A single mother’s secrets come home to roost as her teenage daughter tests their parish priest. In their summer before high school, best friends Lindy and Marielle fall in with fellow teenager Joey, and older bad-boy Tony. Human frailty rumbles beneath the surface of mid-1970’s small-town Mt. Healthy.
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We act on one another like atmosphere and ocean, storm and sky, much mixed, one grand geyser.
The Cane Ridge Shrine in Paris, Kentucky, marks the site of the Second Great Awakening and the fierce first love of Bobby Trivette and DruAnn Finch. When Bobby is killed in a fiery truck crash, DruAnn cannot climb out of her grief’s dark hole. How can she honor Bobby and still love, still live?
In a rural Ohio uranium processing plant during the optimistic, buttoned-up 1950s, employees pledge to keep their work secret as their Cold War patriotism turns to suspicion over what they are processing and at what cost. In the vein of SILKWOOD and ERIN BROKOVICH, SALT OF PATRIOTS shines light on the nuclear industry’s early days at the Feed Materials Production Center (FMPC) by focusing on ground level workers and their families.
Nothing more apropos for two wanderers than a road trip. This journey-novel unites and then divides lovers Pauline and Jared as they are drawn toward all things they’ve been taught it’s smart to avoid: tenderness, vulnerability. Stung by love and scared of loss, they veer down separate obstinate highways, but the road teaches each deserves a love that won’t yield. If only Pauline can reach Jared to tell him so.
Donna Vitucci Writes With great Authenticity
Donna Vitucci writes with great authenticity and knowledge about a fascinating time and place in U.S. history that readers will find compelling and relevant. Vitucci’s prose is delicate and exquisitely detailed. She weaves a captivating, original, and sweeping tale of love, truth, and politics.
– Janice Eidus, author of The Last Jewish Virgin and The War of the Rosens
Salt of Patriots will Haunt You...
Stunning images in Donna D. Vitucci’s compelling novel Salt of Patriots will haunt you–a flock of starlings falls dead while flying through toxic smoke, a drinking hose shoots foul liquid at a child’s feet, a man climbs a silo to be closer to the sky. For the families employed at this historical and ominous 1950’s atomic plant, we worry every inch of the way, and not just because of the dangerous work, but because Vitucci has created men, women and children who we care about intensely. We root for them in life and love, and we are heartbroken when they can’t, and won’t, shy from their duties.
– Ann Joslin Williams, author of Down From Cascom Mountain and The Woman in the Woods.
At Bobby Trivette’s Grave is a story to savor and...
A young couple argue and break up, triggering a chain of events that will transform two families. Donna Vitucci’s debut novel tackles a vital human question: How do we prevail when the weight of loss and regret threatens to drag us under? Vitucci’s writing is compassionate and wise. At Bobby Trivette’s Grave is a story to savor and, finally, be heartened by.
—David Long, author of The Falling Boy and The Inhabited World
Donna Vitucci shines a spotlight on the Department of Energy in the 1950s
Donna Vitucci shines a spotlight on the Department of Energy in the 1950s, asking the subversive question—what if there had been an atomic plant in Our Town? She is a voice of reason for these troubled times, capturing the lives of working stiffs and their attempts to secure some kind of normalcy for their families as the daily grind at the plant poisons their lives and everything round them.
–Richard Peabody, author of Blue Suburban Skies
Salt of Patriots is a marvelous and often unsettling novel
Donna Vitucci has written an exceptional tale about life-giving dreams and deadly secrets, about patriotism and the exploitation of workers set in and around a uranium processing plant in Ohio in the 1950s. Salt of Patriots is a marvelous and often unsettling novel full of honesty, heart, and grace. It’s both seductive and harrowing. Accidents happen. Families fall apart. Decent and honorable men are fed a diet of toxic lies. Here is the story of the beginning of the end of American post-war age of innocence.
—John Dufresne, author of I Don’t Like Where This Is Going
Book Review: At Bobby Trivette's Grave
A tale of teenage love and loss, this week’s feature explores small-town life in the Midwest and a family navigating through it. A tragic accident takes the life of Dru Ann’s love, and her spiral of grief trickles into the lives of everyone around her. West Lafayette Public Library Director Nick Schenkel has a review.
