OVERRIDE

Unto the Daughters

The Legacy of an Honor Killing in a Sicilian-American Family

Karen Tintori

St. Martin's Griffin

“Nearly every family has a skeleton in its closet, an ancestor who "sins" against custom and tradition and pays a double price. Karen Tintori refused to allow the truth to remain forgotten. This is a book for anyone who shares the conviction that all history, in the end, is family history.”--Frank Viviano, author of Blood Washes Blood and Dispatches from the Pacific Century

“Many books are called ‘page-turners’ by reviewers, but this one will truly have you glued to the turning pages for hours.”-- Comunes of Italy Magazine

Unto the Daughters reads like a nonfiction version of the film Godfather II--if it had been told from the point of view of a female Corleone.”--Eleni N. Gage, author of North of Ithaka 

Karen Tintori thought she knew her family tree. Her grandmother Josie had immigrated from Sicily with her parents at the turn of the century. They settled in Detroit, and with Josie's eight siblings, worked to create a home for themselves away from the poverty and servitude of the old country. Their descendants were proud Italian-Americans.

But Josie had a sister that nobody spoke of. Her name was Frances, and at age sixteen, she fell in love with a young barber. Her father wanted her to marry an older don in the neighborhood mafia--a marriage that would give his sons a leg up in the mob. But Frances eloped with her barber. And when she returned a married woman, her father and brothers killed her for it. Her family then erased her from its collective memory. Even 80 years and two generations later, Frances and her death were not spoken of, her name was erased from the family genealogy, her pictures burned, and her memory suppressed.

Unto the Daughters is a historical mystery and family story that unwraps the many layers of family, honor, memory, and fear to find an honor killing in turn of the century Detroit.

“Many books are called ‘page-turners’ by reviewers, but this one will truly have you glued to the turning pages for hours.  It's a must read for anyone researching their Italian ancestry.”-- Comunes of Italy Magazine

KAREN TINTORI is a writer and journalist who lives in Michigan with her family. Karen's books include Trapped, a 2002 Chicago Tribune favorite book, and The Book of Names (co-author), among others. Visit her website at: www.karentintori.com

“Nearly every family has a skeleton in its closet, an ancestor who "sins" against custom and tradition and pays a double price. Karen Tintori refused to allow the truth to remain forgotten. This is a book for anyone who shares the conviction that all history, in the end, is family history.”--Frank Viviano, author of Blood Washes Blood and Dispatches from the Pacific Century

“Many books are called ‘page-turners’ by reviewers, but this one will truly have you glued to the turning pages for hours.”-- Comunes of Italy Magazine

Unto the Daughters reads like a nonfiction version of the film Godfather II--if it had been told from the point of view of a female Corleone.”--Eleni N. Gage, author of North of Ithaka 

Karen Tintori thought she knew her family tree. Her grandmother Josie had immigrated from Sicily with her parents at the turn of the century. They settled in Detroit, and with Josie's eight siblings, worked to create a home for themselves away from the poverty and servitude of the old country. Their descendants were proud Italian-Americans.

But Josie had a sister that nobody spoke of. Her name was Frances, and at age sixteen, she fell in love with a young barber. Her father wanted her to marry an older don in the neighborhood mafia--a marriage that would give his sons a leg up in the mob. But Frances eloped with her barber. And when she returned a married woman, her father and brothers killed her for it. Her family then erased her from its collective memory. Even 80 years and two generations later, Frances and her death were not spoken of, her name was erased from the family genealogy, her pictures burned, and her memory suppressed.

Unto the Daughters is a historical mystery and family story that unwraps the many layers of family, honor, memory, and fear to find an honor killing in turn of the century Detroit.

