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The fateful first meeting of Enza and Ciro takes place amid the haunting majesty of the Italian Alps at the turn of the last century. Still teenagers, they are separated when Ciro is banished from his village and sent to hide in New York's Little Italy, apprenticed to a shoemaker, leaving a bereft Enza behind. But when her own family faces disaster, she, too, is forced to emigrate to America. Though destiny will reunite the star-crossed lovers, it will, just as abruptly, separate them once again—sending Ciro off to serve in World War I, while Enza is drawn into the glamorous world of the opera . . . and into the life of the international singing sensation Enrico Caruso. Still, Enza and Ciro have been touched by fate—and, ultimately, the power of their love will change their lives forever.

A riveting historical epic of love and family, war and loss, risk and destiny, inspired by the author's own family history, The Shoemaker's Wife is the novel Adriana Trigiani was born to write.

Topics: Family, Love, Grief, Immigration, World War 1, Love Story, Star-crossed Lovers, Romantic, Italy, New York City, Stand-Alone Novels, Based on a True Story, Sewing, Reunions, 1910s, Minnesota, Fashion, and United States of America

Published: HarperCollins on Apr 3, 2012
ISBN: 9780062098061
List price: $8.99
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Adriana Trigiani's "The Shoemaker's Wife" is an epic tale of immigration, love, and finding your life. The novel spans three decades, from the 1910s to the end of World War II. At the center of the story are Ciro and Enza, two young immigrants from the same small town in the Italian Alps. Both must immigrate to New York under duress, after their initial spark in Italy. After a chance encounter in New York, the two must decide if their future lies together or apart.I really enjoyed this novel, the first I head read by Trigiani. My understanding is that her novels are normally romances, but I felt like this novel was more like good historical fiction with a bit of romance thrown in. From the Italian Alps to the street of Little Italy to the trenches of France during World War I, this novel covers a lot and Trigiani does a great job of taking her reader along on her characters adventures. For me the characters felt genuine and I liked them, always something that helps me connect to a novel. My only real complaint with this enjoyable page turner was that although the novel is long (at nearly 400 pages) the author's pacing is uneven. She spends a lot of time in certain parts of the story, and very little in others.Overall, I enjoyed this novel. It was a fairly light, quick read, with good historical detail and just the right amount of romance.read more
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A very pleasant and predictable read. I very much enjoyed the descriptions of Italy, I felt like I was there.read more
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Adriana Trigiani's latest, The Shoemaker's Wife, is a sweeping saga that takes readers from the Italian Alps to New York City to the bracing weather of the Minnesota iron range at the beginnings of the twentieth century. Twenty years in the making, it is the fictionalized story of her own grandparents' love story. The story follows the lives of Enza Ravanelli and Ciro Lazari, two children born in the Italian Alps and each of whom find their way to America. While there, they find success through hard work and each other through patience and a deep and poignant love. It sounds simple, but the ensuing story is just gorgeous in its scope. A typical immigration story, both Enza and Ciro's struggles put future generations to shame. Their childhood poverty, their amazing work ethic, and their willingness to sacrifice everything for family are certain characteristics that today's generations simply cannot fathom. Working twelve hours days for minimal wages, going hungry to send money in support of family members - these are things today's children have been taught not to accept. While this is not necessarily a bad thing, The Shoemaker's Wife is a wonderful reminder of the steps the nation had to take to bring us to this point. It is the hard work and dedication of immigrants such as Enza and Ciro that provided future generations with the creature comforts and decent work environments that exist today. Yet, Ms. Trigiani does not preach her point. She lets Enza's and Ciro's actions speak for themselves, and readers will find themselves sitting up straighter and working harder out of deference to two such devoted characters. Enza and Ciro are two characters that leap from the page. They are so well-written and realistic, there is no difficulty imagining them walking the streets of New York or picnicking on the banks of Minnesota lake. Ciro's exuberance for life is intoxicating. He brings a smile to readers' faces through his genuine good nature and enthusiasm, while his fears and worries become the readers' own. Conversely, Enza's practical nature and refined gentleness help readers strive to become better people. Her complete devotion to her family and the satisfaction she feels in making beautiful things and making others happy are inspiring. Their devotion to one another is simply beautiful. A reader feels privileged to be included in such a touching story about love and sacrifice.For the audiobook , Ms. Trigiani freely admits to being actively involved its production. Since The Shoemaker's Wife was a novel twenty years in the making, the audiobook experience had to be perfect and authentic to the story, hence the two narrators. Annabella Sciorra is the perfect choice for young Enza and Ciro. There is an innocence to her performance that mirrors their own relative inexperience in the world at large. When Ms. Trigiani takes over the narration, the listener knows that the story is about take a serious turn. Enza's and Ciro's world gets more complicated and more adult, and Ms. Trigiani's voice reflects the wisdom that comes with experience. While Ms. Sciorra's narration is all careful piety and youth, Ms. Trigiani's narration embodies the family ideal. Of the two, Ms. Sciorra's voice is the more pleasing to the ear, but one can understand and overlook the scratchiness of Ms. Trigiani's voice and less-polished narration when one remembers how near and dear this story is to her. Adriana Trigiani has not only done it again, she has far surpassed anything she has previously written. She not only captures the excitement and constant changes which define the new century, she infuses each location with reverence due to careful attention to detail and the ensuing absolutely breathtaking descriptions. The effort and care she took to recreate the stories told to her by family members shines from every page. Enza and Ciro embody the changing times with their endless energy, determination, and willingness to work. Their devotion to one another will bring readers to tears. The Shoemaker's Wife is the type of novel which immerses readers so completely into its world that all other cares, worries, chores, and other demands of life fade to nonexistence. Like a good Italian meal, it demands to be savored and enjoyed slowly, allowing readers to absorb each delicious description and scene, and thoroughly enjoy it they will. Acknowledgments: Thank you to Beth Harper and Harper Audio for my review copy!read more
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This novel is based on the story of Trigianni's grandparents covering both their lives in Italy and in the United States. Both are followed from childhood through their adult lives. While it's a good book, I thought it ran a little long and that some of the descriptive passages could have been pared back a little. Those of Italian heritage will find it thoroughly enjoyable. I did not think it measured up to her Big Stone Gap trilogy, but it's still a good read.read more
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The Shoemaker's Wife by Adriana Trigiani

Challenges read for: Goodreads, EBook, Historical Fiction, Immigrant Stories

Book Cover: Love it! I'm not so sure of the historical accuracy of the dress, but who cares--it's still beautiful!

