Travel novels and non-fiction
by Veronica Di Grigoli
The Dangerously Truthful Diary of a Sicilian Housewife
An English woman takes on parenthood, the Mafia and a Sicilian mother-in-law, all at once.
When career-girl Veronica flies to Sicily for a friend’s wedding, she accidentally falls in love with one of the groom’s three-hundred cousins. A year later she has given up her job, house and friends, and is planning her own wedding with her Latin Lover in the shimmering heat of Sicily.
She suspects her seaside dream-villa is being built by the Mafia when the stubbly foreman visits, brandishing a large hammer and demanding more money. In shock, she learns her Sicilian spleen-sandwich and prickly-pear cravings are because she is pregnant. Still reeling, Veronica is challenged to a duel fought with wooden spoons over who is the better woman, when her rosary-flailing mother-in-law starts checking her son’s vests are ironed and inspecting the toilet bowl for subtle skidmarks.
Can resourceful Veronica solve her problems by pitching one adversary against the other?
Join her on an unpredictable journey of hilarity, reckless driving and dangerously large portions of spaghetti in this almost true travel-novel, for people who need more belly-laughs.
“A laugh out loud book about my favourite Mediterranean island. Warmly recommended to all travellers to that Sicily. Just read this for the second time and enjoyed it even more for the author’s wit, her love of the people of the village and the island, and for her acute understanding of the reasons they are what they are. What makes a Sicilian? Ask Veronica, she’ll tell you.”
The Godmother: The Sicilian Housewife Diaries Volume 1
The journal of an Englishwoman handling parenthood, the Mafia and a Sicilian Mother-in-Law in the shimmering heat, beautiful cultural heritage and downright chaos of Sicily. This is an anthology of blog-post style articles not available online.
‘The Godmother’, the first book in the series, introduces the formidable mother-in-law and godmother to seven children who dominates family life.
To understand Sicily’s present you need to understand her past. The author discusses, amongst other things, the Sicilian language, the role of women in Sicily and their portrayal in modern Italian media, the immigration crisis which began in Sicily in 2012, the fact Italians sell pasta for dogs, and some of the UNESCO world heritage sites that embellish the magnificent island of Sicily.
A passionate love of all things Sicilian combines with irreverent humour and a dangerously truthful way with words in this cultural and personal exploration of Sicily, past and present.
This anthology of articles was originally published online in 2012 but is now only available in print from all Amazon websites worldwide, and as an e-book (Kindle and other formats).
“Another amazing book by Veronica. She is so hilarious and informative, I would read anything she writes. Pure joy from cover to cover. I devoured it all in one day. If you don’t buy this book, you are missing out!”
“I whizzed through it. Very funny, witty and entertaining and it creates a vivid picture of the wonderful island of Sicily and its people, especially for those of us lucky enough to have visited.”
TIMES OF SICILY
“The author comes across as reminiscent of The Terminator……A joy to read.”
Evil Eye – The Orphan of Istanbul
How wicked could envy make YOU become?
Freshly graduated and orphaned at the same time, day-dreamy Celeste is hypnotised by the ethereal mosques and dazzling bazaars of Istanbul as an escape from all that hurts her. Yet running away from her problems only leads her into new ones.
Her students at the swanky language school seem more interested in their manicures than her English lessons. The morose caretaker of the orphanage where she volunteers stares at her boys like a vulture sizing up its next meal.
Worst of all, her landlady lets slip sinister comments that don’t make sense, leaves spine-chilling mystic charms around the house, and puts magic spells in places she should not be going.
When Celeste’s favourite orphan vanishes, she embarks on a frantic search through crowded bazaars and dangerous alleys, desperate to find one small boy lost in a city of ten million. But can innocent Celeste save the child, and herself, before someone destroys them?
