The Patron Saint of Second Chances
by Christine Simon
Publication Date April 12, 2022
Published by Simon and Schuster
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Genres: Fiction / Friendship, Fiction / Humorous / General, Fiction / Literary
***I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.***
The self-appointed mayor of a tiny Italian village is determined to save his hometown no matter the cost in this charming, hilarious, and heartwarming debut novel.
Vacuum repairman and self-appointed mayor of Prometto, Italy (population 212) Signor Speranza has a problem: unless he can come up with 70,000 euros to fix the town’s pipes, the water commission will shut off the water to the village and all its residents will be forced to disperse. So in a bid to boost tourism—and revenue—he spreads a harmless rumor that movie star Dante Rinaldi will be filming his next project nearby.
Unfortunately, the plan works a little too well, and soon everyone in town wants to be a part of the fictional film—the village butcher will throw in some money if Speranza can find roles for his fifteen enormous sons, Speranza’s wistfully adrift daughter reveals an unexpected interest in stage makeup, and his hapless assistant Smilzo volunteers a screenplay that’s not so secretly based on his undying love for the film’s leading lady. To his surprise—and considerable consternation, Speranza realizes that the only way to keep up the ruse is to make the movie for real.
As the entire town becomes involved (even the village priest invests!) Signor Speranza starts to think he might be able to pull this off. But what happens when Dante Rinaldi doesn’t show up? Or worse, what if he does?
A “hilariously funny and beautifully written” (Julia Claiborne Johnson, author of Better Luck Next Time) novel about the power of community, The Patron Saint of Second Chances is perfect for fans of Fredrik Backman and Maria Semple.
The Patron Saint of Second Chances is a fun romp in a tiny Italian town with an interesting cast of characters that made me laugh. I enjoyed the look into small-town life in Italy and enjoyed these lovable characters.
Signor Speranza is a vacuum cleaner repairman in the tiny Italian town of Promette, population 212. He considers himelf the self-appointed mayor of the tiny village and when a plumber gives him a 70,000.00 euro price to fix the water pipe that brings water to the village, Signor Sperenza knows the village doesn’t have the money to fix the pipe, and water will soon be shut off to the village unless something is done soon.
When a customer comes to his shop and shares photos of the famous Italian actor, Dante Rinaldi, Speranza decides to tell the village that Dante is filming a movie in their tiny village in hopes of getting the villagers hopeful and inspiring some tourist activity to help pay for the expensive plumbing repairs. But, very quickly, things get out of hand as all the villagers want a part in the film and are very excited about the film. Speranza’s employee, Smilzo, also writes a script, and then Dante’s agent calls Speranza asking for details on the movie.
This fun, over-the-top, story is told in a conversational tone and I was able to read it very quickly. I loved visiting this small fictional village and I was immersed in the characters and the story from the very beginning. Some of the stories are a bit over the top and unbelievable, but I was fine with that. It’s fiction! The small lie that Speranza tells soon becomes a huge, tangled web of lies, and I couldn’t figure out how he was going to get out of the mess he made.
I recommend The Patron Saint of Second Chances to anyone who loves a good story. I received a complimentary copy of this book. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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