I loved the last paragraph of the book: "She twisted the gold ring Ciro had placed on her hand so many years ago on the day they were married. She had never taken it off. Enza remembered Ciro's words:
Beware the things of this world that can mean everything or nothing. Love. Gold. Somehow, Ciro had managed to give Enza both, but the love had been the everything."

And that summed up a beautiful story of a very powerful love that began in the Alps of Italy and ends in the heartland of America. We travel through time with Enza and Ciro, learning the stories of their youth, their passages to America, finding and losing each other and finally, finally able to unite, become a family, and for Enza, suffer a great loss. Enza's story takes us from a ramshackle house in Hoboken, NJ to a fabulous career as a costumer to Enrico Caruso and working at the Met in NYC. Ciro learns his trade of expert shoemaker and then feels compelled to join up and fight for his country in what was then called "The Great War". It is the aftereffects of this war that will eventually end their love story, but the story of family continues--this is the story based on Adriana Trigiani's grandparents. It is also a story that we readers have been blessed with, for Adriana has truly given us a gift with this one!
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The first thing you notice about Adriana Trigiani's newest novel, The Shoemaker's Wife, is the stunning cover. A gorgeous woman in a tangerine colored gown strikes a dramatic pose against a wallpapered print that evokes the beauty of an Italian village. The first time I saw it, it literally took my breath away.I have read many of Trigiani's books, starting with the Big Stone Gap series, through the Valentine series, stand alone books like Rococco, and her non-fiction book about her grandmothers titled Don't Sing at the Table, and enjoyed them all, but all of the those books so clearly led her to write this masterpiece, her best book yet, The Shoemaker's Wife.Some writers are better at story (John Grisham, for example), others excel at writing memorable characters; in my mind, no author is better than Trigiani at writing the setting of the story. We fell in love with the small town of Big Stone Gap in Virginia and all of the wonderful people who lived there. In the Valentine series, we were a part of Greenwich Village, and made unforgettable visits to the Italy and Argentina.Trigiani's writing is so vivid and visual, you can picture each setting so clearly in your mind, you feel like you've taken a trip there yourself. Clothing, shoes and interior design have also played a part in many of her books, and I have often lamented that there were no illustrations of the beautiful things that were being described.In The Shoemaker's Wife, we begin early in the 20th century in the Italian Alps, both beautiful and dangerous. Young Ciro Lazzari and his older brother Eduardo are being sent to a convent following the death of their father, who was working in a mine in America. Their grieving mother was unable to to care for them.At the convent, Ciro learned to work with his hands, doing all of the chores that the nuns needed. Eduardo took to the prayer and ritual of religious life. The relationship between the brothers is so well-written; they were very different from and yet devoted to each other.Young Enza lived with her family on the mountain. They did not have much money, but her father scraped out a living ferrying people up and down the mountain with his horse and carriage.Ciro meets Enza when he is sent to dig a grave for Enza's young sister who died tragically. They share time together and a special connection is made between the two. Ciro runs afoul of the local priest when he sees him in an embrace with a young girl. The priest wants Ciro gone, and the nuns send him to America.Enza and her father also emigrate to America to make enough money to send home to build a family home. They are sad to leave their family behind, but know that if they work hard and save all their money, they will return home soon.Ciro becomes a shoemaker's apprentice in Greenwich Village. Enza works in a clothing factory, a sweatshop where she makes a lifelong friend in Irish immigrant Laura. Over the years, Ciro and Enza run into each other, and although they both have feelings for each other, they are kept apart for many reasons.Enza and Laura get the opportunity of a lifetime when they are chosen to work as seamstresses at the Metropolitan Opera. Enza's creativity gets her noticed, and she is thrilled to be able to design for Enrico Caruso, the international star of the Met.This section of the novel soars. The excitement of New York City, the grandeur of the opera house, the lovely boarding house where Enza and Laura live, the gorgeous costumes they create- I was swept away with the beauty of it all.Enza and Ciro are star-crossed lovers, but you can tell by the title of the book that they are fated to be together. They are hard-working immigrants and when an opportunity to make a better life in Minnesota arises, they take it.These characters are based in part on Trigiani's grandparents. Reading this book will encourage many people to talk to their grandparents and great-grandparents, to hear their stories, which are probably very similiar. Isn't it funny how we never think of our grandparents as young people, in love and trying to build a life, but they are precisely the people who built our country.Trigiani hits the nail on the head with her depiction of Enza and Ciro's marriage; it isn't always easy, no matter how much in love they are. There is one scene near the end that takes place among Ciro, Enza and their son that just broke my heart, and the beauty and sadness of it was both private and universal at the same time.She writes so many thoughtful passages; as the mother of two sons, this one particularly touched me:"A man need his father more as life progresses, not less. It is not enough to learn how to use a lathe, milk a cow, repair a roof; there are greater holes to mend, deeper wells to fill, that only a father's wisdom can sustain. A father teaches his son how to think a problem through, how to lead a household, how to love his wife. A father sets an example for his son, building his character from the soul outward."The Shoemaker's Wife is Adriana Trigiani's most magnificent work yet. As beautiful on the inside as the cover is on the outside, it moved me immensely. This is the book I will put into all of my family and friends' hands, saying "you must read this!"read more
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This is not only a love story but a story about family and people that we meet along the way that become family. Ciro and Enza meet in italy when they are only fifteen. They meet again in America where they are trying to make their way in the world.read more
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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.read more
