DubaiReader's Reviews > Before The Earthquake

Before The Earthquake by Maria Allen
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Mar 26, 10

bookshelves: vine, 2010
Read in March, 2010 — I own a copy

An excellent debut.

I found this book a bit slow to get into, although I can't put my finger on quite why that was. It redeemed itself, however, towards the end, when I found myself rushing through the pages with my desire to solve the questions raised in earlier chapters. It was because of this that I rounded my 3.5 stars up rather than down.

Concetta is the central character - she finds herself trapped under rubble when an earthquake hits Southern Italy at the beginning of the last century. Unfortunately she has no memory of events in the months leading up to the earthquake, which takes on a new significance when she finds herself pregnant with no recollection of who the father was. True to the times, she is hastily married off, even though she is the youngest of three daughters and should have waited her turn.
She makes a brave effort to make her marriage a success and I couldn't help but feel for the two of them as they stumbled through the early months of their union while dealing with the knowlege that her pregnancy was illegitemate.
There are several other interesting characters, from both families, and we get to know these rural folk as the mystery surrounding the parentage of the baby is unravelled.

The time and place and the moral atmosphere are well evoked and it was an enjoyable first novel.
I shall be keeping my eyes open for other books by this author, I feel that she could well be an author to watch.
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