D. L. Smith
Warner, Jan 2003, 22,95, 356 pp.
When his relationship with Marta Fortino ended with her marrying someone else, Leo Pizzola left for Chicago to make his fortune and find many women. Leo has no real ties in America after two decades of living there. When Leo inherits the family farm, he returns to his hometown of Santo Fico in Tuscany to make his fortune and find one woman, the widow Marta.
However, not only has the town remained extremely poor, the townsfolk are depressed also. Santo Fico is dying unless a miracle occurs and not the type used to “con” tourists into visiting the religious fresco depicting the miracles of St. Thomas. Leo tries to reconnect with Marta, but she rejects him. Desperate to win his beloved's heart and respect and to help his town, Leo decides not to wait for a celestial miracle. He plans to perform a more mundane one that hopefully will increase the “volunteer” tourist traffic, not just those caught on a one-way no turn around road into the town.
The characters are interesting in an offbeat manner that will endear them to the reader. However, though the theme of revitalizing life as an individual or as a town clearly rings throughout the tale, THE MIRACLES OF SANTO FICO lacks a strong centrist story line to anchor the plot. Thus, instead of a modern day A BELL FOR ADANO, the audience receives an intriguing three hundred plus page “long” short story that still grips the audience because of the caring nature of the cast.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner