Another of my vacation reads this summer was Autumn Crush, by Andrew Eustace Anselmi.

From the book summary:

Guy Bennett was one of America’s post-World War II success stories. Born of Italian immigrants during the Depression, he became a captain of industry, with a skyscraper in New York City and a son in the United States Senate. The applause mutes and friends grow scarce, however, when Guy stands before the court in 1989 accused of the double murder of his business partner, Vito Petrozzini, and Petrozzini’s wife. District Attorney Thomas Straid, still licking his wounds from his senatorial defeat to Guy’s son, believes he has all the evidence that he needs to throw away the key on Guy. The defense spans the globe and reaches back generations in search of an acquittal, unearthing a family secret that reveals the cold and devastating truth. In the end, a diminished yet renewed Bennett family gathers for their annual rite of making wine, which they call The Autumn Crush. The book is not only a murder mystery and family saga, but also a probe of the incipient cultural tensions and narcissism of the late twentieth century that are now part of the new American fabric.

This book told me more of the Italian immigrant story than I had ever really read before, giving me an appreciation for how difficult it would be to give up everything you know in search of a better life.

Guy Bennett truly is a success story. He adores his family and wants the best for them. He’s worked hard for his wealth but still feels a bit the outsider.  While he wants happiness and success for his children, he also strives to hold onto some of the old Italian traditions.  I enjoyed reading about Guy’s father’s journey to America and how he built a life for himself despite not knowing the language and having to work terribly hard for anything he wanted.

And while they aren’t perfect, I like Guy and Marie’s children. They’re trying to find the right balance of modern Americans against the Old Ways. That inevitably leads to conflicts within the family.  Add in the murder trial, and it’s a good mix of conflicts on multiple levels.

It took me a bit to get into the novel, and sometimes following the broken English was tedious. But upon reflection, that is important. It gives you a perspective on how difficult it is for someone who isn’t a native speaker. The opera background knowledge was something new as well.  So while this one started with a slow burn, I did enjoy the story and the resolution of the mystery.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.