by Adriana Trigiani
Why I chose this book? I loved her previous books
When I read this book? June 2017
Who should read this book? Fans of the author and readers who enjoy exploring a different era
Source: TLC Book Tours
My Rating: ✰✰✰✰½ 4½ Stars
Here is a synopsis of The Beach House: Coming Home from TLC Book Tours
• Hardcover: 544 pages
• Publisher: Harper (June 20, 2017)
From Adriana Trigiani, the beloved New York Times-bestselling author of The Shoemaker’s Wife, comes an exhilarating epic novel of love, loyalty, and creativity—the story of an Italian-American family on the cusp of change.
It’s 1949 and South Philadelphia bursts with opportunity during the post-war boom. The Palazzini Cab Company & Western Union Telegraph Office, owned and operated by Dominic Palazzini and his three sons, is flourishing: business is good, they’re surrounded by sympathetic wives and daughters-in-law, with grandchildren on the way. But a decades-long feud that split Dominic and his brother Mike and their once-close families sets the stage for a re-match.
Amidst the hoopla, the arrival of an urgent telegram from Italy upends the life of Nicky Castone (Dominic and his wife’s orphaned nephew) who lives and works with his Uncle Dom and his family. Nicky decides, at 30, that he wants more—more than just a job driving Car #4 and more than his longtime fiancée Peachy DePino, a bookkeeper, can offer. When he admits to his fiancée that he’s been secretly moonlighting at the local Shakespeare theater company, Nicky finds himself drawn to the stage, its colorful players and to the determined Calla Borelli, who inherited the enterprise from her father, Nicky must choose between the conventional life his family expects of him or chart a new course and risk losing everything he cherishes.
From the dreamy mountaintop village of Roseto Valfortore in Italy, to the vibrant streets of South Philly, to the close-knit enclave of Roseto, Pennsylvania, to New York City during the birth of the golden age of television, Kiss Carlo is a powerful, inter-generational story that celebrates the ties that bind, while staying true to oneself when all hope seems lost.
Told against the backdrop of some of Shakespeare’s greatest comedies, this novel brims with romance as long buried secrets are revealed, mistaken identities are unmasked, scores are settled, broken hearts are mended and true love reigns. Trigiani’s consummate storytelling skill and her trademark wit, along with a dazzling cast of characters will enthrall readers. Once again, the author has returned to her own family garden to create an unforgettable feast. Kiss Carlo is a jubilee, resplendent with hope, love, and the abiding power of la famiglia.
I really enjoyed this book! The cover is inviting and the story is well-written. I have to admit that when I picked the book up, it was a little intimidating because it appears to be such a long story. But I promise you — once you pick it up, you are NOT going to want to put it down!
The story centers around Nicky Castone, an Italian-American who grew up in Philadelphia and along with his cousins, served in WWII. When we meet him, Nicky is struggling with his identity. Because he was orphaned as a young child, he was raised by his aunt and uncle and is now driving a cab and delivering telegrams for the family business. But Nicky isn’t really sure he wants to follow in the family footsteps, and in fact, is secretly working in a neighborhood theater. He has been engaged for the past several years, but they’ve not yet set a date, and he’s not too sure he wants to follow through with that either. And just to make things interesting, the theater director is a lovely Italian-American girl. Now, before you say ‘I know where this is going’, let me tell you — you don’t. This story has romance, but it kept me guessing until the end!
As much as I enjoyed the story, I may have enjoyed even more the ‘Italian-American immersion experience’ I got as I read this. I experienced life in the early 1950s, with church festivals and family meal preparations, and I could almost taste the food! The characters frequently throw in Italian phrases which was particularly interesting for me. I’ve been practicing my Italian with Duolingo for about two years, and if was fun to see that my practice is paying off — I was able to understand much of it before I read the translation!
The one thing I would change about the book is that I would develop some of the other characters a bit more. I’d have liked to have known more about some of the other family members. In particular, I would have liked to have known more about cousin Gio. He had some issues that I felt were not really resolved at the end of the story. At the same time, I was satisfied with the ending and i have to acknowledge that developing any of the other characters further may have made the story overly long. I wonder if there is enough to Gio’s story to warrant another book. It’s one I would definitely read!
This book is definitely a keeper! It’s going on my ‘I want to read again and again’ shelf right next to The Shoemaker’s Wife! If you enjoy stories about family, and particularly about Italian-American family, you’ll want to read this one!
Visit the publisher’s website to read an excerpt or download a reader’s guide. You can view a book trailer below.
Adriana Trigiani is the bestselling author of 17 books, which have been published in 36 countries around the world. She is a playwright, television writer/producer and filmmaker. She wrote and directed the film version of her novel Big Stone Gap, which was shot entirely on location in her Virginia hometown. She is co-founder of the Origin Project, an in-school writing program that serves more than a thousand students in Appalachia. She lives in Greenwich Village with her family.
Visit Adriana at her website: www.adrianatrigiani.com, like her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.
This book review is included in a tour by TLC Book Tours. I was provided a copy for review purposes.
Adriana’s Tour Stops
Tuesday, June 20th: Life By Kristen
Wednesday, June 21st: bookchickdi
Thursday, June 22nd: A Night’s Dream of Books
Friday, June 23rd: Time 2 Read
Monday, June 26th: Library of Clean Reads
Tuesday, June 27th: Based on a True Story
Wednesday, June 28th: Always With a Book
Thursday, June 29th: Thoughts On This ‘n That
Friday, June 30th: View from the Birdhouse
Monday, July 3rd: Kritters Ramblings
Tuesday, July 4th: The many thoughts of a reader
Wednesday, July 5th: Tina Says…
Thursday, July 6th: History from a Woman’s Perspective
Friday, July 7th: My Journey Back
Friday, July 7th: Stephany Writes
Monday, July 10th: Wining Wife
Tuesday, July 11th: West Metro Mommy
Wednesday, July 12th: BookNAround
Thursday, July 13th: Ms. Nose in a Book
Friday, July 14th: Bibliotica