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In 1949, the arrival of an Italian family sets tongues wagging in the village of Leyton, an English farming community still recovering from the war. For seventeen-year-old Connie, however, the newcomers provide a tantalising glimpse of the wider world - a world beyond the gossip and petty concerns traded over the counter of Cleat's Corner Store. Under their father's stern eye, the Orati brothers adapt to their new life in remarkably different ways. While the charismatic Vittorio is determined to reinvent himself and embrace all things English, the solitary Lucio is haunted by the secrets of his past - events that tether him to the war in the mountains of Lazio. As both brothers begin to cast an unexpected influence over Leyton, Connie realises that, like them, she must grapple with her ambitions and dreams for the future. But what can any of them hope to find in the ruins of all they've lost? The Italians at Cleat's Corner Store is a heartwarming, vividly observed tale of small-town life, exploring love, prejudice, and identity in the wake of World War II.
Jo Riccioni was born in the UK to an Italian father and English mother. She worked in Singapore and Paris before settling in Sydney, and she has a master's degree in literature from Leeds University. Her short stories have been read on the BBC and published in The Best Australian Stories 2010 and 2011. Her story 'Can't Take the Country out of the Boy' has been optioned for a short film.