There's a lush loveliness at the core of this sweeping tale of America's multicultural heartland. A first-generation Italian-American family in small-town Pennsylvania is depicted against a backdrop of four decades of the past century. The central character, Nella Castelluca, is a farmer's middle daughter whose aspirations are boundless, but her dreams are dashed, and then reborn. Swirling around her are those timeless components of drama--young love, tragic death, and renewed hope. Adriana Trigiani's narration is perfect. Soft and lilting, it reflects a girlish naïveté that might be out of place in another story. Here, though, it works wonderfully.