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The Madonna of The Mountains

Elise Valmorbida

Cousin of My Brilliant Friend, niece of Tracy Chevalier and acquaintance of Anna Hope, we are delighted to introduce Maria Vittoria, a new literary companion…

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Shortlisted for the Edward Stanford Award
2019 Walter Scott Prize Academy Recommended

1923, north-eastern Italy: Maria Vittoria’s father has left the village to find her a husband. He has taken his mule, a pack of food and a photograph of Maria. There are no eligible men in this valley, or the next one, and her father will not allow her to marry just anyone.

Just as Fascism blooms in the country, the crops ripen, and the state demands babies – a new generation. There is much work to be done, and Maria faces a stony path, but one she will surely climb to the summit.

Critic Reviews

A bewitching, but entirely unsentimental portrait of one woman’s attempt to keep her family safe in turbulent times.

The Times, Book of the Month
Critic Reviews

A brutal, brutalising portrait of war . . . Lushly written . . . Evocative.

Sunday Times
Critic Reviews

With Mussolini’s propaganda promoting fertility as the female form of patriotism, Maria rises to her role as matriarch in this elegant, sweeping novel.

Big Issue
Critic Reviews

Elise Valmorbida’s writing brings Maria vividly to life and she is excellent on the small terrors of living in Mussolini’s Italy.

Antonia Senior, The Times
Critic Reviews

Elise Valmorbida writes vividly of family, faith and place, and renders the stoicism of Maria’s generation with an admiring eye.

Sydney Morning Herald
Critic Reviews

As harsh, as sweet, as bitter and as poignant as the Italian landscape it so beautifully describes.

Louisa Young, author of My Dear, I Wanted to Tell You

Elise Valmorbida grew up Italian in Australia, but fell in love with London. She’s a designer, writer and teacher of creative writing. In recent years, she produced a feature film. Her fiction includes Matilde Waltzing, The TV President and The Winding Stick. Her non-fiction includes SAXON – The Making of a Guerrilla Film, and The Book of Happy Endings, now…

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