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What a treasure of a book! After her husband dies, Catherine Lazzari does not rebound. She therefore takes her two young sons to be cared for by the Sisters of San Nicola in a mountain village in her native Italy and disappears from their lives for decades. Eduardo and Ciro are very different from one another but their love and respect for each other is equally strong. Eduardo is quiet , religious and studious while Ciro is a charmer with a zest for life and a strong work ethic. The nuns are their family and they are well cared for and well loved.We follow these brothers for decades and from Italy to America for Ciro where his talents and hard work serve him well. This book has it all; adventure, history, drama, love, disappointment and triumph. It is so well told that every detail of the Italian mountainside and every level of growth and achievement blossoms in the reader's soul. Back when I was in high school, required reading was Steinbeck and Dickens. To stay on as fine a level, today it should be Adriana Trigiani if it already isn't.read more
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Ciro and his older brother, Eduardo, live with their mother in the Italian Alps. But when their father is killed in a mine accident, the boys’ mother can no longer provide for them. She leaves them at a convent in the care of the nuns who raise the two youngsters as though they were their own. Although Eduardo has a strong Catholic faith, Ciro questions everything. So when he catches a priest in a compromising situation, Ciro reports the incident. Banished from the village, Ciro is sent to America to become a shoemaker’s apprentice.Enza is the eldest daughter of a large family. She adores her father and mother and cares for her siblings. When disaster strikes, she decides to use her seamstress skills to earn money for her family. Hoping to one day return to her village, Enza boards a ship for America.Enza and Ciro meet only once in their small village, but fate draws them together in America. While Ciro faces combat in WWI, Enza begins to realize her dreams as a gifted seamstress for the Metropolitan Opera House in New York. Despite the challenges of being together, the love they have for each other will forever change their lives.Adriana Trigiani was inspired to write this book based on her grandparent’s love affair and marriage. The story is a sprawling historical novel which spans decades and moves from the Italian Alps to New York City and finally to Minnesota. Trigiani excels at describing place, including beautiful details of the Italian countryside, as well as the congestion and excitement of New York City.Despite a book firmly grounded in place, The Shoemaker’s Wife is not without its faults. Ciro is not altogether likable as the dashing womanizer. Enza is almost too good to be true. Together their chemistry is anything but tantalizing. I found the dialogue in the novel stilted and the character development was not as deep as I usually like. The story worked as an historical novel, but fell short as a literary romance.The early part of the book was interesting. I liked how Trigiani transported me to Italy and showed the underpinnings of a small village. The mid to latter part of the novel dragged for me – and I admit, I did skim many parts.Trigiani has written many bestselling novels, but this was my first experience with one of her books. Other bloggers who I respect have enjoyed her earlier works and I have seen some raves of this one, so although I did not love it, I would not discourage others from reading Trigiani’s latest effort.Readers who have liked previous novels by this author, or those who like sprawling historical sagas may want to give The Shoemaker’s Wife a try.read more
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I can't remember the last Trigiani book I read, but I know it was back when my most challenging reads were because of length of the novel rather than depth of the prose. I'm afraid I wasn't expecting a whole lot from this book.I'm happy to say that I judged this book too harshly before I'd even really taken a look at it. It is, in fact, a nicely told tale of historical fiction. It felt surprisingly true, with little details about the time in which it was set that gave it substance. It's not a time with which we are too familiar and it's not a place we know well either and that adds to the charm of the story.I'm not one for long books and I'm not wild about a romance and I'm not a big fan of historical fiction, but somehow this book overcame all my (highly opinionated) objections and won me over. I liked the story and you probably will, too.read more
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I know this was supposed to be Adriana Trigiani's masterpiece epic novel, but honestly? To me, it was just okay. It does contain the history of her family, and their immigration here to the US from a mountain-top in Italy. And it does contain some great history of golden days at the Met. But it just proves to me that while most of us have some fascinating moments in our lives, there's a lot of everyday stuff. Well written, though, and only helps to firm up in my mind that despite my mother's death bed wish that I "write a book about her", it would be really hard to carry off.read more
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Firstly and as always I would be remiss if I didn't note that I received this book free as a Goodreads giveaway. I entered the Giveaway, as I always do, knowing absolutely nothing of the book in question and intentionally avoiding any background. The fact that the book was free (as anyone who looks at my other reviews of free books will note) will have no impact on my review of it.Unlike many of the free books I've reviewed this one wasn't free because it was new and just coming out and needed reviewing. It was free because the book was already well established and coming out in paperback after being on the NYT best sellers list. Typically I give very little credence to the popularity of a book in assessing the quality but after having tramped my way through the nearly 500 pages of this one I can assert that its popularity is well deserved.There have been so many reviewers before me that there's little I can say that hasn't already been covered. Trigiani's book is at its heart a romance but only so in the way that all stories drawn from life are at their hearts romances. She encapsulates with incredible skill an entire lifetime and draws us a portrait that makes its way into your soul and is sure to be remembered long after the last page turns.The author's attention to detail is meticulous without becoming dull or redundant and reminds me strongly of the Dickensian tendency to stop and patiently draw out all the intimate nuances of a scene. I would leave potential readers with two recommendations. Firstly, take the time to read this one but do so with an open mind and let it wash over you. Immerse yourself in it and have patience. Secondly, the book is not to be taken lightly. You cannot go after it in fits and starts. If you cannot read 100 pages at a sitting then read something else until you can. It is a vastly rewarding novel but one that requires utmost and concentrated attention.read more
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The novel, The Shoemaker’s Wife by Adriana Trigiani, isn’t only a love story; it’s about family and friends, fate and destiny. It’s not just about the family you are born into but also the people in your life who become your family. They impact your life and shape your past, your present, and your future. This story could have easily just been a romance but it ends up being so much more. It’s about sacrifice, hard work, and loss. It’s about growing up and finding out what you want in your life.

