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The Shoemaker's Wife by Adriana Trigiani

The Shoemaker's Wife (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Adriana Trigiani

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8655910,358 (3.86)18
Title:The Shoemaker's Wife
Authors:Adriana Trigiani
Info:Harper (2012), Kindle Edition, 494 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:rural northern Italy, family, beauty, New York's Little Italy, Metropolitan opera, friendship, romance, immigrants, Minnesota, sewing, shoemaking

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The Shoemaker's Wife by Adriana Trigiani (2012)

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Showing 1-5 of 59 (next | show all)
Nice read, but predictable and sentimental. It does give a good impression of the life of Italian immigrants in search of a better life in America. ( )
  chrisgalle | Mar 5, 2015 |
I wish this book had ended about 200 pages earlier than it did. I really liked the first 2/3rds of the story - mostly when Enza and Ciro's stories were told separately. I was completely sucked in to what was going on for each of them and found myself thinking about the book when I wasn't reading it. However, their love story, at least until they get married, didn't feel very realistic to me. Maybe I'm a skeptic, but I've never enjoyed the "we met three times and now we're going to get married" story. I do realize that this was a different time, but I had a hard time swallowing the soulmate theme. But if they had to end up together, I wish it had ended with their wedding; I felt like the rest of the novel was too forced, an attempt to make things happen. I found myself rolling my eyes often and skimming pages towards the end. ( )
  carebear10712 | Dec 31, 2014 |
Two young boys, Ciro & Eduardo were left at a convent in a small village in the Italian alps where they were raised by nuns when their widowed mother Katerina could no longer care for them. There we meet Enza the daughter of a struggling carriage driver. Their paths cross several times before they find themselves in America trying to make a living.
The novel chronicals the story of Italian immigrants in NYC at the time when they were trying to make their way and find the american dream.

I enjoyed the book but found something was missing. I am an Adriana Trigiani fan however, of her novels this was not my favorite. ( )
  AstridG | Nov 17, 2014 |
The Shoemaker's Wife reads more like a memoir or family chronicle than a novel. I enjoyed learning all about customs and traditions of Italy in the early 20th century and the experiences of Italian immigrants to the United States. Since I enjoy history, I loved all the interesting details Adriana Trigiani included in her book.
The idea of family being the most important thing in the lives of the two main characters, Enza and Ciro, was tangible throughout the story. The sacrifices that immigrants went through to help support their family back in Italy was remarkable.
While The Shoemaker's Wife was a comfortable and enjoyable novel, I could have put it down at any time and not come back to it. Any curiosity I felt for what would happen to the characters was mild. The title gave away what could have been a major suspense. Because the author did a lot of head hopping, I often felt distanced from the characters. As well, she has a habit of telling instead of showing. Enza, the major female character, drew me in more than any other but I was always conscious that I was reading a book. It never felt real to me.
I also wondered about the book's cover. Was the shorthaired Italian beauty in the extravagant gown supposed to be Enza? She worked, at one point, as a seamstress for the Metropolitan Opera in New York, so she could have been trying on a gown. The backdrop looked as though it was something from the opera, but not the sewing room. She did date a wealthy man for a while, but the short hair and the pose just didn't seem to fit the character. It looked like a stock photograph a self published author might buy from fiver.
This novel was chosen for my book club, and while I it was a pleasant read, I don't think I will be looking for anything more written by Adriana Trigiani. ( )
  Bonnie_Ferrante | Jun 3, 2014 |
This is a gorgeously written book steeped in history. Based off of the author's own family history, every character jumps off the page. Everyone has faults and flaws making them extremely relatable.
As much as I enjoyed this book, there were times I had to put it down and just shout in frustration. The twists, turns, and unfairness of life jerk Ciro and Enza in ways that are both realistic and nerve wracking. I recall actually having to stop reading and ranting to my roommate about the happenings in this book and how upset and angry I was.
I am a reader that gets emotionally invested in the characters I read about, and as much as it pains me to be so frustrated, to feel my blood pressure rise, and feel my eyes start to tear; That is when I know I have a good book in my hands. I definitely felt that with The Shoemaker's Wife. ( )
  MooqieLove | Feb 22, 2014 |
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In Memory of Monsignor Don Andrea Spada
Who Loved the Mountain
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The scalloped hem of Caterina Lazzari's blue velvet coat grazed the fresh-fallen snow, leaving a pale pink path on the bricks as she walked across the empty piazza.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0061257095, Hardcover)

Kathryn Stockett Interviews Adriana Trigiani

Kathryn Stockett was born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi. After graduating from the University of Alabama with a degree in English and Creative Writing, she moved to New York City, where she worked in magazine publishing and marketing for nine years. The Help is her first novel.

Kathryn Stockett: This is by far your most epic novel to date. How long did it take you to write The Shoemaker’s Wife?

Adriana Trigiani: I worked on this story for over 20 years as I wrote scripts and novels and had my own family. There are scraps of paper, dinner napkins, and bills with timelines and notes scrawled across them. There are old notebooks filled with my grandmother’s musings from 1985. I collected train tickets, copies of ships’ manifests, and a silk tag with my grandmother’s name from garments she had created. I traveled as far as the Italian Alps and as close as the few blocks it takes me to walk to Little Italy in New York City to capture the historical aspects of the story. All of this went into the novel. It was a delicious gestation period.

Stockett: This is a novel, but it is inspired by a true story—a family story, right?

Trigiani: Yes—my grandparents, Lucia and Carlo. Their love was a dance with fate. It is riddled with near misses against a landscape of such massive world events that it’s a wonder they got together at all. My challenge was to present their world to the reader so it might feel it was happening in the moment. I wanted the reader to have the experience I had when stories were told to me by the woman who lived them.

Stockett: The novel takes place during the first half of the twentieth century--what is so compelling about this period of time to you?

Trigiani: The cusp of the twentieth century was a time everything was new—cars, phones, planes, electricity, even sportswear, and in each innovation was a kind of explosive potential. No one could predict where all the inventions would lead, people only knew that change was unavoidable.

My grandparents were delighted every time America presented them with something they had never seen before. And my grandparents’ sense of wonder never left them, so I tried not to let it leave the page, be it a cross-country train ride or the first snap of the bobbin on an electric Singer sewing machine.

Stockett: Through the remarkable story of Enza and Ciro, your novel tells the larger story of the immigrant experience in America.

Trigiani: What a gift immigrants were and are to this country! They bring their talents and loyalty and make our country even greater. My grandparents were proud to be new Americans. Assimilation was not about copying an American ideal, but aspiring to their own version of it. The highest compliment you could pay a fellow immigrant was: he (or she) was a hard worker. I hear the phrase work like an immigrant said, but really, it’s bigger than that—we must also dream like immigrants.

Stockett: The Shoemaker’s Wife seamlessly brings together fictional characters and historical figures—how did the wonderful Caruso enter the novel?

Trigiani: It started with a three-foot stack of vinyl records—my grandmother Lucia’s collection of Caruso. Her absolute devotion to The Great Voice lasted her whole life long. I knew, in order to write this novel, I had to fall in love with Caruso too, because he sang the score of my grandparents’ love affair.

When Lucia passed, I went to my first opera, seeking understanding and comfort. As the music washed over me, I began to understand why my grandmother was such a fan. The words were Italian, and the emotions were big; nothing was left unexpressed in the music. If only life were that way.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:30:48 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

The majestic and haunting beauty of the Italian Alps is the setting for 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. 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. Set during the years preceding and during World War I.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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