Friday, September 25, 2009

The Christmas Glass-Marci Alborghetti

The Christmas Glass
Marci Alborghetti
Guidepost Books, Oct 1 2009, $15.99
ISBN: 9780824947767

In 1940 as Mussolini brings Italy into the European war on the side of Germany, the widow Anna runs a small orphanage that quietly has given shelter to Jewish children. Although she knows she is doing the right thing by allowing the Jews into her orphanage she has one regret. Anna fears the Fascists will destroy her family heirloom given to her by her mom, a dozen hand-blown Christmas ornaments, in retaliation for housing the Jews. Refusing to allow the kids to be kicked out, she carefully wraps the precious twelve and sends them to her married cousin Filomena, mother of twin toddlers. When the war ends, Filomena and her family leave Europe for America.

Over the decades, the glass ornaments are passed around the family so that twelve different people possess one each. In 2000 octogenarian Filomena fears her family has lost its way as nothing brings them together. As the matriarch and with a nod to Anna, Filomena demands the return of the twelve ornaments to be delivered in person by the family member possessing it. This will be a Thanksgiving to remember as a lovely reunion or the end of the tenuous ties.

This is an engaging family drama that feels relevant in today’s shrinking world in which ironically extended families are moving further away from one another. The story line focuses a chapter each on the twelve possessors of the CHRISTMAS GLASS so that the readers learn what each person thinks with Filomena being the past owner. In some ways anecdotal rather than a linear plot, Marci Alborghetti provides a deep look at what denotes family just prior to the twenty-first century.

Harriet Klausner

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