The main characters, Enza and Ciro, meet in Italy when they are teenagers living in different villages. The attraction between them is instant and even though they were apart, they think about each other all the time. Due to different circumstances for each, Enza moves to America with her father and Ciro becomes a shoemaker’s apprentice in New York City. Through the years, they meet again and again as they live their lives and meet new people. I don’t think it’s spoiling anything to say that they eventually get together. The journey of them getting together and what happens after is a journey the author takes the reader on.

Ms. Trigiani’s descriptions of the landscape, of the mountains in Italy and the streets of New York City, make it seem as though the reader is there with the characters, experiencing their experiences. Enza and Ciro are two likeable people and you want to know how their lives end up. They are surrounded by many other characters you may find yourself routing for throughout the novel. Ciro’s friend, Luigi and Enza’s best friend, Laura, come to mind. You may not find a lot of surprises and some of the story may be predictable but that doesn’t make it boring. This is a novel that will stay in your memory long after you finish reading it.
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This is a lovely story although it did not turn out as I expected it would when I first started reading it. I thought it would revolve more around the two brothers, Ciro and Eduardo; their different life stories. It's a nice love story but it in my opinion it did get repetitious in it's attempt to get the love story across.read more
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Okay, I was captured by the story and woke in the night to keep reading it, but in common with a lot of the family saga sort of books it became to me a bit plodding after a while, and also a bit too pat. But I'm sympathetic. The author says she based the tale on her own family history, and who wouldn't want a fated history in which all things are meant to be, at some level? Yet somehow it was all of one tone, a river of language running on to the inevitable end.read more
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An enjoyable family saga. I found myself speaking Italian halfway through it!read more
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the love story of two Italian immigrants who meet briefly in Italy before renewing their relationship in New York City and then starting their marriage in the Iron Range of Minnesota. great story,, even if Enza, the heroine is way too good to believe. based on the author's grandparent's lives.read more
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This book is very long but I loved this book more as I went along and it wasn't just because of the story, but for the style of writing. I felt comforted by the humaneness and the integrity of the characters. I liked the way that the author detailed the characters' emotions and that these emotions were very rational and insightful. Some might feel that this is unrealistic, which I suppose it is, but this is escapism. I understand Kathryn Stockett's review of this book now when she described it as, "A rich, sweeping epic."read more
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Storytelling is what Adriana Trigiani does best. And in The Shoemaker’s Wife, she tells the fictionalized story of her grandparents. They were Italian immigrants who knew each other as children in their home country, came to the USA separately, reunited and married. Of course, the story has many twists, turns and embellishments along the way. Ciro and Enza both have sadness in their childhoods. After Ciro’s father dies, his mother abandons him and his brother, leaving him to be raised by the local nuns. And Enza is the glue holding her large family together after the death of the youngest child. But both are determined to succeed in life. And, although they love living in the mountains of northern Italy, they are forced by circumstances to travel to America to make their way. And they do it with such style!Ms. Trigiani has visited my public library twice in the last several years, and I attended her presentations both times. She’s an amazing woman: funny, with a sincerity and love of life that can’t be faked. She’s the real deal … the kind of writer whose grocery list probably makes for entertaining reading. The Shoemaker’s Wife is the literary equivalent of comfort food: warm and satisfying.read more
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Engaging fictionalized account of the author's grandparent's love story and immigration.read more
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The Shoemaker’s Wife was actually my first Adriana Trigiani novel. I know, I know, I call myself a book nerd and I have never before read anything by this highly talented and bestselling author. I’m so terrible. But, honestly, none of her books seemed to grab my attention before, so I never made the plunge. The blurb for Shoemaker’s Wife, combined with the captivating cover, intrigued me. I just had to learn more. What I discovered was a delightful story that left me wanting to read more of Trigiani’s novels.The Shoemaker’s Wife is a sweeping tale of love, life and the many things that can pull people apart –and bring them together. The story begins in a small town in Italy when a young man named Ciro is banished from his town and heads to America to find a new life. He soon takes up residence as a shoe repairman in the Little Italy area of New York, and finds that America holds many beautiful young women. A young woman from Ciro’s same village who harbors a long-time love for him, Enza, also comes to Little Italy. And though Ciro has never seemed to have any affection for her before, he finds himself drawn to her.Trigiani’s newest novel is a powerful tale of Italian immigrants, romance and the real hardships of life –and the ability of the human spirit to overcome it all. Though I read an ARC of the book, the writing style was incredibly strong and polished, and though the novel was a rather large tome, it went quickly and comfortably. I found myself completely engrossed in this fascinating tale, though this isn’t usually the type of thing I read.At times heartbreaking and heartwarming, The Shoemaker’s Wife is a beautiful and sweeping tale that will keep readers glued to every page. I became so invested in these characters and their lives that they became real to me, and I celebrated their triumphs with them and shed tears for their hardships. A truly glorious read.read more
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This book just went on too long. Not bad but not excellent, either. Glad I got it from the library, no need to own.read more
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The Shoemaker's Wife was a lovely story about immigrant kids coming to America for very different and very similar reasons. The love story is one to last through the ages and remembered as one of the great ones. I love passing on stories as good as this and hope everyone enjoys it as much as I do.read more
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Like Maeve Binchy, Trigiani writes about family and place. In her case the place is Italy. While I've enjoyed all of her books this one is special because she has based it on her grandparents experience as immigrants to America. The story begins in the early 1900s and continues through mid century, following Enza and Ciro, who grew up on the same mountain in Northern Italy but immigrate to America at different times. The story tells both their individual stories and their shared story. I especially enjoyed reading about Enza's experience as a seamstress at the Metropolitan Opera. A big book that goes fast, I'm glad I read it and recommend it.read more
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Meh. Overly descriptive, is that a bad thing? Sometimes. Sometimes it is so oppressive that you just breeze over the chapter. Sometimes it's kind of lovely. Despite a book where SO MUCH happens, not much happens, you know? I mean, one moment you are in the Italian Alps, the next NYC, then Minnesota. So what. So much happens in the book but is so bogged down in description that the change of scenery just kind of happens as an incident. Take World War I for example. Though it deeply affects a character, the actual dedication to it in the narrative is like MAYBE 5 pages. Granted, there are some tender moments and a plethora of sadness in the book, particularly toward the end, and yes, sometimes that works and sometimes it doesn't. The most fascinating part of the book is the era, and the wide-eyed POV of Ciro when he arrives from the simple hills of Italy to the bustle that is the United States, particularly New York City. That is what really keeps the interest, and it seems that Trigiani did some decent research for the novel.NOTE: I was also listening to the audio while reading and the abrupt change of narrator from the Italian actress to author Trigiani is AWFUL. The author even skips words!read more
