From Ashes to Song

Hilary Hauck


Italy, 1911. Pietro’s life on the family vineyard is idyllic. He has at last captured the melody of the grape harvest on his clarinet and can’t wait to share his composition...

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Italy, 1911.

Pietro’s life on the family vineyard is idyllic. He has at last captured the melody of the grape harvest on his clarinet and can’t wait to share his composition with his grandfather, but before he can play, news arrives of a deadly disease sweeping the countryside. They have no choice but to burn the vineyard to stop its spread. The loss is too much for Pietro’s grandfather, and by morning Pietro has lost two of the most precious things in his life—his grandfather and the vineyard. All he has left is his music, but a disastrous performance at his grandfather’s funeral suggests that music, too, is now beyond his reach. 

Adrift with grief, Pietro seeks a new start in America. He goes to work in a Pennsylvania coal mine where his musician’s hands blister and his days are spent in the muffled silence of underground.

When the beautiful voice and gentle heart of a friend’s wife stirs a new song in him, Pietro at last encounters a glimmer of hope. From a respectful distance and without catching the attention of her husband, Pietro draws on Assunta for inspiration and soon his gift for music returns. But when grief strikes in Assunta’s life, Pietro is to blame. When Prohibition steals Pietro’s last pleasure, he has to do something before Assunta’s grief consumes them both. 

Inspired by true events, From Ashes to Song is a story of unconventional love, hope, and the extraordinary gifts brought to America by ordinary people in the great wave of immigration.

 What Others Are Saying:

From Ashes to Song by hilary hauck book review from midwest book review

"Inspired by true events, From Ashes to Song by author and storyteller Hilary Hauck is an extraordinary novel of unconventional love, hope, and the gifts brought to America by ordinary people in the great wave of immigration. Inherently entertaining and, against the current backdrop of controversies with respect to immigration quite timely, From Ashes to Song is especially and unreservedly recommended -- especially for community library General Fiction collections." - Midwest Book Review

"From Ashes to Song is a gorgeous story inspired by true events. Gifted musician, Pietro, and beautiful Assunta wander the world, hearts closed and hard, each marred by pain, making choices out of uncertainty and grief. Their paths cross then join as the two grope for the next right thing to do. It’s nearly too late when they finally recognize the love right in front of them. Hauck’s exquisite prose calls on the beauty of music to illuminate the harsh, dark world of coal mines and company towns. The immigrant population fuels an industry but as individuals they wield little power over their daily obligations. Luckily, they carry with them dreams for better lives, affection for family, the seeds of good wine, and the strains of enchanting music—an invitation to share in the magic of love in all its forms." - Kathleen Shoop, award-winning author of historical and women's fiction

"From Ashes to Song enticed me with its pleasurably beautiful prose. Pietro tries to perfect a song for his grandfather Nonno as he gazes over the family vineyards in Piedmont, Italy. The musicality of the story kept me enthralled from the beginning. The love story of talented Pietro and honey voiced Assunta, inspired by true events, is a quintessential immigrant story. But it is also the tale of two lovers who cross paths only to be separated again and again against the backdrop of hard life of coal miners of Pennsylvania. Pietro’s melodies for Assunta kept me magnetized as much as their love amidst scarcity, and at the end, the musical threads coalesced into one poignant and powerful scene like the crescendo of an unforgettable symphony." - Madhu B. Wangu, award-winning author

"From the vineyards of Piedmont to the coal mines of southwestern Pennsylvania, From Ashes to Song by Hilary Hauck poignantly captures the challenges and triumphs of the Italian immigrant experience at the turn of the century. Based on real-life events, the characters at the center of this big-hearted and beautiful debut, Pietro and Assunta, find love in the face of devastating loss. Their story of resourcefulness, resilience and the power of music to inspire and to heal is one to savor. Like the long finish of a fine wine, From Ashes to Song will linger in the mind long after the last page has been turned." - Meredith Mileti, author of Aftertaste, A Novel in Five Courses

"The souls of two main characters, their sufferings and yearnings, their reaching out and pulling away, and music’s ability to motivate, to heal are in full view. Highly recommended for anyone seeking an unconventional heart-tugging romance." - Historical Novel Society


Product Details:

Author: Hilary Hauck

Page Count: 219
Trim Size: 6 x 9
Publish Date: April 13, 2021
Imprint: Milford House Press
Genre: Historical Fiction



Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Historical Fiction > Cultural Heritage

Literature & Fiction > Historical Fiction > United States

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Well-crafted, engaging read

Hilary Hauck’s debut novel took me from vineyards in Italy to coal mines in Pennsylvania. The book follows the journey of Pietro, a musician who dreamed of composing music to capture and honor the woman he loved. Hauck brings Pietro to life with universal feelings of disappointment, self-doubt, and hope, thus engaging the reader on multiple emotional levels. Pietro becomes so much more than the coal miner he spends his life being and realizes on his deathbed that his dreams have been fulfilled.

Hauck brings the calm stoicism of her characters to life with rich internal dialogue and vivid descriptions. Painfully gut-wrenching at times, exhilaratingly joyful at others, this is a must-read for historical fiction lovers interested in Italian immigrants to America.