Angelica Delfino takes a special interest in the lives of her three nieces, whom she affectionately calls the daughters of her heart. Sensing that each woman is harboring a troubling, possibly even toxic secret, Angelica decides to share her secrets—secrets she had planned to take to the grave. Spellbound, the nieces listen as Angelica travels back six decades to reveal an incredulous tale of forbidden love, tragic loss, and reinvention. It is the classic immigrant story upended: an Italian widow’s transformative journey amid the most unlikely of circumstances.
Inspired by Angelica’s example, the younger women share their “First World” problems and, in the process, set themselves free.
But one heartbreaking secret remains untold…
Character Interview – Bellastrega
Today, I will be interviewing Bellastrega, one of the characters in No More Secrets.
Thank you for joining me, Bellastrega. I’d like to start by asking about your unusual name. Please tell us about it.
As you may have already figured out, it’s not my given name. Until recently, I was known as Lynn Miller. All that changed within weeks of meeting Angelica Delfino (protagonist of No More Secrets).
Determined to improve her failing health, Angelica followed my advice. She started drinking green tea, eating less sugar, reciting affirmations, and taking long walks. Her legs became stronger, and she no longer needed a cane or walker to move about.
Almost everyone in her circle was thrilled. The exceptions—her two sisters—who resented me and refused to give credit where credit was due. They came up with an alternative truth: I was a strega (witch) who had cast a temporary spell on Angelica. Soon, I would steal her valuables and leave in the dead of night.
When Angelica shared with me, I couldn’t help laughing. I did admit to possessing psychic powers. Taken aback, Angelica struggled but eventually decided to embrace my gifts. And so Bellastrega—Beautiful Witch—was born as Lynn Miller faded into obscurity.
One of the characters describes you as a Career ADDer. What does she mean by that?
After dropping out of college, I decided to experiment with different occupations. I have worked as a waitress, bartender, sous chef, yoga teacher, flight attendant, and Reiki healer. These past two years, I have offered my services as a companion to older women. And that is how I met Angelica Delfino.
What makes you happy?
Wellness is one of my passions. I enjoy helping others—especially older women—acquire new habits and improve the quality of life.
If you could rewrite a part of your story, what would it be? Why?
I would be less rigid with my clients and allow them to enjoy the occasional decadent dessert or other extravagance. It’s best not to deprive oneself too much near the end of life.
Do you argue with your author? If so, what do you argue about?
Her original intention was to have me appear once, at the beginning of Chapter 1. That didn’t sit well with me. I wanted to meet and interact with Angelica’s nieces. Reluctantly, she agreed to devote two more chapters to my POV. That still wasn’t enough, and in the end, she relented and allowed me to take over the Epilogue. How did I accomplish all of this? I invaded her dreams!
Thank you for talking with us, Bellastrega.
Intrigued? Read more about No More Secrets.
Tupperware in all the pastel shades. Head-to-toe clothing and accessories in the same hues. Who does that? Bellastrega shook her head at the avalanche of plastic that accompanied Velia Russo into the kitchen. She was already on her third trip back from the car, puffing and panting as she placed her food gifts on the kitchen table. Bellastrega could feel her jaw clenching at the thought of all those white devils—heavy sauces and creams and pounds of sugar—contaminating the kitchen.
Velia held one finger. “One more trip,” and then she was gone.
Bellastrega turned her attention back to the hearty vegetable stew that had been simmering on the stove. She sighed contentedly as she breathed in the aroma of the rosemary and Italian seasonings. Angelica’s favorite. As she glanced at the appetizing array of vegetables, she mentally calculated how long it would take to finish cooking. Everything was on schedule, and dinner would be on the table at six o’clock. Why had Velia decided to arrive three hours early?
From the start, Bellastrega had her misgivings about this all-girls weekend. She had listened while Angelica lovingly described each niece and shared her concerns regarding their unhappy lives. At first, Bellastrega had humored her, not realizing Angelica was intending to help her nieces get back on track. Her duty as aunt, she had explained.
Bellastrega had formed her own judgments regarding the three younger women. Usually right on target, Bellastrega had been surprised when this particular incarnation of Velia Russo arrived, laden with her food gifts. From Angelica’s descriptions, Bellastrega had expected a younger version of her mother, Rosetta, a heavy-set hausfrau and gossip, not this glamour-puss who could pass for a younger Martha Stewart. But first impressions could be deceiving.
“Help. I need your help.” The whiny voice interrupted Bellastrega’s thoughts. Sighing, she lowered the heat and made her way to the living room.
Bellastrega resisted the urge to laugh as she took in the comical sight before her. To save herself another trip, Velia had decided to lug in a large Pullman using her left hand, carry a pastry box in her right hand, and use her teeth to hold on to her purse.
All this for a weekend get-together? What would she have packed for a longer trip? Bellastrega forced a smile as she took the pastry box from Velia.
Amazon (Australia) – https://www.amazon.com.au/No-More-Secrets-Joanne-Guidoccio-ebook/dp/B08CVTYWWX/
A member of Crime Writers of Canada, Sisters in Crime, and Women’s Fiction Writers Association, Joanne Guidoccio writes cozy mysteries, paranormal romances, and inspirational literature from her home base of Guelph, Ontario.
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