Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Shoemaker's Wife - Review

The Shoemaker’s Wife

by Adriana Trigiani

Why did you choose this book? I love historical fiction

When did you read this book? September 2012

Who should read this book? fans of historical fiction and/or Adriana Trigiani
Source: library ebook
Here is a synopsis of The Shoemaker’s Wife from Goodreads, where it rates 4.05 stars.

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.

My Review 

Awesome book! I’ve heard a lot of good things about Adriana Trigiani, and had had her on my ‘to read’ list for quite awhile bfore I picked this one up. It was a mistake to wait! If you know me, you will guess that I was first attracted to this book by it’s beautiful cover. And you would be right! But then I read the syopsis and I knew I had to read it NOW. The story is about 2 people who immigrated to the US in the early 1900’s. My grandparents also immigrated to the US during this period and one came from Italy, so I felt like I was reading a bit of my own history.

Even without the personal connection, this was a beautiful story. The writing was beautiful. I normally am not a big fan of lavish descriptions; I prefer to get to the story and not worry about the detail. But the descriptive writing, along with the use of Italian phrases interspersed throughout the story, made me feel immersed in the setting. I loved pronouncing the Italian in my head as I read.

Enza and Ciro first met as young teens, and the story follows their life over several decades, both in Italy and in the US. I liked the detail of the ‘immigrant experience’ and how not everything was easy just because they made their way to the US. There were sad parts to the story, and things I wish hadn’t happened. But I’m not complaining, because that is what made the story real. Sadness is sometimes a part of life. I was sorry when this story came to an end. I absolutely loved the story and will definitely be reading more by this author. I read this one over six months ago and it is still one of the first on my list to recommend to others! (I’ve already bought two copies, given as gifts and will be buying another for my permanent collection!)

Be sure to visit the author’s website, where you can find discussion questions for The Shoemaker’s Wife! You can follow her on Facebook or Twitter for her latest news.

My Rating:  ★★★★★ 5 Stars

You can view the book trailer here.

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