Grace Mattioli is the author of The Greco Family Trilogy: Olive Branches Don’t Grow On Trees (2012), Discovery of an Eagle (2014), and The Bird that Sang in Color (2021).
The Greco’s are Italian-American from New Jersey as is Grace. She began writing this trilogy to defy the negative stereotypical conception of this subculture. That is, the Greco’s are neither mobsters nor morons and these books aren’t like other typical Italian-American novels.
While her books address serious issues such as addiction and death, they are filled with inspiration and insight about what it takes to be truly happy. She strongly believes that if people were happier, the world would be a better place. That is, all the trouble in the world, from war to the various injustices, is created by miserable people, and destructive qualities, such as greed, are just symptoms of misery. So, happiness isn’t just important on the individual level, but the global one as well.
The theme of happiness runs throughout all her books. Her debut novel, Olive Branches Don’t Grow on Trees, addresses the importance of peace as the protagonist, Silvia realizes the impossibility of happiness without peace. In her second novel, Discovery of an Eagle, Cosmo becomes aware of the fragility of life, and this insight allows him to begin living life more fully. In The Bird that Sang in Color, Donna learns about the importance of living authentically as opposed to society’s dictates through the unspoken wisdom of her brother, Vincent.
As in Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels, Italian culture is an integral part of the Greco Family Trilogy books. Grace’s novels are like those of Anne Tyler as family is central. Like the work of Matt Haig, Grace’s books explore larger philosophical questions. Like all of the books by the aforementioned authors, Grace’s books contain highly loveable, dimensional characters, great humor, and lots of fun!
Grace is currently working on a memoir and a bunch of short stories about the world of work–a subject in which she is very familiar. She has worked as a librarian for over twenty years and has had various other job titles, including jewelry designer, food cart owner, shopkeeper, book seller, substitute teacher, art school model, natural grocery store clerk, short order cook, food server, street vendor, barista, and a giant Twinkie!
She lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and her cats.
Be sure to check out Grace’s Amazon page and her Goodreads page, where you’ll find hundreds of reviews on her family trilogy books. On Grace’s blog , there are three series related to the trilogy books. In one, Grace shares delicious Italian food recipes from her debut, Olive Branches Don’t Grow on Trees. There is a series on the many places visited in her road trip novel, Discovery of an Eagle. Her latest blog series features the art work that inspired her novel, The Bird that Sang in Color.