I first met Carlotta Teresa Dominici Alverá while writing the second book in the Legacy Series. I didn’t know what to expect from the woman behind the black lace widow’s veil. She seemed hardhearted and judgmental. But as I traveled farther into the story, her personality blossomed. I wanted to get to know her better, so I sat down with her over some very strong coffee and some chocolate chip cookies. She does a sweet tooth.
Senora Alverá, welcome to my blog. Please tell my readers a little about yourself.
Carlotta: “I am so grateful to be here with you, Senora. I hope you will pardon my appearance this morning. I had so little time, you know? Americanos are always in such a hurry.” She gazes about her, taking in her surroundings. “I like this room. The sofa is quite comfortable. Not attractive, but adequate.” She turns her full attention to me. “I am born in Perugia. The Dominicis are well known in Umbria. We are an old family.”
I know you’re widowed, and you have a son…
Carlotta: (A smile lights her dark eyes). “Ah, yes, my Riccardo. He is very handsome. He has his father’s fine features and the Dominici coloring. We have the dark hair and eyes. He is a good son, even though he’s about to marry an Americana.”
Yes, Rebecca–what do you know of her? I believe you have met her before?
“We have met, at our villa by the sea. I was not impressed. She was a…how do you say…socialite? Her parents care not for her. She says they are busy. Yes, I think they are, too.” She covers her lips with her fingertips. “But I am not speaking of it, or I will have to go to confessional.”
But Riccardo loves her, so do you think she may have some quality you can admire?
Carlotta: (Scowling) “My son–he is bewitched by this woman. She is not even of his faith. I don’t think she has any faith at all. This is not how I raised my son.” She bites into her cookie and savors the taste. “And I think maybe her family is Irish, or Scotch, or something. Not a drop of Italian blood, Senora, or at least a little Spanish. You know my husband was Spanish.”
“Castilian–from a very good family. I am proud of the name Alverá. And he took the best care of my family’s vineyards at Tres Viti when he was in charge of it.”
Tres Viti Verdi – it’s a beautiful name. I believe it means, three green vines?
Carlotta: “Yes, my great-grandfather built it. He brought the best vines from three nations to develop a wonderful grape. We are now known, Senora, not for our wine, but for our juice, and our wonderful grapes for eating. Tres Viti also produces much fine olive oil. We have the best around.”
I’ve heard that. Let’s talk about your son for a moment. I know you are very proud of Riccardo. Does he do anything outside of home? I know he’s busy with the crops.
Carlotta: “Oh, we have a family, the Campis, who work the farm. Benito, or ‘Poppi’, as everyone calls him, is the best. We trust him with all that is ours. And his wife, Nonna…” (she kisses her fingertips) “…is the salt of the earth. She is my best friend–and their family–all of them work at Tres Viti.
Besides overseeing the workers at Tres Viti, Riccardo holds a very important position in our small village of Ginestra. He is a member of the planning committee. He has power…well, some…and the Mayor depends upon him.”
So does he hold political aspirations?
Carlotta: “What you are saying? Aspire? Does he aspire to politics? No, I don’t think so, though he could very well. And maybe Rebecca will want him to be a big man. Maybe she will push him to be so busy he will not have so much time for Tres Viti…and his mamma.”
Now, Carlotta, I think you can trust your son. So what about the legacy…you know, le eredità...what legacy do you hope to leave your family?
Carlotta: “So personal, this question. But I suppose is pertinent.” She looks at her hands, and I realize she’s holding her rosary. “Before I answer, I am wondering–will you be willing to give me the recipe for these wonderful cookies? I think Nonna would do a good job of making them.” She turned the cookie over, examining it. “I am a lover of chocolate.”
We have that in common. I would be happy to give you the recipe. Now, about the legacy–“
Carlotta: She points a finger at me. “You are always in such a hurry, Senora. You must learn to slow down. In Italy, we know how to live well. When we work hard, we take our rest. And such a question as the one you have asked me is so vital, we must give it time.” She spent a few moments, fingering her rosary and gazing about the room. When she brought her attention back to me, she smiled. “I’m thinking the most important thing to pass on to those left behind us is love, do you not think? To love is the greatest legacy.”
I agree with you.
Carlotta: “No matter how much you own, how many possessions, land, or money, or even gold, none of these things compare to love. It is the most important thing. And the love we have for our Savior, God’s love for us, is life itself.”
She’s right. And I think my opinion of Carlotta Teresa Dominici Alverá has changed. Where will her story lead? Will Carlotta come to accept Riccardo’s Americana wife? I hope you’ll want to find out. Carlotta’s Legacy is available at Amazon.com.
Her life is in a downhill plunge. Will marrying an Italian count bring Rebecca the love she’s dreamed of?
Rebecca Lewis is a reluctant bride-to-be. Marrying Riccardo Alverá, a young Italian count, may seem like a dream come true—an instant answer to her family’s dire straits. But it also means she must leave American soil, possibly forever.
Riccardo is relentless in his pursuit of Rebecca. After her father’s death, she and her mother set sail for Italy. Though Rebecca is still plagued by doubt, Riccardo’s warmth and humor soon melt the icy frost encasing her heart. But as Rebecca settles into his Italian villa, her questions and fears return.
His mother, Carlotta Alverá, is dedicated to strict Roman Catholic beliefs. Will she ever accept Rebecca, who has no real faith? After Rebecca’s mother decides to pursue life on her own terms, peace comes to the villa. But not for long.
Trouble finds Rebecca, even in the tranquil heart of Italy. As political unrest shakes the core of Italian society, a dark shadow falls over Riccardo’s beautiful estate. In her deepest despair, Rebecca confronts her past, finds forgiveness, and finally … the love and acceptance she’s always longed for.