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A Kiss from Maddalena

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3.72 of 5 stars 3.72  ·  rating details  ·  551 ratings  ·  94 reviews
Some in Santa Cecilia think that a rich, beautiful girl like Maddalena Piccinelli wouldn't look at Vito Leone if he were the last boy on earth. But it is 1943, and Vito is nearly the last boy in the village-and in a few months, after he turns eighteen, the soldiers may come for him too. For now, he is determined to win her. And he is beginning to get past her self-containe...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published June 1st 2004 by Berkley Trade
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,041)
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Dardenitaaa
I’m very iffy about Romances and I swear it has nothing to do with my apparent lack of experience in the love department. Sure, I sit down for the occasional chick-lit from time to time, but I usually avoid hardcore love stories because most of the time they end up pretty much generic; it’s either too draggy and full of fluff that I get bored waiting for my tears to come out or it’s too plain melodramatic that I get bored to tears. I blame it on my having read Nicholas Sparks at age 9.

I am there...more
Michael
My entire Italian-American family has read this trilogy and we are head-nodding in agreement for our admiration. Castellani captures the Italian-American experience like few others.

But what makes A Kiss for Maddalena, The Saint of Lost Things, and All This Talk of Love remarkable is the realistic evolution of the characters. Maddalena the plucky country girl of book one becomes the provincial, ignorant and somewhat bigoted American housewife in book two. Her husband, Antonio the interloper, eve...more
Dianna
Downloading this on a kindle for a recent plane trip I was amazed to discover a real gem.

This story is set in Italy during and after WWII, mainly about the coming of age/love affair between teenagers Vito and Maddalena. It is reminiscent of the Romeo&Juliette saga. With a first-hand look of the war and how it affected Italy in its aftermath, we see families trying to live through and pick up the pieces (literally) of their war-torn lives.

The town of Santa Cecilia has many traditions and clo...more
Andrea
What a delightful slice of heaven this book was! I loved every word, and savored this book like a delicious Italian gelato. Romance, the Italian country side, coming of age, betrayal... This book had it all and had me in tears at the end. I'm happy to find the story continues in a second book, which I plan to start this week! I recommend it as a lazy, romantic book. Not a thriller or mystery that you can't put down, but definitely a page turner that gets you involved in its characters and where...more
Hannah Jane
Depressing, bizarre and disorganized. Oddly enough I was mildly impressed with his descriptions of the scenery. Kind of reminded me of Cormac McCarthy because I never really became enchanted with the story. Only with the imagery and descriptions.
Mehreen
Read this when it first came out. Its a trilogy and the last one was just released. Loved it - although that was a long time ago!
Natasha
it's sad...the ending wasn't what i was expecting at all!
Eva Carrasquero
A sweet book and nice easy weekend read!
Elaine Dimopoulos
Chris Castellani is right up there with the M.T. Andersons of the world, the writers who make the rest of us want to give up because we can never approach them in talent. To make matters worse, I met Chris at a PEN New England event, and he's an instantly likeable, charismatic, down-to-earth guy. Some people get all the breaks.

The beating heart of A KISS FROM MADDALENA is Vito, Vito, Vito. I love Maddalena, love her sweetness, her composure, her sense of duty occasionally corrupted by passion. A...more
Jessica
I saw this on the 101 Nook books under $2.99 list on Barnes and Noble and decided to give it a try. This book reminds me of so many other stories that I love. Set during and after WWII in Italy it's a story about living up to the expectations of others with a Romeo and Juliet-ish, in love but parents are in the way, sort of romance. This is not a 'bodice ripper' type of romance so if you're looking for that, don't look here.

Vito, a bit of an outcast and referred to as a mama's boy for caring for...more
Kathleen
Born after the end of World War II, my earliest memories are happy ones of family connections, a great sigh of relief followed by a time of great hope. My mother and aunts no longer had the responsibilities of juggling work shifts and child care. My father and uncles returned safely from their Europe and Pacific assignments.

In this first book of three about Maddalena Piccinelli and her family, Christopher Castellani captures a big story about a group of characters in the small town of Santa Ceci...more
Mari
(Edit after reading entire series: I'm adding back the star I deducted for being forced to part ways with the compelling and beautifully rendered young Vito Leone. I admit to a pang of reader rage at the end of the first book of the three, because it was clear that we would leave behind my favorite character. BUT the three-part series works so well with Maddalena at its center, and renders the Italian immigrant experience so poignantly and accurately, that I had to concede that I trust the autho...more
Deepa
Mar 13, 2008 Deepa rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people looking for a very quick, fluffy romantic read
I got this book from a friend's mom who said she absolutely loved it. It was very slow moving, so I was totally "meh" about the book until about 50 pages from the end, when basically everything turns on it's head in a pretty interesting way. At that point, I began to understand why these very slowly but intricately developed characters had been given so much thought, and the fact that I knew them all so well by that point made the end very heartwrenching, like it was happening to friends of mine...more
Ted
This romantic novel begins in a remote Italian village in May 1943, while Italy is still an ally of Germany. Vito, 18 years old, scrawny and relatively poor, falls for 16-year old Maddalena, the beautiful daughter of the owner of the town's general store. The book is mainly the story of their relationship through September 1945, after Italy has switched sides and the War has impacted their village and finally ended. Family loyalty, class differences, and religious beliefs at that time and place...more
Antof9
I have no idea where I got this book. It was at my house for ages, so I read it on the plane on a trip to my sister's house.

