The Madonna of Pisano by MaryAnn Diorio

(TopNotch Press 2015) 

MaryAnn Diorio uncovers a deeply moving story of how sin can fester and unravel lives. Though the sin that was brought upon Maria was not her own, she harbored for seven long years vengeance against the one who destroyed her life and dreams.

As a teen, my favorite novel from school was The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. This novel by Diorio is a new, fresh retelling of the age-old tale.

Don Franco learns that sin, no matter how hard you deny it or try to keep it quiet, will rear its ugly head to wreak havoc upon a soul and body. Whereas Luca realizes that sin can disguise itself in the least suspecting of souls. And Maria learns that freedom comes with true forgiveness through the Grace of God.

The Madonna of Pisano brought to life not only the world of religious corruption, but also an inside look at Catholicism--even priests are human--, but also the hypocrisy of a small village. 

As Maria states: You believed a priest over a woman. A pastor over a violated parishioner. A so-called saint over a so-called sinner.

Those words hit hard, for we all are guilty to some degree of that accusation.

Diorio is also able to weave symbolism throughout. The sparrow and the crow come to mind; as does the storm which is no respecter to anyone in its destruction.

So natural was the faith in the story, the reader will feel the conviction and the freedom that God brings to the characters.

This a complex and inspirational book that is character driven in its content. I look forward to more about Bella Terra and more from MaryAnn Diorio. 


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