The Sisters Mallone by Louisa Ermelino
Una Storia di Famiglia

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The Mallone sisters look Irish, but don't let their blue eyes fool you. "It's all in how you say it," their grandma Anona proudly says. "Ma-llone is Irish. Mal-lon-e is Italian." Growing up Italian in the 1920s, in Hell's Kitchen, an Irish enclave, requires toughness, thrift and a calculating mind -- even for the three beautiful Mallone sisters. Helen married Irish, but her husband died young and drunk, under the wheels of a beer delivery truck. Since then, she's lived the life of a libertine, frequenting dark nightclubs where she all too often catches a glimpse of her brother-in-law Frankie, checking out the sweet young waitresses and cigarette girls. Helen and Mary, who's married to a bighearted mobster twenty years her senior, have never trusted Frankie. Frankie's charm and good looks swept their baby sister Gracie right off her feet, but he's a flirt and a complainer. Besides, his mother never had any use for the Mallone girls. She wanted a girl from Little Italy for her Frankie. Countless times, Gracie has come to her senses and left Frankie, packing up little Charlie and heading uptown to Anona's, threatening never to return. But Frankie always repents, begging and wailing under Anona's window until he changes Gracie's mind. This time, Helen and Mary have had enough. They want to ensure that Gracie and Charlie have the lives they deserve -- even if they have to take drastic measures. They have it all planned out. And the first step is to catch Frankie in the act of infidelity.... "The Sisters Mallone" is a black comedy about the power of sisterhood and the importance of family -- and family connections. Through irrepressible characters, and infectious andsuspenseful writing, "The Sisters Mallone" reveals the American immigrant's dream -- with a twist.

About Louisa Ermelino

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Louisa Ermelino is Chief of Reporters at InStyle magazine and the author of the novels Joey Dee Gets Wise and The Black Madonna. She lives in New York City with her husband, Carlo Cutolo, and daughters Ruby, Lucy and Ariane.
Published May 28, 2002 by Simon & Schuster. 304 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Helen and Mary quickly quit school and run with a gang of kids, often dressing in boys’ clothes, but when Helen is arrested, 13-year-old Mary dolls herself up and solicits the help of much-older Nick Andersen, a lieutenant of mobster Owney Madden.

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Publishers Weekly

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Mary and Helen's solution to the Frankie problem is surprisingly cold-blooded, even though it's heavily foreshadowed from page one, but this is balanced nicely by Ermelino's breezy narrative style and boisterous dialogue.

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Book Reporter

In THE SISTERS MALLONE, a talented writer has finally created independent female Italian-American protagonists not afraid to stand up for themselves --- especially with the men in their lives.

Jan 23 2011 | Read Full Review of The Sisters Mallone: Una Stor...

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