The Courtyard of Dreams
Copyright © 2000
by Anna Monardo
How to Buy
Mary and Ross were students spending their junior year abroad in Rome when their daughter,
Natassia, was conceived on a dare: "Do it without birth control" another couple challenged.
"We'll do it if you do it." The young students' unmarried, self-centered, and overwhelmed,
abdicated responsibility to Ross's parents, who raised the girl in their intellectually
stimulating Manhattan home. Completing the circle of loving but less-than-perfect
guardians of Natassia's well-being were her godparents Nora and Christopher, a childless,
seemingly happily married couple.
Despite the absence of her mother, a world-class modern dancer, and her father, a
physician, Natassia thrives. When she is fifteen, however, a mysterious romance she's been
engaged in ends, and Natassia suffers a collapse that forces the adults to face their
deepest darkness. Mary, a Korean War baby, must provide the unconditional love she never
received. Ross, still in love with Mary after ten years' separation, must face the
consequences of his obsessions. And Nora and Christopher, burdened by a decades-old
secret, must use desperate measures to save Natassia, and their marriage.
from the publisher
A passionate novel about a dancer and her daughter as they rediscover the nature of grace.
Anna Monardo writes beautifully and vividly about the fusion of love and sorrow, about the
mystery of redemption. Ursula Hegi
The Courtyard of Dreams is an enchanting, lyrical love story.
From the twig of oregano in a baby's pierced ear to the Feast of San
Francesco, this is a wise and delightful book. Patty Dann, author
Monardo's sentences are as lyrical as those of her debut, The Courtyard of Dreams.
A first novel of great charm that attempts to penetrate the
unique genius of the Italian family, both in Italy and in its
American version....Monardo writes with an easy confidentiality, and
her affectionate appraisal of a world of kin, shrewd but without
bitterness, might remind one of an early Mary Gordon scan of
her Irish/American enclave. An alluring tribute to love of first
love, of family, of Italy. Kirkus Reviews
Giulia, the heroine of Anna Monardo's earnest first novel, The Courtyard
of Dreams, is a child of Italian immigrants who wants to be
all-American to date American boys, go to American parties
and, above all, attend college in New York City, where she hopes
to escape the strictures of her upbringing in suburban Ohio. But
when she spends a summer with relatives in Italy, all of Giulia's
prejudices about her heritage are upended, especially when she
falls in love with the enigmatic Luca. New York Times
Graceful. ... A big, completely absorbing, complex novel peopled by fascinating characters.
Falling in Love with Natassia
Copyright © 2006
by Anna Monardo
How to Buy
This culturally rich, poignant first novel tells
the story of Giulia Di Cuore, a first-generation Italian-American woman
struggling with the old-world values of her father, a psychiatrist,
as she discovers her place in the world as a daughter, as a woman, and as
Before seventeen-year-old Giulia spends the summer in Italy with her
father's brothers and their famiies, there is little doubt in her mind who
she is. She is American: she wants to date, listen to the Beatles, and go
to college in New York City. But since the death of Giulia's mother, the
mission of her stubborn and exacting Italian-born father has been to protect
from America: American ways, American boys, American freedom. Most
he wants Giulia to meet her family in Italy in the hopes of finding common
ground between his world and hers and improving their increasingly troubled
Although Giulia agrees to go ahread, she has no intention of enjoying
herself, let alone falling in
love with her Italian family, with Italy
itself, and, least of all, with a green-eyed handsome Italian named Luca.
Torn between her American values and her Italian heritage,
between her father
and Luca, Giulia is forced to come to a new understanding of herself and
her place in the world. from the jacket
A novel of great beauty and perception. Pat Conroy
An important novel which examines the metaphor of ocean crossings.
Teresa Picarazzi, University of Arizona
A passionate novel about a dancer and her daughter as they rediscover the nature of
grace within their bodies and their souls. Anna Monardo writes beautifully and
vividly about the fusion of love and sorrow, about the mystery of redemption.
Ursula Hegi, author of Stones from the River
Monardo has put together one of the most insightful, complex and deeply human stories
you'll read this year. Lincoln Journal Star