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
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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!
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.