For some odd reason, this book reminded me of the movie "Life is Beautiful". And not just because it took place in Italy! :)

My heart kept breaking for Vito, while at the same time he wasn't a totally sympathetic character. Maddalena, on the other hand, I didn't feel like I knew well enough.

Loved the description of the town, the area, etc. I could actually see the town in m...more
Annie
This was another random choice from my groaning bookshelves - warm weather, italian romance I thought, but this isn't your classic love story. Set during the German retreat from the Allies, this is rural Italy in poverty and fear and that backdrop dominates - together with the idea of emigration to the US as an escape to paradise. Vito is a wonderful character - building a bike from its bits and selling rides for a kiss, he goes home each night to care for his mentally ill mother, and there are...more
Antonette Balde
The story is very realistic. The writing makes me feel like I'm in the book. Like I was there. That I know how the characters feel. The story is not a typical happy ending, but very satisfying.
Shelly
Mar 28, 2013 Shelly rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: WWII buffs
Recommended to Shelly by: Kindle Daily Deal
Really enjoyed this. Although set in my favorite time period centering on WWII, it was new material for me. I've not ever read any perspectives about Italy's involvement in the war. The story was interesting and the writing was enjoyable but I think the strength of the book comes from the character development and insight.
I also very much liked the way the loose ends were addressed at the end of the novel. In one or two paragraphs we saw where the characters progressed to and how each of their s...more
Anna
A deeply felt story, A Kiss from Maddelena is not your ordinary romance novel.

Christopher Castellani writes with the power and emotion of a more seasoned writer, proving that he belongs in the world of words.

Vito is immediately lovable, Maddelena is strong willed and sweet at the same time. The family members surrounding them are compliments and opposites.

The deep convictions of love are bound to prevail from the start. But, twists and turns change it's course, leaving the reader astonished. T...more
Alisha
This love story is set in Italy in WWII. I am not a fan of romance novels and this book could have taken that terrible turn, but it didn't. I felt I was actually getting a glimpse of the WWII experience through the eyes of the Italians. This story is beautifully written. I can't say too much for fear of giving anything away. I will say that my favorite character was Carolina . . . I think I am a lot like her. Maddalena . . . on the other hand . . . I wanted to grab that girl and shake her. I wil...more
Mara Gerloni
I liked it a lot, truthful Italian sceneries and caracters
Amanda
This book was a wonderful read. I felt instantly connected to the characters, and the setting was beautifully described. I could almost feel the Italian sun and smell the olive groves. The relationship between Vito and Maddalena was true, but I was constantly mad at Maddalena for not following her heart. I cheered for Vito the whole way, and the end of the novel was somewhat sad and heartbreaking. Over all, it was a well-written, highly emotional novel and I loved the reading experience.
Annette
This should be a 3.5 book.
Love story but with a twist - 1943, the small village of Santa Cecilia, Italy. Maddalena and Vito - their ups and downs and the twisted paths of love, family ties, and war.

A cast of small-town characters and young love. Hard to describe but a good read, will definitely read other books by this author. It was a Book Club choice (local author) so may not have read it otherwise, but glad it was chosen.
Jenifer
Loved it! Felt like I was sitting around the table hearing the older generations talk about the old country!
Gina DeJong
I gave up after page 82 - it was so slow. I really wanted to like it....especially since it is a series. But nothing was grabbing me and I found myself avoiding it!
Susan
Interesting historically, culturally, and romantically, this is the story of life in a small Italian town as WWI destroys lives. One small town with a large family is the focus here, and particularly the beautiful young Maddalena, coming of age and falling in love, but not with the man who would take her to America. First of a series, or trilogy, third book just published, I'm on to the second now.
Dianacrim
I downloaded this book from nook books under 2.99 looking for an inexpensive read from a different author. I loved this book and found myself pleasantly surprised that it had been found on a bargain search. His second novel, with a excerpt at the end, continues the story of this Italian family, and I will be continuing the read as well. My first read of World War II based in Italy. Recommend it!
D.
A sweet, sometimes bittersweet story. Clean and wholesome. The time and place were well crafted and it was a quick, easy read. But the end felt very rushed and it seemed like it was set up for a sequel without really completing the first books journey. So that brings the rating down from 3 stars to 2.5 stars. I enjoyed it, but it wasn't so good that I want to read more books in the series.
Nicole G.
Borrowed from a friend and read while waiting for my other interlibrary loan books to be dropped off. Wasn't sure as I was going to like it, but I did. It's kind of a love story, set during World War II in Italy, but it's not a flat romance. These characters experience so much, and you really feel for them, especially Vito. There is no neat ending, either, which I appreciated.
Barbara Maclean
Christopher Castellani creates characters that get under your skin and take you along on their rides - whether it's down a steep hill on a bike with no brakes or over the hills of Italy in a bumpy carriage , or even on the wild trajectory of a first true love. And he does so with simply elegant sentences. Thank God there are two more books to continue the journey.
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Christopher Castellani was born and raised in Wilmington, Delaware. His parents immigrated to the United States from a small village in Italy in the years following World War II, and their experiences have been a significant inspiration. A Kiss From Maddalena, Christopher's first novel, was published by Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill in April 2003, and was subsequently published in Australia, the...more
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