The Lady of the Wheel
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|The Lady of the Wheel
First edition cover
|Author(s)||Angelo F. Coniglio|
|Original title||The Lady of the Wheel (La Ruotaia)|
|Language||English and Sicilian|
|Media type||Print (Paperback)|
The Lady of the Wheel (La Ruotaia) is a 2012 historical fiction novel by American author Angelo F. Coniglio. The book follows the life of a girl who was abandoned as an infant, with the major themes of the book including poverty, exploitation and family values.
Plot summary 
A mother abandons an infant girl, and the woman's husband gives up a young son as a carusu, a virtual slave in a sulfur mine; both actions intended to help the remaining family to survive in poverty-stricken Racalmuto, in late-1800s Sicily. The plot follows the girl's life as a foundling, and her brother's labors in the mine, and their interactions with family and co-workers. In developing the story, the author includes examples of Napoleon-inspired recording of civil documents, and the Sicilian conventions for selecting a family's given names.
- Rosa Esposto - the protagonist, an abandoned child
- Maria Rizzo - Rosa's mother
- Antonino 'Nino' Alessi- Rosa's father, a pick-man in a sulfur mine
- Anna di Marco - 'la Ruotaia', the receiver of abandoned infants left in the town's 'foundling wheel'
- Salvatore 'Totò' Alessi - Rosa's eldest brother, a "carusu" or mine-boy in a sulfur mine
- Gaetano 'Tanuzzu' Alessi - another brother of Rosa's
- Pietro 'Petruzzu' Castiglione - the son of the mayor of Racalmuto
- "Sicilian life, history informs ‘Lady of the Wheel’". The Daily News. Retrieved 19 October 2012.
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