“This is the first book I read by veronica Di Grigoli and I loved the atmosphere of Istanbul that it provoked. Even though it’s a story of danger and tension, it made me really want to visit the city – though I almost feel as if I have after reading this. I liked the way the book featured various different female characters – the mothers, daughters, women without children – the subtle way their attitudes and characters are shown is really thought-provoking far beyond the actual story in the book. It’s the kind of book that stays on your mind for a long time after you’ve read it.”
Friends with Secrets
Caught between a Colombian drug cartel and the Soviet Mafia, what would you do?
New York, 1993: Mistry thinks she has a safe job in a bank, but when she realises a client is using her to launder money, someone tries to kill her. How can she outwit a criminal who has already outwitted the police?
London, England: College teacher Crystal befriends a teenage language student from war-torn Georgia as he confides in her how his brother was kidnapped and held to ransom. A Colombian student, realising she has spotted him receiving a huge sum of cash, threatens to kill her if she tells the police. When another student vanishes, Crystal realises she has stumbled into a deadly conflict between a Colombian drug cartel and the Soviet Mafia. She already knows too much. Who can help her now?
As the net tightens around Crystal, and Mistry’s assassin tries to kill her again, they cross paths and realise their only hope is to unite forces. Two scared young women discover just how resourceful danger can make them. But are they in time to save each other’s lives?
“This is a tense thriller where the two protagonists are both women and the plot whizzes along at a fast pace, yet the author still builds up the characters and relationships between them so it is not just a plot-driven story, but has quite a lot of subtlety to it.”
Sicilian Card Games – An easy-to-follow guide
A simple guide to playing twelve classic Sicilian card games.
This book gives very clear instructions for twelve Sicilian card games, with photographic illustrations. It is the only book of Sicilian card games in print worldwide.
Sicily has its own unique deck of playing cards, and lots of games exclusive to the island. Card games are an indispensable part of the festivities at Christmas, Easter and other family gatherings.
Many games are simple enough to be enjoyed by young children as well as older players. They are hilarious, but a great way to make children practise mental arithmetic without realising it.
Other games are more complex and quite challenging. Most village squares have a full-time squadron of old men who play complex card games – often placing large bets – to pass the time. They shout loud enough to startle the dead and smack their winning cards down like a butcher hacking through bones with a meat cleaver.
The games in the book are: Buona sera Signorina, Cavalli, Cu cu!, Camicia, Asino, Sette e Mezzo, Trentuno, Centocinque, Brìscula, Tresette, Terziglio, Scopa. The book includes an interesting explanation of the origins of Sicilian playing cards.
“This book rocks! The instructions are clear and detailed — it’s easy to get a game up and running. I’ve taken this on trips with me, along with a deck of cards I got on Amazon. It’s a great way to have fun with a group, especially one with a mix of kids and adults. Perfect travel size, too. Not only are the games fun to play — the book itself is fun to read. The instructions are entertaining and there are pages on the history of the cards and the cultural context in which they are played, rendered in a light, vivid style.”
Full-colour, large format gift edition
How to Protect Yourself against the Evil Eye
An explanation of what the evil eye is, and how people have fended it off, from ancient times to the present day
Since Neolithic times people have feared the evil eye – the potent stare of an envious person, believed to cause sickness, suffering or even death.
This is an intriguing and entertaining book which explains where the Bible, the Koran and most religions warn of its dangers and offer defences against it, as well as revealing the more ancient secrets of amulets, purifying rituals and protective gestures still used across the world to this day. After reading this book, you will never see the world in quite the same way again.
The author, who studied Classical History at Cambridge University, interviewed shamans and believers in the evil eye around the world to research this book, which has over 80 illustrations.
“If you’ve ever been curious about symbolism and ritual associated with the evil eye, or want to learn how to protect yourself from a malicious or jealous neighbor, this book is the answer. Veronica Di Grigoli has the depth of knowledge of a university professor and takes the reader on an adventure through symbolism and history that would rival any Dan Brown thriller. A fascinating and easy read that keeps readers turning pages.”
Do you want more information on any of these books? Visit the author’s website