Rotella, author of Stolen Figs and Other Adventures in Calabria
“Natalie Danford’s engaging first novel dances elegantly between past and present, mystery and memory play, family drama and immigrant tale. Danford commands her tough, prideful characters with a sure hand and leads the reader on a memorable journey across the twentieth century in two countries.” ---Christopher Castellani, author of A Kiss from Maddalena and The Saint of Lost Things
“This seductive and beautiful debut crosses the border between modern America and World War II Italy, between the living and the dead, tracking one family’s hidden secret---and illuminating an entire world at the same time. Her characters are fragile, fearless, and achingly human, real people who will stay with you long after you’ve reached the book’s stunning final pages.” ---Allison Lynn, author of Now You See It
“Natalie Danford’s remarkable and engaging first novel reminds us that to truly understand one’s legacy isn’t just to hear, in the language of the present, the words sent from the past, but to know them as if you were there at the moment they were first spoken. Only then will the substance of what you have inherited---its dark mystery and its revelatory light---become truly yours.” ---Chuck Wachtel, author of Joe the Engineer