Book Review | How Fires End by Marco Rafalà #howfiresend @tlcbooktours @sicilianaut @amazonpublishing

Welcome to our stop on the blog tour for HOW FIRES END by Marco Rafalà.  Thanks so much to TLC Book Tours for including us on this tour.

Please note:  I received a free advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. This has no effect on my opinion, review, or rating.

Genre: Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction

Published: 10/15/19

Pages: 400

My Thoughts:

This was a different book from the ones I tend to reach for, but I am so glad I did! I can not believe that this beautiful and complicated story is a debut. I read this one slowly and carefully because the writing was so intense and descriptive.

The characters of David and Salvatore and Vincenzo and Nella were fascinating and I was completely absorbed in the story. It’s interesting when an author decides to begin the book with the conclusion and then go back and explore the how’s and why’s . In this case we meet David and his Sicilian father Salvatore and then after a deeply shocking event, we go back to 1943 Mellili, Italy to Salvatore’s and his sister Nella’s youth. From there, as the post war events unfold, the author slowly reveals what happens when tragedy and fear and secrets collide.

The author who is (no surprise) Italian American has written a moving and impassioned novel that is both historical fiction and intense drama. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a sweeping family saga with themes of guilt, revenge and redemption.

Goodreads | Amazon

About the Book:

A dark secret born out of World War II lies at the heart of a Sicilian American family in this emotional and sweeping saga of guilt, revenge, and, ultimately, redemption.

After soldiers vacate the Sicilian hillside town of Melilli in the summer of 1943, the locals celebrate, giving thanks to their patron saint, Sebastian. Amid the revelry, all it takes is one fateful moment for the destiny of nine-year-old Salvatore Vassallo to change forever. When his twin brothers are killed playing with an unexploded mortar shell, Salvatore’s faith is destroyed. As the family unravels, and fear ignites among their neighbors that the Vassallo name is cursed, one tragedy begets another.

Desperate to escape this haunting legacy, Salvatore accepts the help of an Italian soldier with fascist ties who ushers him and his sister, Nella, into a new beginning in America. In Middletown, Connecticut, in the immigrant neighborhood known as Little Melilli, these three struggle to build new lives for themselves. But a dangerous choice to keep their secrets hidden erupts in violence decades later. When Salvatore faces tragedy, they all learn too late the price sons pay for their fathers’ wars.

Written with elegiac prose, How Fires End delves into the secret wars of men; the sins they cannot bury; and a life lived in fear of who will reveal them, who will survive them, and who will forgive them.

About the Author:

Marco Rafalà is a first-generation Sicilian American novelist, musician, and game writer for award-winning tabletop role-playing games. He earned his MFA in Fiction from The New School and is co-curator of the Guerrilla Lit Reading Series in New York City. Born in Middletown, Connecticut, he now lives in Brooklyn, New York. How Fires End is his debut novel.

For more information, visit

Follow Marco on Twitter and Instagram.

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