THE SHOEMAKER’S WIFE
By: Adriana Trigiani
Pub. Date: April 3, 2012
Formats: Hardback, Audio and Electronic
Age Group: Older Teens and Adults
Review: I’d like to first thank HarperCollins for sending me the book in exchange for a fair and honest review.
I just finished this amazing book called THE SHOEMAKER’S WIFE by Adriana Trigiani. When TLC Book Tours sent a request to read the book, I jumped at the chance. They wanted someone who had never read a Trigiani book before I said sure! I mean, why not? Look at that fabulously gorgeous cover! If I saw THE SHOEMAKER’S WIFE in the bookstore, I’d say: “you’re coming home with me, baby!” And for all of you, readers, out there…you need to say the same thing.
If you love romances, this book is for you. If you love fiction inspired by true stories, this book is for you. If you love sweeping tales of epic proportions, this book is for you. But, hey, you may be thinking: “chick lit, no thanks!” Just so you know, I have an Italian godfather — yes, I real Italian godfather — who loves Adriana’s books. Her books aren’t just for the female set.
THE SHOEMAKER’S WIFE is a vivid tale about two lives that intertwine and cannot let go due to the power of love, faith and forgiveness. Inspired by Trigiani’s grandparents’ star-crossed romance, her latest novel will blow you away. It did for me and I can’t wait to read her other novels, especially her YA series. THE SHOEMAKER’S WIFE is lovely, sweet, tender, heartwarming, sad, and funny. The beautiful narrative flows like the haunting melody of an aria.
The story is told from two different perspectives — Ciro Lazzari and Enza Ravanelli. Aren’t those great Italian names? I pictured them growing up, just miles from each other, in the Italian Alps where the story takes place at the beginning of the novel. Ciro lives with his brother, Eduardo, at a convent in Vilminore di Scalve and Enza lives with her large, but tight-knit family up the mountain in Schilpario. The two of them lead very different lives. Ciro is charming, handsome and witty. He loves the ladies, and is quite the ladies man when he becomes a teenager and an adult. He meets quiet, but strong Enza, and the two fall in love. And do the sparks fly throughout this novel! Yet various circumstances force Ciro and Enza apart. Both of them end up going to America at separate times, but still end up finding each other. Enza tells Ciro it’s a coincidence how they keep meeting, but Ciro insists it’s actually, fate. And I wholeheartedly agree!
The story is not only about love, but family and about making one’s way as an immigrant in America at the turn of the 20th century. Both yearn for home and their family, but learn to survive in New York. Ciro finds work as a shoemaker’s apprentice with a kind Italian couple in Little Italy and Enza finds work as a seamstress in Hoboken, NJ. She ends up living with a family who treats her as a servant and an awful supervisor at a factory. But not to worry…it ends up okay because she soon gets a job as a seamstress with opera star, Enrico Caruso at the Metropolitan Opera.
Of course, Ciro and Enza run into each other, time and time again. THE SHOEMAKER’S WIFE is actually a story that almost wasn’t. But I’m glad it was and I’m sure Adriana’s family is too! Various events in the story are, obviously fictionalized, but it’s romantic and tugs at your heart strings. One thing that I really enjoyed about the novel is that it comes full circle. I especially like the scenes at Ellis Island. While reading, I thought of my great-grandfather who went through Ellis Island with his family as a young boy from Sweden.
THE SHOEMAKER’S WIFE is filled with colorful characters — from the hard-nosed but gentle nuns at the convent to the friends Ciro and Enza make in New York to their own family members. Enza’s parents are strong-willed and loving and Ciro’s brother is understanding and patient. His own career choice is perfect for him. What’s his chosen field? Well, you’ll just have to read the book to find out! I was glad that I knew what was happening with their families and they didn’t just drop out of sight. In New York, Ciro and Enza meet strangers who want to take advantage of them and those who are sincere in their intentions. I loved Ciro’s cheeky humor and Enza’s brutal honesty. They are perfect match! These two characters stole each others hearts and they stole mine as well.
I’m giving THE SHOEMAKER’S WIFE 5 “Diaries” for being favoloso!
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