Review In Euphoria
From its opening paragraph, In Euphoria shows we are reading an extremely gifted, lyrical writer, but what ultimately makes this novel so compelling is Pauline, a woman whose narcissistic desires and compulsions wreak havoc on the lives of the men who fall under her spell. She is a singular character. Donna Vitucci is a writer deserving of a wide and appreciative audience.
– Ron Rash, author of SERENA and THE WORLD MADE STRAIGHT.
Book Review: At Bobby Trivette's Grave
When you slam the door shut on your boyfriend’s pleas you don’t expect to never see his beautiful face again.
A simple silly argument, you expect to get past it. You expect to love, fight, make up and love more. You’re young and there’s plenty of joy to come. But Bobby Trivette meets with a tragic accident in Kentucky’s back hills, and Dru Ann’s future turns to pure free fall.
Her grief spiral sets everyone connected to her evaluating the ones they love and the ways they’ve lived in this small town of Paris, Kentucky, forever in the shadow and the spirit of the Cane Ridge Shrine.
My stories & Articles
We were raised in rural America, or what we thought was rural. Not Iowa, Illinois or Nebraska, not even amid the cornfields of our own Ohio, rather on the outskirts, in a township.
Disturbing, That… everything is undisturbed, pared to singlehood and the craves we didn’t know we knew. Such as: absent others’ touch, what are we?
Invited Posts & Interviews
Desire twisted me inside a damp wood, caught me up the way fires do even the greenest twigs, how they smolder, how fire spreads, turns, switches back, and re-burns.”
Guest Post by Novelist Donna D. Vitucci @Live to Write – Write to LiveThe answer to my question, How long does it take to write a book? is fifteen for the novelist Donna Vitucci, who has just published Salt of Patriots after fifteen years of research, writing and...
Donna in the News
CRESTVIEW HILLS, Ky. (Feb. 11, 2020) – The Thomas More University Creative Writing Vision Program will present…
From its opening paragraph, In Euphoria shows we are reading an extremely gifted, lyrical writer, but what ultimately makes this novel so compelling is Pauline…
- James Dickey
There is no whole truth, but this is what we have,
And it goes on
Beyond impact, beyond reach, beyond recall…
- Stanley Kunitz
The thing that eats the heart is mostly the heart.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
We dress our garden, eat our dinners, discuss the household with our wives, and these things make no impression, are forgotten next week; but in the solitude to which every man is always returning, he has a sanity and revelation, which in his passage into new worlds he will carry. Never mind the ridicule, never mind the defeat: up again, old heart.
- Source Unknown, and quote unfinished
Science, seeking confirmation, proof and objective testing, cannot avail itself of this cardinal human loneliness, but literature can. And this with language that is always failing, and stumbling, break…
- Seamus Heaney
At a certain age, the light that you live in is inhabited by the shades…I’m very conscious that people dear to me are alive in my imagination…These people are with me. It’s just a stage of your life when the death of people doesn’t banish them out of your consciousness, They’re part of the light in your head.
- Ann Hood
You are lucky you are a writer because you will sort through this in ways other souls cannot; the bad part is you feel and see all of this in ways non-writers don’t.
- Yehuda Amichai, translated from Hebrew by Chana Block & Chana Kronfeld
That’s the way to live: to stick your hand into the infinite outside of the world, turn the outside inside out, the world into a room and God into a little soul inside the infinite body.
- Rodney Jones
Nothing survives that hasn’t been lovingly scarred in the brain or dented by the human voice.
- William Faulkner
I give it to you not that you may remember time, but that you might forget now and then for a moment and not spend all your breath trying to conquer it.
- Joan Acocella
The father returns, the boy (now a man) is allowed to open the red box. We get to touch. But with this reassurance come mystery, illumination, hair-on-end chills—experiences that, however distant from comfort and justice, are still things that we want from stories.
- Anthony Lane
Bad dreams are a model of clarity, and…their mad anti-logic makes horrific good sense.
- Bernhard W. Anderson
Saga is able to communicate to us out of the past history as experienced, the internal meaning of events and happenings. And if the deepest meaning of man’s life is his relation to God, saga and poetry are exceedingly more important ways of telling history.
- W.Eugene Smith
There is no community without loneliness. Man carries his loneliness within him.
- Time prospectus
It is important to know what they drink. It is more important to know to what gods they pray and what kind of fights they love.