“Many books are called ‘page-turners’ by reviewers, but this one will truly have you glued to the turning pages for hours.  It's a must read for anyone researching their Italian ancestry.”-- Comunes of Italy Magazine

KAREN TINTORI is a writer and journalist who lives in Michigan with her family. Karen's books include Trapped, a 2002 Chicago Tribune favorite book, and The Book of Names (co-author), among others. Visit her website at: www.karentintori.com

BOOK EXCERPTS

Read an Excerpt

Unto the Daughters
Chapter OneIf not for her father's passport, defaced but not destroyed, Francesca never would have surfaced. She would have remained a woman lost to history, her story swallowed in the depths of the Detroit River off Belle Isle.The passport was issued in 1914, during the reign of King Vittorio Emanuele III, just fifty-three years after the patriot soldier Giuseppe Garibaldi led the resurgence that unified a patchwork of city-states into a country called Italy. My family left Italy for America with a single passport. Issued to my great-grandfather, it included my great-grandmother
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REVIEWS

Praise for Unto the Daughters

“Many books are called ‘page-turners’ by reviewers, but this one will truly have you glued to the turning pages for hours.”-- Comunes of Italy Magazine

“Nearly every family has a skeleton in its closet, an ancestor who "sins" against custom and tradition and pays a double price -- ostracism or worse at the time, and obliteration from the memory of succeeding generations. Few of these transgressors paid a higher price than Frances Costa, who was brutally murdered by her own brothers in a 1919 Sicilian honor killing in Detroit. And fewer yet have had a more tenacious successor than Frances's great-niece, Karen Tintori, who refused to allow the truth to remain forgotten. This is a book for anyone who shares the conviction that all history, in the end, is family history.” --Frank Viviano, author of Blood Washes Blood and Dispatches from the Pacific Century

“Tintori’s poignant memoir of the recent discovery of her great-aunt’s murder deeply underscores her Sicilian culture’s troubling subjugation of its women.”-- Publishers Weekly

“Switching back and forth between rural Sicily and early 20th century Detroit, Unto the Daughters reads like a nonfiction version of the film Godfather II--if it had been told from the point of view of a female Corleone. In exploring her own family's secret history, Karen Tintori gives voice not just to her victimized aunt but to all Italian-American daughters and wives silenced by the power of omerta. Half gripping true-crime story, half moving family memoir, Unto the Daughters is both fascinating and frightening, packed with telling details and obscure folklore that help bring the suffocating world of a Mafia family to life.”--Eleni N. Gage, author of North of Ithaka 

“Many books are called ‘page-turners’ by reviewers, but this one will truly have you glued to the turning pages for hours.”-- Comunes of Italy Magazine

“Nearly every family has a skeleton in its closet, an ancestor who "sins" against custom and tradition and pays a double price -- ostracism or worse at the time, and obliteration from the memory of succeeding generations. Few of these transgressors paid a higher price than Frances Costa, who was brutally murdered by her own brothers in a 1919 Sicilian honor killing in Detroit. And fewer yet have had a more tenacious successor than Frances's great-niece, Karen Tintori, who refused to allow the truth to remain forgotten. This is a book for anyone who shares the conviction that all history, in the end, is family history.” --Frank Viviano, author of Blood Washes Blood and Dispatches from the Pacific Century

“Tintori’s poignant memoir of the recent discovery of her great-aunt’s murder deeply underscores her Sicilian culture’s troubling subjugation of its women.”-- Publishers Weekly

“Switching back and forth between rural Sicily and early 20th century Detroit, Unto the Daughters reads like a nonfiction version of the film Godfather II--if it had been told from the point of view of a female Corleone. In exploring her own family's secret history, Karen Tintori gives voice not just to her victimized aunt but to all Italian-American daughters and wives silenced by the power of omerta. Half gripping true-crime story, half moving family memoir, Unto the Daughters is both fascinating and frightening, packed with telling details and obscure folklore that help bring the suffocating world of a Mafia family to life.”--Eleni N. Gage, author of North of Ithaka 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Karen Tintori

  • KAREN TINTORI is a writer and journalist who lives in Michigan with her family. Karen's books include Trapped, a 2002 Chicago Tribune favorite book, and The Book of Names (co-author), among others.
  • Karen Tintori © Larry Belland
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Unto the Daughters

The Legacy of an Honor Killing in a Sicilian-American Family

Karen Tintori

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FROM THE PUBLISHER

St. Martin's Griffin

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