In her debut novel, Palmieri has combined romance and mystery, folklore and psychology to create a jigsaw puzzle of family secrets and tragedies, losses and loves, guilt and forgiveness.
In the first chapter, we are told by Aunt Itsy about the Amore women’s gift of “Sigh,”—their ability to see the future—and at the end of the novel, we learn how Itsy tries and succeeds in changing what she sees. In the second chapter, we are introduced to Itsy’s niece, the glamorous but lonely actress Carmen, and her daughter Eleanor, aka Elly. We learn that Eleanor must be very bright, as she is a senior at Yale, that she is a talented painter and that she is newly pregnant. When she confronts her mother with this momentous news, she is disappointed in her mother’s reaction: She advises her to get an abortion and get on with her life. Not receiving the love and comfort she was hoping for from her mother, she decides to go to the Bronx, where her mother’s family shares a house, to seek the support of extended family. She also needs to escape an abusive boyfriend. Once she arrives at the family home, she has doubts about this move, but her old childhood crush, Anthony, helps her to overcome these, and she takes her place as a member of a family of women who love and want her among them. The story is told from the alternating points of view of Itsy, Elly and the sisters Amore, with their memories combining to answer Elly's lingering questions.