Friday, October 18, 2019

Review for How Fires End by Marco Rafala

About How Fires End

• Hardcover: 400 pages
• Publisher: Little A (October 15, 2019)

  A dark secret born out of World War II lies at the heart of a Sicilian American family in this emotional and sweeping saga of guilt, revenge, and, ultimately, redemption.

 After soldiers vacate the Sicilian hillside town of Melilli in the summer of 1943, the locals celebrate, giving thanks to their patron saint, Sebastian. Amid the revelry, all it takes is one fateful moment for the destiny of nine-year-old Salvatore Vassallo to change forever. When his twin brothers are killed playing with an unexploded mortar shell, Salvatore’s faith is destroyed. As the family unravels, and fear ignites among their neighbors that the Vassallo name is cursed, one tragedy begets another. Desperate to escape this haunting legacy, Salvatore accepts the help of an Italian soldier with fascist ties who ushers him and his sister, Nella, into a new beginning in America. In Middletown, Connecticut, in the immigrant neighborhood known as Little Melilli, these three struggle to build new lives for themselves. But a dangerous choice to keep their secrets hidden erupts in violence decades later. When Salvatore loses his inquisitive American-born son, David, they all learn too late the price sons pay for their fathers’ wars. Written with elegiac prose, How Fires End delves into the secret wars of men; the sins they cannot bury; and a life lived in fear of who will reveal them, who will survive them, and who will forgive them.

  Social Media Please use the hashtag #howfiresend and tag @tlcbooktours, @sicilianaut, and @amazonpublishing.

My Thoughts...

As I started this book I was thinking that I was going to be reading about a Sicilian-family living during WWII, what I got was something so much better.  I got a story of a young boy trying to find his way in the world with a father that did not grow up in America.   I got the story of a father that had lost so much that all he wanted was to keep his son safe.   The secrets that the father was keeping are the reason that they left their home country to come to America and the reason that he fears he will lose all that he loves.   

How Fires End is an eye-opening look at how WWII not only affected those who fight in the war but those who lived in the towns that the war passed through.   It is a look at a Sicilian family that is torn apart by things out of their control and then left to try to continue living.  The story of two families who hold a grudge and have a rivalry that travels from their home country to a new country. 

I enjoyed meeting these characters, learning about their lives, and seeing how they manage to live after seeing what they saw, losing what they did, and having to start their lives over in a new country.   


Purchase Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About Marco Rafalà

Marco Rafalà is a first-generation Sicilian American, novelist, musician, and writer for award-winning tabletop role-playing games. He earned his MFA in fiction from The New School and is a cocurator of the Guerrilla Lit Reading Series in New York City. Born in Middletown, Connecticut, he now lives in Brooklyn, New York. How Fires End is his debut novel.

For more information, visit Follow Marco on Twitter and Instagram.

Photo by Jeffrey Mosier Photography


  1. I love it when a book ends up being better than you thought it was going to be! Thank you for being on this tour- Sara @ TLC Book Tours

  2. The best kind of books: completely exceeds your expectations. So glad you loved it!

  3. I'm so glad you enjoyed How Fires End! Thank you for taking the time to read and post your thoughts. -Marco