From a remote village near border between Italy and the Austro-Hungarian Empire unrolls the intimate story of Teresa and Carlo, two young people whose paths cross and recross as they are first impelled by parents, then forced by sweeping world events to leave their childhood homes for lives they never imagined.
Having left her mother and cherished dog Allucio, in Ulfano, Teresa works as a domestic servant in a large villa in Trento. She survives the Great War in the occupied city by banding together in a makeshift family with the other servants of the owners who have fled to escape the occupation.
Carlo, still new to Italy and with barely passable Italian, is just finding his footing in Trento, when he's dragged from bed at his boarding school, along with his classmates, and conscripted by the invading army. In a comical twist of fate, Carlo's childhood near the Colorado gold mines motivates his captors to place him with a company of miners tasked with digging entrenchments and bunkers. Out of sheer loneliness, Carlo writes letters to Teresa, a girl he met only once in Trento.
After the war, Carlo returns to Trento and reconnects with Teresa. Times are unsettled, as soldiers and those who fled the war flood back to the city and signs of the impending Influenza epidemic appear. With so much chaos, tradition gives way to new ideas, so neither worries about the consequences of their growing attachment. However, the same independence that has them dreaming of a future that didn't exist when they were children, may pull them apart forever.
About the Author
Don Zancanella is the author of two novels, Concord (Serving House Books, 2021) and A Storm in the Stars (Delphinium, 2022). He's the recipient of an O. Henry Prize and his collection of short stories, Western Electric, won the Iowa Short Fiction Award. He and his wife live in New Mexico and Idaho. Animals of the Alpine Front was inspired by his family's history in Italy and his wife Dorene's work with a dog rescue organization.
Praise for A Storm in the Stars: "In A Storm in the Stars, Don Zancanella brings to vivid life a fascinating cast of characters. Today Percy Bysshe Shelley, Mary Shelley, Lord Byron, and their artistic and eccentric friends may seem larger than life names captured in stodgy English Literature textbooks. Zancanella renders them extraordinary and yet vitally real, down to earth, and so very, heartbreakingly, young." -- Denise Giardina, author of Emily's Ghost
"An elegant sojourn in the early 19th century inspired by the travels and travails of the Romantic poets Shelley and Lord Byron. The world of this novel especially brings Mary Shelley's own brilliance to satisfying life." -- Alix Christie, author of Gutenberg's Apprentice
"With A Storm in the Stars, Don Zancanella brings the high stakes lives of the Shelley couple to turbulent life. This is a moving account of the making of a writer--of two writers--and the high-achieving early nineteenth century community of which they were a part." -- Fiona Sampson, author of In Search of Mary Shelley
"Don Zancanella breathes fresh life into the radical enchantment of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley and Percy Shelley--one of the great love stories of all time." -- Samantha Silva, author of Love and Fury: A Novel of Mary Wollstonecraft
"A panoramic sweep through the lives and viewpoints of the Shelley circle, this compassionate novel is beautifully told." -- Alix Hawley, author of All True Not a Lie In It