This Most Amazing

| August 10, 2014


This Most Amazing

This Most Amazing – multigenerational love stories that span two continents and two centuries. Join the quest for answers: can passionate lives from the past resurface in ones in present day?

In 1797, in the mountains of Italy, Vincenzo Lupo deserts Napoleon Bonaparte’s army after he kills an Austrian boy during battle. Plagued with night terrors and guilt, he crosses the Apennine Mountains to reach his village, Villetta Barrea.

In 2012, Italian-American Dahlia Conti teaches poetry in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in the United States. While leading a workshop on “found poetry,” she meets artist Jonas Nickle, and a passionate romance begins even though Dahlia is reluctant to be consumed by a relationship because she is about to embark on a new teaching job in Rome.

When Dahlia reaches Italy, she continues a long-distance relationship with Jonas, and while taking in the sights, smells, and tastes of Italy, something shifts in Dahlia’s body and mind. Not only has she traveled to a new country, when she sleeps, she travels to a different time where she re-lives scenes from Vincenzo’s life.

Drawing together two time periods along the same Italian landscape, these stories collide during Dahlia’s dreams. Experiencing what she believes are auditory and visual memories where she embodies Vincenzo, or his lover, Ottavia, Dahlia searches for answers to the mysteries of Vincenzo’s life: what happened after his fellow villagers put him in jail for desertion? Here he fell in love with the doctor’s daughter, Ottavia, who supplied Vincenzo with meals. Were they able to fulfill their romance outside the jail cell?

Dahlia pulls her own lover along in this search, answering the past with new life. In This Most Amazing, a historical romance reaches a modern female artist, and in this curious mix, creation means redemption.

“…a thoroughly enjoyable read”

Francine Howarth – Romantic Historical Reviews

“Reminiscent of Tracy Chevalier’s The Virgin Blue […] Benjamin’s prose is evocative, her characters finely drawn, and the worlds she creates for us give us new ways to think about our own.”

Melissa Schoeffel , author of Maternal Conditions:

“Readers will be absorbed in the story, but they will also be intrigued by its central question: how does the past endure, not just in history but in our own bodies?”

Angela Sorby, author of The Sleeve Waves:

Who I am

I am a freelance writer and teacher. Over 30 of my poems have appeared in journals, including DIAGRAM, Fulcrum, Chelsea and the Crab Orchard Review. I live in Milwaukee, USA with my 3 daughters. As an Italian-American whose family comes from Villetta Barrea, Italy, the main setting of the novel, my inspiration stems from a family story: my paternal great-great grandfather fought with Napoleon’s army. After a time, he simply walked home and fell in love with his future wife, who brought him food in the village jail every day. This Most Amazing is my first novel.

For years, poetry was the focus of my writing, and I dabbled in fiction, creating a few unfinished or unpolished novel manuscripts that had no action. In 2009 I finally figured out how to tell Vincenzo’s story, which meant wedding the storyline with the modern character of Dahlia. With some years of freelance writing under my belt and after reading more about the craft of fiction writing, I learned to animate my characters. I could make a character do something as in example A) “I’d love to take you out on a date,” he said, gazing into her eyes. Or I could change the character with something like example B) “I’d love to take you out on a date,” he said while picking his ear with a car key. Ta-da: two completely different characters are born with the change of one descriptor! With this knowledge, I fell in love with fiction writing, and now, I’m addicted.


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