Juliet Grames & The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna

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The current Hot Book of the Week at The Poisoned Pen is Juliet Grames’ The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna. But, there are several fun facts you might want to know before diving into the blog. This is Juliet Grames’ debut novel, but she’s an editor for Soho Press, owned by Random House. Francine Mathews, an author at Random House, interviewed Grames for the event at the Pen. As Barabara Peters, owner of the bookstore, said, tables are turned, and an author gets to grill an editor. And, you can watch the program.

Signed copies of this Hot Book of the Week, The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna, are available through the Web Store. https://tinyurl.com/y4cusuq7

Here’s the description of the debut novel.

From Calabria to Connecticut: a sweeping family saga about sisterhood, secrets, Italian immigration, the American dream, and one woman’s tenacious fight against her own fate

For Stella Fortuna, death has always been a part of life. Stella’s childhood is full of strange, life-threatening incidents—moments where ordinary situations like cooking eggplant or feeding the pigs inexplicably take lethal turns. Even Stella’s own mother is convinced that her daughter is cursed or haunted.

In her rugged Italian village, Stella is considered an oddity—beautiful and smart, insolent and cold. Stella uses her peculiar toughness to protect her slower, plainer baby sister Tina from life’s harshest realities. But she also provokes the ire of her father Antonio: a man who demands subservience from women and whose greatest gift to his family is his absence.

When the Fortunas emigrate to America on the cusp of World War II, Stella and Tina must come of age side-by-side in a hostile new world with strict expectations for each of them. Soon Stella learns that her survival is worthless without the one thing her family will deny her at any cost: her independence.

In present-day Connecticut, one family member tells this heartrending story, determined to understand the persisting rift between the now-elderly Stella and Tina. A richly told debut, The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna is a tale of family transgressions as ancient and twisted as the olive branch that could heal them.

“Witty and deeply felt.” —Entertainment Weekly (New and Notable)

“The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna achieves what no sweeping history lesson about American immigrants could: It brings to life a woman that time and history would have ignored.” —Washington Post

*****

Now, Barbara Peters and Francine Mathews will introduce you to Juliet Grames, author of The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna.