Author Carolyn Marsden’s latest novel, Take Me with You is set in an Italian town in the years closely following WWII.
Raised in an Italian orphanage, a young, bi-racial girl named Susanna and her best friend, Pina, want to be adopted (or, better yet, reclaimed by the parents who left them there as much younger girls), but fear being separated, as each considers the other her BFF and her OFF (only friend forever).
The book’s jacket says “Set in Naples, Italy; Take Me with You is a lyrical novel that follows the friendship of two girls and touches on the themes of identity and the meaning of home.”
I picked this novel up on the new books cart recently, started to scan it, and couldn’t put it down. Both Susanna and Pina, now bridging on their teen years, are desperate to discover their true parentage. Pina’s mother does live nearby, but has built her “new” life around her new family, and that family doesn’t include Pina. Heartbroken, Pina turns to Susanna, who has just learned that her father, an African American serviceman, will be coming to “claim” her and take her to America and a new home. Susanna is torn…between being unsure of her future and her concern for her friend. The novel’s ending could suggest a sequel because the girls’ futures are left open and unsettled.
While the main characters in this novel are female, it would make a good historical fiction read for anyone. This could even be a good classroom read-aloud.
Take Me with You