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Sicilian Secrets: An Odyssey for Truth by Alberta B. Hornyak

Sicilian Secrets: An Odyssey for Truth

by Alberta B. Hornyak

324 pages
Wife abandons husband and four children, profoundly affecting future generation. The oldest daughter feels guilty, yet repeats her mother's action to the detriment of her daughter.

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Category: Fiction:Biographical
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About the Book
An immigrant, Italian family is humiliated by their daughter's actions. Eastville, a town of fifteen hundred. hears all. The rumor mill spins and spins. The family holds this secret tightly to the chest of ancestors and strangers. Secrets are knots, woven with an encore.

All of the four estranged children live challenging lives. Connie, a granddaughter, grows up in a chaotic home. Her future is faced with depression and paternity confusion.

After twenty-seven years, the mother's whereabouts are discovered. The mother is dead but leaves a daughter. Much communication ensues.

Most families have a skeleton dangling in a closet somewhere. The descendants of Pietro and Guiseppina La Placa found many doors, as they walked the hall of life, with numerous skeletons ready to rattle out.

This is foremost the story of Connie Basile, third generation Sicilian, who at an early age sensed the skeletons. “Why don’t I have a grandma?” elicited mother Serafina’s answer, “She’s dead.” But was Grandma Mazie dead? “May I see your wedding picture?” was cut off with “Don’t have any.” Despite Connie’s childhood in the stately Northend Tavern among small-town characters, her anxious nail-biting became recurring bouts of adult depression. Her brother Salvatore didn’t share her sensitivity to the family dynamic. Connie and her family are devout Catholics. Connie persevered to sing, teach, marry Ed, and raise four children after being widowed young.

Grandma Mazie is discovered living a new life in Albany with her first husband Joe’s brother, Paul, and she has a daughter, Dina, much to the distress of the four children she ran away from. Dina tells Mazie's first family about her marvelous loving parents.

Not until a passport clerk said, “Step aside. I have a different birth certificate here,” did the buzzing of town and family gossips make sense to Connie. She finds out she was adopted at the age of 4 by Constantino, her current father, from her mother’s first husband, Vincenzo.

Outside the hall of secrets are glorious family celebrations with song, vino and homemade Italian food. Connie’s great aunts, accomplished seamstresses, and her uncles, close in age, adore her. She has many cousins. Eventually, Connie discovers a kindred soul in a half-sister, Sally, Vincenzo’s daughter. Overall, Sicilian Secrets is a story of Connie's


Alberta Hornyak weaves a mystery of family secrets in this well-written memoir.
- Luisa LoCascio Matarazzo, Poet and painter
I have been honored and blessed to make the therapy journey with Alberta throughout pain, deception, and dysfunction! Her depression almost destroyed her. She especially had the courage to others who choose the journey to heal also.
- Peggy Messina, Addiction and Bereavement Therapist
When Alberta shared her remarkable family story to a packed house at a monthly meeting of the Women's Ministry, she received a standing ovation -- the first time ever done at this gathering. ... While her story is truly remarkable, it is Alberta herself who demonstrates a faith-filled life.
- Alexis Cariola, Instrumental in the St. James Ministry



About the Author
Alberta B. Hornyak Alberta Hornyak grew up in a Sicilian family living in New Jersey, whose whispered secrets created an anxious childhood. She married Stephen Hornyak in college; they started teaching. The births of four children were marred by depression. Stephen died at 41. She earned certification in Special Education.



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