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My Dear Antonio

From Novelist Ryan Byrnes, Winner of the 2020 Independent Publisher Book Awards

 

A Love Story of Italian Immigration, From the Great War to the Great Depression

 

"Sweeping and deeply felt, if you love history and love, then Ryan Byrnes's My Dear Antonio is for you."—Kathleen Rooney, Bestselling Author of From Dust to Stardust

 

"Ryan Byrnes's My Dear Antonio conveys the serpentine immigrant experience of two Italian Americans with warmth and authenticity."—Sophie Perinot, Award-Winning Author of Médici's Daughter

 

"Pure literary alchemy...Impeccably researched as well as heartfelt and captivating, this is a must-read for fans of historical fiction and true-life love stories alike."—Erica Obey, Award-Winning Author of The Brooklyn North Murder

 

In 1912, after barely medicating herself against a near-fatal asthma attack, Sicilian emigrant Anna DiNicola reluctantly leaves her family’s Brooklyn tenement to seek a cure in the balmy climate of Tunisia. She is one of the few American immigrants to return to the Old World. In Tunisia, she detests how her asthma renders her dependent on her aunt, so she works for independence by learning to weave traditional wedding shawls for the Sephardic Jewish community. However, her apprenticeship comes with an expectation that she will marry her mentor’s son while her heart lies with someone else.

 

Antonio Orlando, a Sicilian native, dreams of working in his father’s barber shop. However, mafia shootings force his father to close the shop and emigrate to America, abandoning Antonio in the Old World. To avoid slavery under the mafia, Antonio moves in with his uncle, a barber in Tunisia. Antonio swears he will one day return to Sicily and rebuild his family’s barber shop, hoping it will inspire his father to return. He befriends Anna during her regular haircuts and begins to wonder if home is not a place but rather a person. When he accepts a betrothal to his cousin that would enable him to return to Sicily, Antonio must choose between his duty to family and his heart.

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