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Book Review | The Godmothers by Camille Aubray

From the publisher: Filomena, Amie, Lucy, and Petrina become godmothers to one another’s children, finding hope and shelter in this prosperous family and their sumptuous Greenwich Village home, and enjoying New York life with its fine dining, opulent department stores and sophisticated nightclubs. But the women’s secret pasts lead to unforeseen consequences and betrayals that threaten to unravel all their carefully laid plans. When their husbands are forced to leave them during the second World War, the Godmothers must unexpectedly contend with notorious gangsters who run the streets of New York City.

I found The Godmothers to be an excellent novel that kept me distracted through a day of leaking roofs and emergency repairs, and provided enjoyable reading in calmer times. I read Camille Aubray’s Cooking for Picasso a couple years ago as part of Peoria Public Library’s “Blind Date with a Book” program and found it to be a decent read, if different from my usual preferred genres of fantasy and sci-fi (which is kinda the whole point of wrapping books in newspaper in the first place). The Godmothers is the better of the two books in my opinion, and I’m saying this at a time where I still find it difficult to finish many a novel. As historical fiction, it focuses on one Italian American family through the decades, with the emphasis on the years surrounding World War II.

Aubray establishes the multiple voices of the Godmothers early on, and deftly handles the shifting points of view, which could easily overwhelm the book. The timeline is clearly labeled at the start of each chapter, and progresses forward with only minimal jumping back and forth at the beginning and the end of the book, as one of the goddaughters comes to Petrina in the 1980s to learn the family’s history. There was one dramatic trope that I rolled my eyes at when it was introduced, and the ending does seem to be a little bit rushed both in time and covering the lives of secondary characters who had minimal page time previously. Overall, however, I enjoyed this immensely and I would love to see this as a mini-series. Thank you very much to William Morrow and NetGalley for the Advanced Reader Copy!

The Godmothers is available for checkout from the Galesburg Public Library.

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