– Nominated for PEN/Hemingway Award
– Recommended for National Book Critics Circle Award
– Selected as a New York Public Library 1994 Book for the Teen Age
– Translated into Norwegian, German and Danish

“Giulia Di Cuore finds herself torn between two cultures. She has been raised in America, with its inherent freedoms and luxuries, and views this country through the wide lens of a 17-year-old, aware of the dreams beyond her door, ignorant of any dangers. It is left to her Italian-born psychiatrist father, Nicola, to pry his daughter’s heart from America’s tug and return it to Italian shores.
Reminiscent in parts of Mario Puzo’s pre-Godfather work The Fortunate Pilgrim, this novel contrasts the immigrant’s quest for the American dream with the fear of achieving it. Monardo’s writing is simple yet elegant, her story told through hearty anecdotes, as a colorful brigade of relatives parades in and out of the narrative. This is a well-crafted and entertaining tale of a young girl navigating through two cultures, trying to keep her father’s love without casting aside her dreams. Brava to a fine debut.”
— People

The Courtyard of Dreams is an enchanting, lyrical love story. From the twig of oregano in a baby’s pierced ear to the Feast of San Francesco, this is a wise and delightful book.”
— Patty Dann, author of Mermaids and Sweet & Crazy

“A first novel of great charm that attempts to penetrate the unique genius of the Italian family, both in Italy and in its American version….Monardo writes with an easy confidentiality, and her affectionate appraisal of a world of kin, shrewd but without bitterness, might remind one of an early Mary Gordon scan of her Irish/American enclave. An alluring tribute to love — of first love, of family, of Italy.
— Kirkus Reviews

“An important novel that examines the metaphor of ocean crossings.”
— Teresa Picarazzi, University of Arizona

“This evocative work has a distinctive voice…a satisfying portrait of the often complex transition from child to independent adult and the complication of cultural heritage. An excellent first novel.”
— Library Journal (starred review)

“Monardo’s language is rich in imagery, showing you Rome beyond the tourist traps and an Italian-American [life] not seen by those outside the family. The prologue is lyrical, so reminiscent of what could be an Italian version of Like Water for Chocolate.”
— Florida Today

“Monardo writes beautifully.”
— Mirabella

“What lingers longest about The Courtyard of Dreams is its singing language. Monardo manages to evoke in English all of the sonorous beauty of the Italian language.”
— Pittsburgh Post Gazette

“Monardo has perfect control of her story.”
— Boston Sunday Globe