A Beautifully Woven Tale of Love and Family Secrets

The story centers on Matelda Roffo, an Italian grandmother nearing the end of her life, who decides it’s time to reveal her family’s hidden secrets. As she unfolds the past, we’re transported back to her mother Domenica’s life in pre-World War II, Italy.

Domenica thrives in the coastal town of Viareggio, Italy until she is banished by the Catholic Church. Her journey takes her from the rocky shores of Marseille to the mystical beauty of Scotland and onto the dangerous streets of war-torn Liverpool.

Trigiani’s writing is lush and evocative. She captures the essence of Italian culture—the food, the landscapes, and the deep-rooted traditions. I could almost taste the homemade pasta and feel the sun on my face in her picturesque hometown. Another standout element of the book is the depth of its characters. The way Trigiani writes the three generations of women feels authentic and relatable.

What really struck me was the way Trigiani weaves the past and present together, showing how the choices and sacrifices of one generation echo through the lives of the next. It’s a reminder that the past, no matter how distant, shapes who we are and who we become.

One aspect I particularly enjoyed was Trigiani’s observations on the aging process. “When you see an old lady who’s on the wrong side of a good mood, now you know why. She has a past that you can’t understand because you didn’t live it. As she ages, her feet hurt, her back aches, her knees click, she cooks, she cleans, she worries, she waits, and then she gets sick and dies. Be kind, Anina. Someday you’ll be the old lady.” Oh, how I can relate!

The Good Left Undone is a poignant family saga. Trigiani conveys the beauty of Italy, the hardships of war, the taste of family recipes, and the enduring love of family. I give it 4 stars.

Posted in Blog, Book Reviews, Literature, Reading and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , .