Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Book Review: The Shoemaker's Wife by Adriana Trigiani

Title: The Shoemaker's Wife by Adriana Trigiani
Series: Stand-Alone
Finished on: December 12, 2012
Released: April 3rd 2012 by Harper
Source: Public Library E-Book
Rating: 5/5

Summary from Goodreads:
The majestic and haunting beauty of the Italian Alps is the setting of the first meeting of Enza, a practical beauty, and Ciro, a strapping mountain boy, who meet as teenagers, despite growing up in villages just a few miles apart. At the turn of the last century, when Ciro catches the local priest in a scandal, he is banished from his village and sent to hide in America as an apprentice to a shoemaker in Little Italy. Without explanation, he leaves a bereft Enza behind. Soon, Enza's family faces disaster and she, too, is forced to go to America with her father to secure their future.

Unbeknownst to one another, they both build fledgling lives in America, Ciro masters shoemaking and Enza takes a factory job in Hoboken until fate intervenes and reunites them. But it is too late: Ciro has volunteered to serve in World War I and Enza, determined to forge a life without him, begins her impressive career as a seamstress at the Metropolitan Opera House that will sweep her into the glamorous salons of Manhattan and into the life of the international singing sensation, Enrico Caruso.

From the stately mansions of Carnegie Hill, to the cobblestone streets of Little Italy, over the perilous cliffs of northern Italy, to the white-capped lakes of northern Minnesota, these star-crossed lovers meet and separate, until, finally, the power of their love changes both of their lives forever.

Lush and evocative, told in tantalizing detail and enriched with lovable, unforgettable characters, The Shoemaker's Wife is a portrait of the times, the places and the people who defined the immigrant experience, claiming their portion of the American dream with ambition and resolve, cutting it to fit their needs like the finest Italian silk.

This riveting historical epic of love and family, war and loss, risk and destiny is the novel Adriana Trigiani was born to write, one inspired by her own family history and the love of tradition that has propelled her body of bestselling novels to international acclaim. Like Lucia, Lucia, The Shoemaker's Wife defines an era with clarity and splendor, with operatic scope and a vivid cast of characters who will live on in the imaginations of readers for years to come.
Reader's who enjoy historical fiction and cute love stories will eat The Shoemaker's Wife right up. Trigiani is an extremely skilled writer who did an absolutely fantastic job at writing the descriptions of her settings. Every small detail is included whether it be in Italy, New York City, or Minnesota. The reader has no problem feeling like they are right there with Enza and Ciro. Learning so many small historical details was very enjoyable. I was fascinated by this book.

The romance portion wasn't quite as perfect. In fact, there was actually a point where I wasn't rooting for Ciro and Enza to be together.  There were moments when it just didn't seem like Ciro was good enough for Enza and I didn't feel like he truly loved her. All in all, the romance wasn't as breathtaking and sweeping as I was hoping for, but satisfying enough. The Shoemaker's Wife does a much better job at being a grand historical novel then a epic love story.

This was my first novel by Adriana Trigiani and I will be looking into her other works very soon. This was a very special book that deserves to be read with an open mind so I'm keeping this review short so other reader's can experience this beautiful storytelling on their own. Oh, and as far as language and content go: this is a very clean romance. There may be a few stronger words thrown in here and there but it was rare. So that being said, I'd recommend The Shoemaker's Wife to any who enjoys historical fiction, Italian settings, learning about New York life in the 20's and 30's, and immigrant life.

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