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Dancing on Sunday Afternoons    by Linda Cardillo order for
Dancing on Sunday Afternoons
by Linda Cardillo
Order:  USA  Can
Harlequin, 2007 (2007)
* *   Reviewed by Marie Hashima Lofton

Dancing on Sunday Afternoons is the first in the new Everlasting Love line from Harlequin. This historical romance is set mainly in the early 1900s, when thousands of immigrants arrived in America to start a new life.

In the present day, Cara Serafini's ailing grandmother gives her a set of letters that tell the tale of Giulia Serafini's life with her first husband, Paolo. They take the reader from Italy - where Giulia grows up amidst a large Italian family, complete with domineering grandmother - to the heart of 1900s New York. The grandmother's love helps shape Giulia, a girl known to be rebellious and hard to control. Life changes dramatically when her parents decide to ship Giulia and her two sisters to America to live with her eldest brother Claudio, who defied his parents by moving to America to start a new life.

Giulia was passionate and willful. In a time when girls were taught to be demure and shy, she was quite the opposite. In Italy she met boyfriends secretly at dances and alone in the fields. In America, she also caught the eye of several young men. Roberto was one, and another was Paolo, Claudio's business partner and good friend. It is their romance and great love that is chronicled in the letters that Giulia presents to her granddaughter Cara - the bulk of the novel centers on Giulia.

This is a must read for historical romance fans. It takes us back to a time and place where hard working immigrants who barely spoke English built up their businesses from the ground up. They married and lived among their own kind, and raised their kids to be Americans, but always with a link back to the homeland. Giulia was Italian down to her bones, but embraced the American way of life, as did her siblings. If fate had not led her to America, she would never have met Paolo, whose heart would take him away from her and into the world of the labor unions, where he tried to improve working conditions for others like him.

The sounds and sights of old New York come alive in Dancing on Sunday Afternoons, and any one who enjoys old fashioned romances that span decades will love this one. Don't forget the tissues!

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