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I really enjoyed reading this book. The main thing I love in a book is to simply be entertained with a really good story and this book did just that.My only criticism is that I found the two main characters a bit too perfect. Too honest, too hard working, too virtuous. It made them a little flat. Yet despite that they were very likeable and I was sad to have the book come to an end.read more
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I have a very high tolerance for slow moving books with a lot of description, but this one did me in. I read 40% of the book before calling it quits. The descriptions were alright, but between the wandering plot and the lack of passion in the characters, I simply could not continue. Since the book hinges on the romance between the two main characters, I needed much more intensity.read more
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Ms. Trigiani certainly has taken her style to a new level of historical fiction with The Shoemaker's Wife. I was a little concerned at first as the book started off a little slow for me but, I was soon swept up in the beauty of the mountains. What a wonderful glimpse at what so many of our immigrant relatives had to endure as they came to America.read more
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One word summary of this book: HELLO!Seriously, The Shoemaker's Wife by Adriana Trigiani just seriously took every one of my expectations of Adriana (from reading previous novels of hers) and slapped them around and made me sit up and pay attention. The Shoemaker's Wife, folks, is how a historical story about immigration should be done.I don't even know where to begin with my review - but let me say this.. this story is so rich in background that by the time the shoemaker gets his wife, I felt as if I knew both Enza and Ciro like they were members of my own family. And, as this story is inspired from Adriana's grandparents story, it's easy to see why this story lives and breathes on the pages.There is so much for everyone in this book. The descriptions of Enzo and Sister Theresa's cooking had me wiping away the drool - aching for the gnocchi with sage and butter sauce. I cried, laughed, and sighed over the story as it moves over the course of about 30 years. And then.. the immigration - so vivid, I felt as if I was on Ellis Island with both families, and yet I longed for the mountains and the life they'd left behind as well.This is a perfect book club read - it's lavish, beautiful, and filled with a little bit of every type of perfection.read more
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Adriana Trigiani's "The Shoemaker's Wife" is an epic tale of immigration, love, and finding your life. The novel spans three decades, from the 1910s to the end of World War II. At the center of the story are Ciro and Enza, two young immigrants from the same small town in the Italian Alps. Both must immigrate to New York under duress, after their initial spark in Italy. After a chance encounter in New York, the two must decide if their future lies together or apart.I really enjoyed this novel, the first I head read by Trigiani. My understanding is that her novels are normally romances, but I felt like this novel was more like good historical fiction with a bit of romance thrown in. From the Italian Alps to the street of Little Italy to the trenches of France during World War I, this novel covers a lot and Trigiani does a great job of taking her reader along on her characters adventures. For me the characters felt genuine and I liked them, always something that helps me connect to a novel. My only real complaint with this enjoyable page turner was that although the novel is long (at nearly 400 pages) the author's pacing is uneven. She spends a lot of time in certain parts of the story, and very little in others.Overall, I enjoyed this novel. It was a fairly light, quick read, with good historical detail and just the right amount of romance.
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A very pleasant and predictable read. I very much enjoyed the descriptions of Italy, I felt like I was there.
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Adriana Trigiani's latest, The Shoemaker's Wife, is a sweeping saga that takes readers from the Italian Alps to New York City to the bracing weather of the Minnesota iron range at the beginnings of the twentieth century. Twenty years in the making, it is the fictionalized story of her own grandparents' love story. The story follows the lives of Enza Ravanelli and Ciro Lazari, two children born in the Italian Alps and each of whom find their way to America. While there, they find success through hard work and each other through patience and a deep and poignant love. It sounds simple, but the ensuing story is just gorgeous in its scope. A typical immigration story, both Enza and Ciro's struggles put future generations to shame. Their childhood poverty, their amazing work ethic, and their willingness to sacrifice everything for family are certain characteristics that today's generations simply cannot fathom. Working twelve hours days for minimal wages, going hungry to send money in support of family members - these are things today's children have been taught not to accept. While this is not necessarily a bad thing, The Shoemaker's Wife is a wonderful reminder of the steps the nation had to take to bring us to this point. It is the hard work and dedication of immigrants such as Enza and Ciro that provided future generations with the creature comforts and decent work environments that exist today. Yet, Ms. Trigiani does not preach her point. She lets Enza's and Ciro's actions speak for themselves, and readers will find themselves sitting up straighter and working harder out of deference to two such devoted characters. Enza and Ciro are two characters that leap from the page. They are so well-written and realistic, there is no difficulty imagining them walking the streets of New York or picnicking on the banks of Minnesota lake. Ciro's exuberance for life is intoxicating. He brings a smile to readers' faces through his genuine good nature and enthusiasm, while his fears and worries become the readers' own. Conversely, Enza's practical nature and refined gentleness help readers strive to become better people. Her complete devotion to her family and the satisfaction she feels in making beautiful things and making others happy are inspiring. Their devotion to one another is simply beautiful. A reader feels privileged to be included in such a touching story about love and sacrifice.For the audiobook , Ms. Trigiani freely admits to being actively involved its production. Since The Shoemaker's Wife was a novel twenty years in the making, the audiobook experience had to be perfect and authentic to the story, hence the two narrators. Annabella Sciorra is the perfect choice for young Enza and Ciro. There is an innocence to her performance that mirrors their own relative inexperience in the world at large. When Ms. Trigiani takes over the narration, the listener knows that the story is about take a serious turn. Enza's and Ciro's world gets more complicated and more adult, and Ms. Trigiani's voice reflects the wisdom that comes with experience. While Ms. Sciorra's narration is all careful piety and youth, Ms. Trigiani's narration embodies the family ideal. Of the two, Ms. Sciorra's voice is the more pleasing to the ear, but one can understand and overlook the scratchiness of Ms. Trigiani's voice and less-polished narration when one remembers how near and dear this story is to her. Adriana Trigiani has not only done it again, she has far surpassed anything she has previously written. She not only captures the excitement and constant changes which define the new century, she infuses each location with reverence due to careful attention to detail and the ensuing absolutely breathtaking descriptions. The effort and care she took to recreate the stories told to her by family members shines from every page. Enza and Ciro embody the changing times with their endless energy, determination, and willingness to work. Their devotion to one another will bring readers to tears. The Shoemaker's Wife is the type of novel which immerses readers so completely into its world that all other cares, worries, chores, and other demands of life fade to nonexistence. Like a good Italian meal, it demands to be savored and enjoyed slowly, allowing readers to absorb each delicious description and scene, and thoroughly enjoy it they will. Acknowledgments: Thank you to Beth Harper and Harper Audio for my review copy!
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This novel is based on the story of Trigianni's grandparents covering both their lives in Italy and in the United States. Both are followed from childhood through their adult lives. While it's a good book, I thought it ran a little long and that some of the descriptive passages could have been pared back a little. Those of Italian heritage will find it thoroughly enjoyable. I did not think it measured up to her Big Stone Gap trilogy, but it's still a good read.
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The Shoemaker's Wife by Adriana Trigiani

