Stella Mia - Rosanna Chiofalo
Stella Mia is a beautifully written bitter sweet story that takes you on a journey from Astoria, New York to the streets of Sicily and Taormina, dancing with gypsies on the beaches of Italy, and breath taking views exploring various islands. Reading this book was almost like taking a trip to Italy.

Julia has lived without a mother since she was 3 years old. Her mother left and never returned. Her father refused to talk about her mother or why she left. Julia is in her 40s and married when she stumbles on a box of her mother’s things. Inside is a diary documenting her mother’s life. We learn about Sarina’s difficult life, childhood, abusive father and how she escapes her terrible circumstances. She makes friends with the gypsies who take her in and teach her to read tarot cards to earn a living.

We learn so much about Sarina’s interesting life and I really wanted Sarina to have her happy ending after so much suffering. There were several choices that she made throughout the book that I had trouble understanding or sympathizing with. I can only mention one of those choices here in order to keep things spoiler free. In all those years she could have contacted her daughter. She has her reasons for not doing so I just didn’t fully agree with or understand them.

Julia decides to finally track down her mother and get her answers. The end of the story tied up all the loose ends and all of my questions were answered. I didn’t walk away from this book feeling particularly happy but I did feel satisfied. Overall, I felt this book was well done.

-SW