Luigina Vecchione develops a brave lead character, wiser than her age, and who is dedicated to her family, the kind of character I could not help rooting for when reading this charming book. Mariella and Jack’s story is hopeful but also realistic. It spans a couple of years and during this time, both do not forget the brief period where they met before Jack’s assignment to Japan. Though separated by language and thousands of miles, the two share a powerful bond. The novel is not your usual World War II love story. It is expanded by a traumatizing family secret that Mariella’s family does not want to address and Mariella also goes through other moving events. I highly recommend Greetings from Asbury Park for its imaginative plot and inspiring heroine.” – Edith Wairimu for Readers’ Favorite
Fifteen-year-old Mariella yearns for a new life. Since the Germans arrived in Rome, food has been scarce, and danger lurks around every corner. On top of that, she’s haunted by a childhood tragedy and weighed down with the responsibility of caring for her siblings.
Everything feels impossible. But when she meets Jack, a handsome American soldier with a crooked smile, her future doesn’t seem so dark. She gives him a tour of the famed Colosseum, then takes him to dinner with her family. Despite the language barrier, their connection is undeniable. They share the same scars. The following day, Jack has to ship off to Japan. Neither wants to say goodbye, but they exchange addresses and promise to keep in touch.
Over the following years, they try to move on while sharing snippets of their lives via airmail. But when Mariella suddenly goes quiet, Jack can’t ignore his feelings any longer.
This book takes the reader on a journey from war-torn Rome, Italy, to the sandy beaches of Asbury Park, New Jersey, in search of answers to the question – how much is too much to sacrifice for love?
“… sitting with you felt like home. Like the sound of cicadas buzzing on a sticky summer night or the smell of my mother’s cooking or… I don’t know, looking up at the stars in the sky and knowing they’re not going anywhere.” – Jack
About the Author
Luigina Vecchione is an actor and a writer. She’s lived, worked and raised a family on both coasts and in Europe. Now she is empty nesting with her husband in New York City. This is her debut novel.