It is 1943 and Santa Cecilia has become a village of women. All the young men are away at war, and for Vito Leone, time is short. A few months shy of the draft, he has begun to woo the beautiful Maddalena Piccinelli, the daughter of the town's most powerful family. No matter that her parents dismiss him as a mammoni, a mama's boy, or that her older sister has publicly called him a fool. But Maddalena sees the romantic side of Vito, his humour and his tenderness. As the war intensifies, so do her feelings towards her unlikely suitor.
When the Italians unexpectedly surrender to the Allies, the retreating German soldiers invade Santa Cecilia, forcing everyone to flee, except Vito and his mother. While the village is being shelled and looted, Vito, with ingenuity and boundless devotion, comes up with the perfect plan to prove that he is a suitor worthy of Maddalena.
When the Piccinellis finally return home to Santa Cecilia, they find some marvellous changes have taken place in both Vito and the village...
Christopher Castellani was born in Delaware to immigrant Italian parents. He lives in Arlington, Massachusetts. This is his first novel.