Uncover secret in Tintori’s “Unto the Daughters”

Every family has their secrets, but some have more than others. Writer and journalist Karen Tintori reveals the unbelievable skeletons within her family’s closet of an honor killing in her gripping nonfiction tale, “Unto the Daughters.

The story of the Costa family unfolds between the years 1903 and 2002 in Sicily and Detroit. The family of 10 immigrated to Detroit in hopes of a life free from poverty and the burdens of Sicily, but their overall lifestyle remained the same.

After oldest daughter Josie, Tintori’s grandmother, got married, her sister Frances was next to marry, but not to the man she loved. Instead of marrying an older man from the neighborhood mafia like her father wanted, Frances impulsively runs away with her young, handsome barber. Frances’ arranged marriage would have helped her brothers join the local mafia, but after disgracing the Costa family name by refusing to do so, she was killed for it.   

All evidence of the existence of Frances was destroyed, her name completely erased from the family genealogy. After the night of her death, the name Frances Costa was never spoken again.

“Unto the Daughters” is not just the story of a murder, but one about family, culture, honor and justice. Tintori reveals the true colors of each family member, allowing the reader to feel anger, disappointment or joy whenever something significant occurs. She impeccably describes the aspects of Sicilian culture, the role of women and men in the early 20th century and how America could have arguably been a curse, blessing or both.

The story itself is so shocking at times that it’s easy to forget that it’s a true story and not a wild murder mystery. It can range from heartwarming to horrifying, but it’s guaranteed you won’t be able to turn the pages fast enough. By including old family photos, the story comes to life even more, adding to the emotional appeal and personal connections with the Costa’s and their growing family.

Tintori’s “Unto the Daughters” is a must-read for anyone interested in Sicilian culture, mafia history and family ties. This book is a statement, Godfather-esque and allows justice for Frances, who otherwise would have never again been recognized as a Costa, or even a once-living and breathing person. In the end, it’ll make you truly wonder how much you actually know about your family’s history.