Greetings Folks - Right before I left Louisiana, I checked out a book from the library. I quickly read it with the hopes of rereading it later. I had to return it before I flew back to California. It was good! However, I can't think of the title or the author.
Maybe you'll recognize this novel from my description. It takes place in Italy during World War One. The main character is the town buffoon who is quite inventive. He creates a bicycle out of parts he's found. He lets everyone ride this bike but the one person he has a crush on won't ride it. He's quite pursuasive and eventually she decides to ride it. When she does, she feels a wonderful sense of freedom. She and the town clown begin secretely seeing each other. She is the most beautiful woman in the tiny Italian village. Her family owns the local store. He takes care of his ailing mother.
They fall very much in love. The village is on a main road and the family is fearful as the war progresses. They pack up and move to an older aunt's farm. In time, he (and I can't think of his name) decides to try to go up to the village but he and his mother were robbed and they turned back. All the buildings in the town were devastated by the war. He decides to build back his girlfriend's family store and their home. When they eventually return, they are the only people with a house.
This does not endear the family to him. They still feel he is not a good match for their beautiful and favorite daughter. When a young man returns from America, bragging about how rich he and his family have become in New York, the family pushes her to marry him. She doesn't want to but the family threatens to disown her.
As time progresses, the town clown becomes a tailor after a long apprenticeship with an uncle. He marries the beautiful woman's older sister.
This book may even have been made into a movie. It has that feel to it. The author was Italian and a first time novelist. However, the book may have been written several years ago and he could have written other books by now. Does any of this sound familiar to anyone? Thanks! Salud