This exquisitely written novel 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.
“A slim book with outsize ambitions, an engaging subtle look at the complicated history of a family and a country . . . impressive . . . Her compact prose is studded with rich and telling detail . . . compelling.” ---Los Angeles Times
“Written with a passionate clarity and with surprising wisdom, Inheritance is possessed of a genuine fictional beauty.” ---Chuck Wachtel, author of Joe the Engineer
“Although it’s barely 200 pages long this first novel has enough plot for several books. Danford juggles this with aplomb. She is an old-fashioned storyteller.” ---The New York Times Book Review
“Danford displays remarkable stylistic prose.”---The Boston Globe
“In Natalie Danford’s 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