Book Review: Providence of Souls by Tonya Fraser


Providence of Souls by  Tonya Fraser

A Fiction Novel published by Amazon Digital Services (09/10/15)


“…all of my lies might unravel all the way back to Italy.” (Kindle Location 3427).

Cessarina had known wealth of family and joy before her family had been cursed with the evil eye. Her mother thought that praying to the family skull, Ambrogio, could help lift the curse and she went mad with her purpose, abandoning both Cessarina and her father and retreating into her own mind. Cessarina longed for a normal mother. The only way to fix her situation was to get out of it, but does she believe Ambrogio has the power to help her in a new world with new problems?


Skull, prayer, superstition, curse, evil-eye, America, Italy, immigration, family, jealousy, poverty, hard work, factory, sewing, sons, seeing beyond, gambling, death

My Review:


The language Tonya Fraser uses at times is very beautiful, “My fate seemed to be stitched into my soul as tightly as the lacework I toiled over. I was able to feel it, heavy in the air.” (Kindle Locations 3670-3671).

Cessarina is able to think about the bad choices she made, and although she at first attributes them to bad luck and Ambriogio’s lack of help, she is finally able to realize that at times she is at fault for her fate with her actions and lies and decisions.

Fraser starts many small story lines but doesn’t follow all of them through, leaving the reader without finality with some characters. The biggest question to me was what happened to Cessarina’s parents?

The part where Cessarina steals something didn’t go anywhere like I thought it would. It provided some tension when you thought she would be caught and her world would spiral further down, but nothing came of it and I felt that this part was unresolved.

This was a very well written book with an intriguing premise. It was a fascinating story about a young girl who takes her life into her own hands, even as she makes some decisions on a whim. Her story is that of an Italian immigrant trying to make her way in America with bad luck hanging just over her shoulder. Halfway through we switch to the stories of her sons and their tragic lives.

The whole book is one long tragedy and though it is hard to sit through so much suffering, it is also something unfamiliar to most American readers and therefore quite eye-opening in the description of the environment Cessarina and her boys lived in as poverty-stricken individuals in 1930’s New Haven.

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services on September 10th, 2015 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.25

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