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The Shoemaker's Wife by Adriana Trigiani
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The Shoemaker's Wife (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Adriana Trigiani

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7995611,466 (3.9)18
Member:Carolinejyoung
Title:The Shoemaker's Wife
Authors:Adriana Trigiani
Info:Harper (2012), Kindle Edition, 494 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Rating:****
Tags:None

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The Shoemaker's Wife by Adriana Trigiani (2012)

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Showing 1-5 of 56 (next | show all)
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 |
Overall I quite enjoyed The Shoemaker's Wife. It tells the story of the intertwined lives of two people, Ciro and Enza, who both grow up in the Italian alps and separately emigrate to the United States in the early 1900s. There is no big surprise in the plot; it just tells a beautiful and complete story about two people's lives. The ending brought several things full circle in a lovely way. My only criticism is that the writing felt stiff. In some ways the descriptions were vivid and really drew me in to the world, but sometimes it felt like she was telling rather than showing how the characters felt. The dialogue sometimes felt unnatural and too "perfect". However, I did feel that the characters were well drawn and I could imagine them as real people. Overall I would recommend this book and I will probably read more books by Adriana Trigiani. ( )
  sbsolter | Feb 6, 2014 |
The love story of Enza and Ciro. that starts in the Italian Alps, moves to New York and ends in Minnesota. I really enjoyed the stories of Ciro and his brother Edwardo growing up in the convent, also the stories about immigration and ship travel and the stories of Enza as a young girls in her early years sewing for the Met and finding her way in New York. Once Enza and Ciro move to Minnesota, the novel became a bit long and repetative. All in all a good story and I enjoyed this book. ( )
  Smits | Jan 18, 2014 |
First book I read of Adriana Trigianni -loved the book!
  BADunn | Dec 30, 2013 |
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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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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)

Two star-crossed lovers--Enzo and Ciro--meet and separate, until, finally, the power of their love changes both of their lives forever. Set during the years preceding and during World War I.

(summary from another edition)

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