autumn crush book coverReviewed by Alysia George

An epic story of pursuing the great American dream, Andrew Anselmi’s novel, The Autumn Crush, follows the Bennett family from Aquino, Italy to New York. When Dante Di Benedetto, a passionate, hot-headed teenager, leaves his simple Italian life, working his family’s vineyard, for the possibilities and freedoms available in America, he can’t imagine the kind of legacy he will be building for generations to come.

The Autumn Crush is a riveting multi-generational tale of hard work, ambition, the fulfillment of dreams, and, most of all, the everlasting bond of family. When 17-year old Dante arrives in New York, he is so eager to become a true American, he changes his name to Bennett and resolves to do whatever it takes to meet his dreams head on. Savoring life in his new country, he begins to believe he can truly have it all. However, when tragedy strikes his family back in Italy, Dante is a changed man, and never quite reclaims his full vitality. Nonetheless, he does not waiver in his determination to succeed, to have a family of his own, and to give them the kind of life that wouldn’t have been possible back in Italy.

Decades later, Dante’s son, Guy, has taken those dreams and stretched them even further. Wealthy and prominent, the Bennett family seems to have it all, yet they still feel they have something to prove to their old-money contemporaries. Furthermore, Guy’s children feel the pressure to keep their father happy by staying true to their traditional Italian roots. When the family finds themselves in the middle of a terrible scandal, their strong bond will be tested, as well as their priorities. Have their ambitions ruined them, or can they salvage what’s most important?

Anselmi weaves an intricate drama, with unexpected twists at every turn. At its heart, The Autumn Crush is about the importance of family values, but it also has a strong element of mystery and suspense. The writing flows effortlessly, pulling the reader into a different world: from a small Italian village in the 1920’s, to Prohibition, the plight of immigrants in America, and the upward socio-economic climb of one family, from poverty to riches, through several decades. Rich character development and lots of surprises kept me flipping the pages as fast as my eyes could read them, leaving me, in the end, satisfied yet wanting to know even more about the intriguing Bennett family.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Alysia lives in Metro Detroit with her husband and four children. She writes about family life, parenting issues, and other things of interest to her on her blog, Michigal.

Review copy was provided by Andrew Anselmi.