Challenges read for: Goodreads, EBook, Historical Fiction, Immigrant Stories

Book Cover: Love it! I'm not so sure of the historical accuracy of the dress, but who cares--it's still beautiful!

I loved the last paragraph of the book: "She twisted the gold ring Ciro had placed on her hand so many years ago on the day they were married. She had never taken it off. Enza remembered Ciro's words:
Beware the things of this world that can mean everything or nothing. Love. Gold. Somehow, Ciro had managed to give Enza both, but the love had been the everything."

And that summed up a beautiful story of a very powerful love that began in the Alps of Italy and ends in the heartland of America. We travel through time with Enza and Ciro, learning the stories of their youth, their passages to America, finding and losing each other and finally, finally able to unite, become a family, and for Enza, suffer a great loss. Enza's story takes us from a ramshackle house in Hoboken, NJ to a fabulous career as a costumer to Enrico Caruso and working at the Met in NYC. Ciro learns his trade of expert shoemaker and then feels compelled to join up and fight for his country in what was then called "The Great War". It is the aftereffects of this war that will eventually end their love story, but the story of family continues--this is the story based on Adriana Trigiani's grandparents. It is also a story that we readers have been blessed with, for Adriana has truly given us a gift with this one!
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The first thing you notice about Adriana Trigiani's newest novel, The Shoemaker's Wife, is the stunning cover. A gorgeous woman in a tangerine colored gown strikes a dramatic pose against a wallpapered print that evokes the beauty of an Italian village. The first time I saw it, it literally took my breath away.I have read many of Trigiani's books, starting with the Big Stone Gap series, through the Valentine series, stand alone books like Rococco, and her non-fiction book about her grandmothers titled Don't Sing at the Table, and enjoyed them all, but all of the those books so clearly led her to write this masterpiece, her best book yet, The Shoemaker's Wife.Some writers are better at story (John Grisham, for example), others excel at writing memorable characters; in my mind, no author is better than Trigiani at writing the setting of the story. We fell in love with the small town of Big Stone Gap in Virginia and all of the wonderful people who lived there. In the Valentine series, we were a part of Greenwich Village, and made unforgettable visits to the Italy and Argentina.Trigiani's writing is so vivid and visual, you can picture each setting so clearly in your mind, you feel like you've taken a trip there yourself. Clothing, shoes and interior design have also played a part in many of her books, and I have often lamented that there were no illustrations of the beautiful things that were being described.In The Shoemaker's Wife, we begin early in the 20th century in the Italian Alps, both beautiful and dangerous. Young Ciro Lazzari and his older brother Eduardo are being sent to a convent following the death of their father, who was working in a mine in America. Their grieving mother was unable to to care for them.At the convent, Ciro learned to work with his hands, doing all of the chores that the nuns needed. Eduardo took to the prayer and ritual of religious life. The relationship between the brothers is so well-written; they were very different from and yet devoted to each other.Young Enza lived with her family on the mountain. They did not have much money, but her father scraped out a living ferrying people up and down the mountain with his horse and carriage.Ciro meets Enza when he is sent to dig a grave for Enza's young sister who died tragically. They share time together and a special connection is made between the two. Ciro runs afoul of the local priest when he sees him in an embrace with a young girl. The priest wants Ciro gone, and the nuns send him to America.Enza and her father also emigrate to America to make enough money to send home to build a family home. They are sad to leave their family behind, but know that if they work hard and save all their money, they will return home soon.Ciro becomes a shoemaker's apprentice in Greenwich Village. Enza works in a clothing factory, a sweatshop where she makes a lifelong friend in Irish immigrant Laura. Over the years, Ciro and Enza run into each other, and although they both have feelings for each other, they are kept apart for many reasons.Enza and Laura get the opportunity of a lifetime when they are chosen to work as seamstresses at the Metropolitan Opera. Enza's creativity gets her noticed, and she is thrilled to be able to design for Enrico Caruso, the international star of the Met.This section of the novel soars. The excitement of New York City, the grandeur of the opera house, the lovely boarding house where Enza and Laura live, the gorgeous costumes they create- I was swept away with the beauty of it all.Enza and Ciro are star-crossed lovers, but you can tell by the title of the book that they are fated to be together. They are hard-working immigrants and when an opportunity to make a better life in Minnesota arises, they take it.These characters are based in part on Trigiani's grandparents. Reading this book will encourage many people to talk to their grandparents and great-grandparents, to hear their stories, which are probably very similiar. Isn't it funny how we never think of our grandparents as young people, in love and trying to build a life, but they are precisely the people who built our country.Trigiani hits the nail on the head with her depiction of Enza and Ciro's marriage; it isn't always easy, no matter how much in love they are. There is one scene near the end that takes place among Ciro, Enza and their son that just broke my heart, and the beauty and sadness of it was both private and universal at the same time.She writes so many thoughtful passages; as the mother of two sons, this one particularly touched me:"A man need his father more as life progresses, not less. It is not enough to learn how to use a lathe, milk a cow, repair a roof; there are greater holes to mend, deeper wells to fill, that only a father's wisdom can sustain. A father teaches his son how to think a problem through, how to lead a household, how to love his wife. A father sets an example for his son, building his character from the soul outward."The Shoemaker's Wife is Adriana Trigiani's most magnificent work yet. As beautiful on the inside as the cover is on the outside, it moved me immensely. This is the book I will put into all of my family and friends' hands, saying "you must read this!"
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This is not only a love story but a story about family and people that we meet along the way that become family. Ciro and Enza meet in italy when they are only fifteen. They meet again in America where they are trying to make their way in the world.
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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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What a treasure of a book! After her husband dies, Catherine Lazzari does not rebound. She therefore takes her two young sons to be cared for by the Sisters of San Nicola in a mountain village in her native Italy and disappears from their lives for decades. Eduardo and Ciro are very different from one another but their love and respect for each other is equally strong. Eduardo is quiet , religious and studious while Ciro is a charmer with a zest for life and a strong work ethic. The nuns are their family and they are well cared for and well loved.We follow these brothers for decades and from Italy to America for Ciro where his talents and hard work serve him well. This book has it all; adventure, history, drama, love, disappointment and triumph. It is so well told that every detail of the Italian mountainside and every level of growth and achievement blossoms in the reader's soul. Back when I was in high school, required reading was Steinbeck and Dickens. To stay on as fine a level, today it should be Adriana Trigiani if it already isn't.
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Ciro and his older brother, Eduardo, live with their mother in the Italian Alps. But when their father is killed in a mine accident, the boys’ mother can no longer provide for them. She leaves them at a convent in the care of the nuns who raise the two youngsters as though they were their own. Although Eduardo has a strong Catholic faith, Ciro questions everything. So when he catches a priest in a compromising situation, Ciro reports the incident. Banished from the village, Ciro is sent to America to become a shoemaker’s apprentice.Enza is the eldest daughter of a large family. She adores her father and mother and cares for her siblings. When disaster strikes, she decides to use her seamstress skills to earn money for her family. Hoping to one day return to her village, Enza boards a ship for America.Enza and Ciro meet only once in their small village, but fate draws them together in America. While Ciro faces combat in WWI, Enza begins to realize her dreams as a gifted seamstress for the Metropolitan Opera House in New York. Despite the challenges of being together, the love they have for each other will forever change their lives.Adriana Trigiani was inspired to write this book based on her grandparent’s love affair and marriage. The story is a sprawling historical novel which spans decades and moves from the Italian Alps to New York City and finally to Minnesota. Trigiani excels at describing place, including beautiful details of the Italian countryside, as well as the congestion and excitement of New York City.Despite a book firmly grounded in place, The Shoemaker’s Wife is not without its faults. Ciro is not altogether likable as the dashing womanizer. Enza is almost too good to be true. Together their chemistry is anything but tantalizing. I found the dialogue in the novel stilted and the character development was not as deep as I usually like. The story worked as an historical novel, but fell short as a literary romance.The early part of the book was interesting. I liked how Trigiani transported me to Italy and showed the underpinnings of a small village. The mid to latter part of the novel dragged for me – and I admit, I did skim many parts.Trigiani has written many bestselling novels, but this was my first experience with one of her books. Other bloggers who I respect have enjoyed her earlier works and I have seen some raves of this one, so although I did not love it, I would not discourage others from reading Trigiani’s latest effort.Readers who have liked previous novels by this author, or those who like sprawling historical sagas may want to give The Shoemaker’s Wife a try.
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I can't remember the last Trigiani book I read, but I know it was back when my most challenging reads were because of length of the novel rather than depth of the prose. I'm afraid I wasn't expecting a whole lot from this book.I'm happy to say that I judged this book too harshly before I'd even really taken a look at it. It is, in fact, a nicely told tale of historical fiction. It felt surprisingly true, with little details about the time in which it was set that gave it substance. It's not a time with which we are too familiar and it's not a place we know well either and that adds to the charm of the story.I'm not one for long books and I'm not wild about a romance and I'm not a big fan of historical fiction, but somehow this book overcame all my (highly opinionated) objections and won me over. I liked the story and you probably will, too.
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I know this was supposed to be Adriana Trigiani's masterpiece epic novel, but honestly? To me, it was just okay. It does contain the history of her family, and their immigration here to the US from a mountain-top in Italy. And it does contain some great history of golden days at the Met. But it just proves to me that while most of us have some fascinating moments in our lives, there's a lot of everyday stuff. Well written, though, and only helps to firm up in my mind that despite my mother's death bed wish that I "write a book about her", it would be really hard to carry off.
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Firstly and as always I would be remiss if I didn't note that I received this book free as a Goodreads giveaway. I entered the Giveaway, as I always do, knowing absolutely nothing of the book in question and intentionally avoiding any background. The fact that the book was free (as anyone who looks at my other reviews of free books will note) will have no impact on my review of it.Unlike many of the free books I've reviewed this one wasn't free because it was new and just coming out and needed reviewing. It was free because the book was already well established and coming out in paperback after being on the NYT best sellers list. Typically I give very little credence to the popularity of a book in assessing the quality but after having tramped my way through the nearly 500 pages of this one I can assert that its popularity is well deserved.There have been so many reviewers before me that there's little I can say that hasn't already been covered. Trigiani's book is at its heart a romance but only so in the way that all stories drawn from life are at their hearts romances. She encapsulates with incredible skill an entire lifetime and draws us a portrait that makes its way into your soul and is sure to be remembered long after the last page turns.The author's attention to detail is meticulous without becoming dull or redundant and reminds me strongly of the Dickensian tendency to stop and patiently draw out all the intimate nuances of a scene. I would leave potential readers with two recommendations. Firstly, take the time to read this one but do so with an open mind and let it wash over you. Immerse yourself in it and have patience. Secondly, the book is not to be taken lightly. You cannot go after it in fits and starts. If you cannot read 100 pages at a sitting then read something else until you can. It is a vastly rewarding novel but one that requires utmost and concentrated attention.
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The novel, The Shoemaker’s Wife by Adriana Trigiani, isn’t only a love story; it’s about family and friends, fate and destiny. It’s not just about the family you are born into but also the people in your life who become your family. They impact your life and shape your past, your present, and your future. This story could have easily just been a romance but it ends up being so much more. It’s about sacrifice, hard work, and loss. It’s about growing up and finding out what you want in your life.

