Create Space (2016)
Reviewed by Susan Violante for Reader Views (10/2016)
Article first published as Book Review: ‘These Thy Gifts’ by Vincent Panettiere on Blogcritics.
Being familiar with the author’s work, I quickly jumped at the opportunity to review “These Thy Gifts” by Vincent Panettiere. The story follows Steve Tromboli, a catholic priest, in his journey through faith, history, and his own human impulses within the context of the environments around him throughout his life. The story not only visits concepts within the Priesthood of the Catholic Church, such as chastity, hierarchy, scandal, and corruption; it also presents the reader with how a young priest deals with his own doubts, human needs, relationships, and sins, while trying to live out his vocation and serve his parishioners. Through Tromboli’s life, readers will experience fifty years of history. Readers will also visit the Italian-American community and its colorful characters, and live the impossible romance of his forbidden love Rosalie, who married low-level mobster, Tony Lamarca.
As a Catholic born and raised woman who did her schooling (as well as my children) in Catholic school, I found “These Thy Gifts” to be a must-read for all Catholics. The topics touched on within this fiction novel are disturbing facts about the corruption within the Church, and its efforts to remain hidden. As an Italian, I felt at home with his characters, as they took me back to my childhood friends, relatives, and even priests I knew while growing up. As a reader, I was captivated by Tromboli as in many cases he reminded me of my favorite character of Guareschi and his books about “Don Camilo.”
Panettiere’s writing is spot on with character development, descriptions, writing style, and research. However, one noteworthy issue would be about story editing, as it moved somewhat slowly at times. This might be due to some scenes and details that did not move the story along, and could have been flushed out to help the pace. Even so, the story was so captivating it did not affect my enjoyment of the book.
Overall, “These Thy Gifts” by Vincent Panettiere is a captivating, and revealing journey through history, faith, and a man’s lifetime dedication to serving his vocation. I truly enjoyed this read, and found it to be interesting, thought-provoking, fun, and entertaining. Definitely recommended reading!