Risking it all: Leaving Italy to live in Africa in the 1950s.
I was born Maria Martore in 1934. But I have been renamed Iucci by my husband, Eugenio Piergiovanni. He is thirteen years my senior and is fluent in three languages. We have left Italy and the only family I have ever known, to go to Africa, seeking adventures and fortune. Is my husband's dream of selling Italian Haute Couture to expatriates ridiculous?
Ciao! WE’RE IN AFRICA recounts the story of Marisa Parker’s Italian parents, who in 1955, emigrate to Salisbury in Rhodesia and Nyasaland, Africa. They open a fashion shop selling exquisite imported Italian clothes. However, it is Eugenio’s charm and astute business sense, and Iucci’s good looks and sincerity, that draws them into the community’s inner circles.
Ciao! I'm Marisa Parker (nee Piergiovanni). My two books (non-fiction), “GOODBYE TO Italia” (2016) and “Ciao! WE’RE IN AFRICA” (2018) recounts the emotional experiences of my Italian parents, Maria and Eugenio Piergiovanni. The first book is an award-winning story of their survival and coming-of-age through World War II in Italy, and African Prisoner of War camps. The second book reveals their daring travel to Rhodesia and South Africa, in the fifties, seeking adventure and fortune.
I was born in Rhodesia, Africa (now Zimbabwe). In 2000, my Scottish husband Gerald, and I, and our two daughters, left Zimbabwe. Marisa and Gerald now live in the Gold Coast hinterland. Website - www.marisaparkerauthor.com
Both of my award-winning books are about my Italian family’s story (non-fiction). When I wrote the first book, it was with trepidation. I believed my mum and dad’s story was interesting but, was I capable of sharing this in a way that others would want to read it? Once I started writing about their WW2 experiences, the words literally poured from me.
Two years later, I had followed a writing (style) checklist of do’s and don’ts. With the second book published, feedback from readers, is that my mother’s journey (1955-1969) from naïve bride to a pioneering businesswoman, is a joy to behold. Sometimes, this comment is also followed by … how your writing has matured too!
I’m delighted that my promise to my readers of writing the best book I can, one that contains interesting historical facts, that depicts characters that develop and resonate with my readers has come true, including a few that have said they cried when (spoiler alert) – the family pet died.
The first paragraph in my book was rewritten at least five times. I think I got it right though! I’d love to know your thoughts via a message on Goodreads or my website page. #authorpromise
Ciao! We’re In Africa
I watch my husband’s retreating back. He’s a five-foot-six, dark-haired, confident Italian man, always impeccably dressed in a three-piece suit. There is no backward glance or nonchalant wave. Nothing. He’s not in the least bit concerned about leaving me—his new bride—all alone. I don’t speak a word of English. Until three days ago, I’d never set foot outside of Italy. Never mind being on board a ship bound for Africa. If I were to be truly dramatic, I could almost state that I’d never really been left by myself with strangers. I’ve now departed from all that is familiar: my mother, Giuseppina; and my grandmother, Donna Maria. During World War II, the three of us survived bombings, hunger, and disease in Torino, Northern Italy.