The main characters, Enza and Ciro, meet in Italy when they are teenagers living in different villages. The attraction between them is instant and even though they were apart, they think about each other all the time. Due to different circumstances for each, Enza moves to America with her father and Ciro becomes a shoemaker’s apprentice in New York City. Through the years, they meet again and again as they live their lives and meet new people. I don’t think it’s spoiling anything to say that they eventually get together. The journey of them getting together and what happens after is a journey the author takes the reader on.

Ms. Trigiani’s descriptions of the landscape, of the mountains in Italy and the streets of New York City, make it seem as though the reader is there with the characters, experiencing their experiences. Enza and Ciro are two likeable people and you want to know how their lives end up. They are surrounded by many other characters you may find yourself routing for throughout the novel. Ciro’s friend, Luigi and Enza’s best friend, Laura, come to mind. You may not find a lot of surprises and some of the story may be predictable but that doesn’t make it boring. This is a novel that will stay in your memory long after you finish reading it.
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This is a lovely story although it did not turn out as I expected it would when I first started reading it. I thought it would revolve more around the two brothers, Ciro and Eduardo; their different life stories. It's a nice love story but it in my opinion it did get repetitious in it's attempt to get the love story across.
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Okay, I was captured by the story and woke in the night to keep reading it, but in common with a lot of the family saga sort of books it became to me a bit plodding after a while, and also a bit too pat. But I'm sympathetic. The author says she based the tale on her own family history, and who wouldn't want a fated history in which all things are meant to be, at some level? Yet somehow it was all of one tone, a river of language running on to the inevitable end.
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An enjoyable family saga. I found myself speaking Italian halfway through it!
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the love story of two Italian immigrants who meet briefly in Italy before renewing their relationship in New York City and then starting their marriage in the Iron Range of Minnesota. great story,, even if Enza, the heroine is way too good to believe. based on the author's grandparent's lives.
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This book is very long but I loved this book more as I went along and it wasn't just because of the story, but for the style of writing. I felt comforted by the humaneness and the integrity of the characters. I liked the way that the author detailed the characters' emotions and that these emotions were very rational and insightful. Some might feel that this is unrealistic, which I suppose it is, but this is escapism. I understand Kathryn Stockett's review of this book now when she described it as, "A rich, sweeping epic."
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Storytelling is what Adriana Trigiani does best. And in The Shoemaker’s Wife, she tells the fictionalized story of her grandparents. They were Italian immigrants who knew each other as children in their home country, came to the USA separately, reunited and married. Of course, the story has many twists, turns and embellishments along the way. Ciro and Enza both have sadness in their childhoods. After Ciro’s father dies, his mother abandons him and his brother, leaving him to be raised by the local nuns. And Enza is the glue holding her large family together after the death of the youngest child. But both are determined to succeed in life. And, although they love living in the mountains of northern Italy, they are forced by circumstances to travel to America to make their way. And they do it with such style!Ms. Trigiani has visited my public library twice in the last several years, and I attended her presentations both times. She’s an amazing woman: funny, with a sincerity and love of life that can’t be faked. She’s the real deal … the kind of writer whose grocery list probably makes for entertaining reading. The Shoemaker’s Wife is the literary equivalent of comfort food: warm and satisfying.
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Engaging fictionalized account of the author's grandparent's love story and immigration.
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The Shoemaker’s Wife was actually my first Adriana Trigiani novel. I know, I know, I call myself a book nerd and I have never before read anything by this highly talented and bestselling author. I’m so terrible. But, honestly, none of her books seemed to grab my attention before, so I never made the plunge. The blurb for Shoemaker’s Wife, combined with the captivating cover, intrigued me. I just had to learn more. What I discovered was a delightful story that left me wanting to read more of Trigiani’s novels.The Shoemaker’s Wife is a sweeping tale of love, life and the many things that can pull people apart –and bring them together. The story begins in a small town in Italy when a young man named Ciro is banished from his town and heads to America to find a new life. He soon takes up residence as a shoe repairman in the Little Italy area of New York, and finds that America holds many beautiful young women. A young woman from Ciro’s same village who harbors a long-time love for him, Enza, also comes to Little Italy. And though Ciro has never seemed to have any affection for her before, he finds himself drawn to her.Trigiani’s newest novel is a powerful tale of Italian immigrants, romance and the real hardships of life –and the ability of the human spirit to overcome it all. Though I read an ARC of the book, the writing style was incredibly strong and polished, and though the novel was a rather large tome, it went quickly and comfortably. I found myself completely engrossed in this fascinating tale, though this isn’t usually the type of thing I read.At times heartbreaking and heartwarming, The Shoemaker’s Wife is a beautiful and sweeping tale that will keep readers glued to every page. I became so invested in these characters and their lives that they became real to me, and I celebrated their triumphs with them and shed tears for their hardships. A truly glorious read.
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This book just went on too long. Not bad but not excellent, either. Glad I got it from the library, no need to own.
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The Shoemaker's Wife was a lovely story about immigrant kids coming to America for very different and very similar reasons. The love story is one to last through the ages and remembered as one of the great ones. I love passing on stories as good as this and hope everyone enjoys it as much as I do.
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Like Maeve Binchy, Trigiani writes about family and place. In her case the place is Italy. While I've enjoyed all of her books this one is special because she has based it on her grandparents experience as immigrants to America. The story begins in the early 1900s and continues through mid century, following Enza and Ciro, who grew up on the same mountain in Northern Italy but immigrate to America at different times. The story tells both their individual stories and their shared story. I especially enjoyed reading about Enza's experience as a seamstress at the Metropolitan Opera. A big book that goes fast, I'm glad I read it and recommend it.
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Meh. Overly descriptive, is that a bad thing? Sometimes. Sometimes it is so oppressive that you just breeze over the chapter. Sometimes it's kind of lovely. Despite a book where SO MUCH happens, not much happens, you know? I mean, one moment you are in the Italian Alps, the next NYC, then Minnesota. So what. So much happens in the book but is so bogged down in description that the change of scenery just kind of happens as an incident. Take World War I for example. Though it deeply affects a character, the actual dedication to it in the narrative is like MAYBE 5 pages. Granted, there are some tender moments and a plethora of sadness in the book, particularly toward the end, and yes, sometimes that works and sometimes it doesn't. The most fascinating part of the book is the era, and the wide-eyed POV of Ciro when he arrives from the simple hills of Italy to the bustle that is the United States, particularly New York City. That is what really keeps the interest, and it seems that Trigiani did some decent research for the novel.NOTE: I was also listening to the audio while reading and the abrupt change of narrator from the Italian actress to author Trigiani is AWFUL. The author even skips words!
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I really enjoyed reading this book. The main thing I love in a book is to simply be entertained with a really good story and this book did just that.My only criticism is that I found the two main characters a bit too perfect. Too honest, too hard working, too virtuous. It made them a little flat. Yet despite that they were very likeable and I was sad to have the book come to an end.
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I have a very high tolerance for slow moving books with a lot of description, but this one did me in. I read 40% of the book before calling it quits. The descriptions were alright, but between the wandering plot and the lack of passion in the characters, I simply could not continue. Since the book hinges on the romance between the two main characters, I needed much more intensity.
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Ms. Trigiani certainly has taken her style to a new level of historical fiction with The Shoemaker's Wife. I was a little concerned at first as the book started off a little slow for me but, I was soon swept up in the beauty of the mountains. What a wonderful glimpse at what so many of our immigrant relatives had to endure as they came to America.
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One word summary of this book: HELLO!Seriously, The Shoemaker's Wife by Adriana Trigiani just seriously took every one of my expectations of Adriana (from reading previous novels of hers) and slapped them around and made me sit up and pay attention. The Shoemaker's Wife, folks, is how a historical story about immigration should be done.I don't even know where to begin with my review - but let me say this.. this story is so rich in background that by the time the shoemaker gets his wife, I felt as if I knew both Enza and Ciro like they were members of my own family. And, as this story is inspired from Adriana's grandparents story, it's easy to see why this story lives and breathes on the pages.There is so much for everyone in this book. The descriptions of Enzo and Sister Theresa's cooking had me wiping away the drool - aching for the gnocchi with sage and butter sauce. I cried, laughed, and sighed over the story as it moves over the course of about 30 years. And then.. the immigration - so vivid, I felt as if I was on Ellis Island with both families, and yet I longed for the mountains and the life they'd left behind as well.This is a perfect book club read - it's lavish, beautiful, and filled with a little bit of every type of perfection.
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