Adriana Trigiani is one of my favorite authors. Her books cover the Italian immigrant experience so vividly that you feel like you just got off the ship and are struggling to survive in old New York. Her new book, The Shoemaker’s Wife, is her best so far. I simply did not want it to end. I was touched when I read at the end that this book is the fictionalized story of Trigiani’s grandfather, a shoemaker, and her grandmother.
The book is the story of Enza and Ciro who meet as teenagers high atop the Italian alps. Ciro’s father dies and his mother leaves he and his brother at a church there to live. Enza is the oldest of many children in a happy impoverished family. Circumstances take both to the United States independently where their paths cross again by happenstance. They then lead a happy and troubled life together. Trigiani is a maestro of making the human experience real- no love story is a fairy tale and she presents this one with its flaws.
Quotes From the Book
“The first stage of widowhood is paperwork.”
“The eldest daughter in a family with many children never has a real childhood.”
“A man who needs a mirror is looking for something.”
“God made girls, and that made Him a genius, Ciro thought as the girls rose from the kneeler and filed into the main aisle.”
“Mama always said a good family has one heartbeat. “
“Fall in love with a plain girl. Plain girls never turn bitter. They appreciate their portion, no matter how meager.”
Harper Collins provided a electronic review copy of this book via Edelweiss. All opinions are my own.
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