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The God of Silence and Secrets
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writer :
Sandra H. Elliot

The God of Silence and Secrets

After long years of war separation, Conni Owen, nineteen, leaves the nursing school she loves to enter to accompany her military family to 1954 Naples, Italy, to help them come together. She departs New York expecting to finally make friends with her mother, Grace. But in postwar Naples, Grace has other interests. Not everyone in Naples welcomes Conni. Some wish her dead. Her story intertwines the lives of two families, American and Italian, with a focus on understanding the meaning of family.

This historical, coming-of-age story unfolds amid Italy’s transition from monarchy to democracy as Naples teeters on the edge of Camorra control and omertà, the rule of silence and secrets. A collection of mother-daughter letters written in 1950’s Naples inspired this work.

In this milieu, Conni’s father, US Navy Captain Hank Owen, is promoted to admiral to help establish NATO South. Conni befriends the Baron, who introduces her to le baracche, the bombed-out part of the city. He offers her his chauffeur, Daniele, to get to know Naples. The Baron helps the poor but seems to have ties with the Camorra crime syndicate. Conni enjoys le baracche children she and Daniele help to read. After modeling for her mother’s art class, Conni falls down the stairs. In recovery, she discovers the secret that has torn her family apart for twenty years and realizes she may be the only one who can bring them together.

Always, a writer, as a university professor with a PhD specialization in second language acquisition, I’ve produced commercial academic books, monographs, and peer-reviewed journal articles. I grew up speaking Spanish and lived in Rome to learn Italian. To write this book, I interviewed Neapolitans who survived WWII, searched Naples’ local newspaper, il Mattino, for relevant articles of the postwar era, and utilized a Neapolitan taxi driver as manuscript advisor and guide who remains a friend.

I have participated in the University of Iowa Writing programs and activities with Manuscript Academy, and Craft Literary. I’m a member of The Florida Writers Association and The Author’s Guild.

My 90,000-word historical novel ready for review.

This writer is looking for an agent
General fiction, Historial fiction, Women's fiction, Literary fiction
The God of Silence & Secrets, my 90.000 word novel is ready for review.
I've published short stories and articles nationally and internationally. has lists and sample articles for review.
I was raised in a scrappy Florida town where my father owned a business that took him to the Caribbean and South America—no drugs involved. Mother and I often accompanied him, especially to Colombia, where I grew up speaking English and Spanish.

To write The God of Silence and Secrets, I studied Italian with a friend, lived and studied in Rome and Naples, Italy, and read books on those cities and in general Southern Italy. A bibliography is available on request.

Languages and cultures, different ways of thinking and doing, music and food, fascinate me. In addition to Latin America, I have lived and worked in different parts of the United States and Europe, teaching English, serving as translator, program organizer, lecturer, and university professor with state, US Department of Education, and National Science Foundation grants, and published academic texts.