Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Shoemaker's Wife by Adriana Trigiani (With a Give-away)

The Shoemaker's Wife by Adriana Trigiani

Completion Date: August 20, 2012
Reason for Reading: TLC Book Tour.
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.
I had this book out from the library once before, but just wasn't in the right frame of mind for it at the time. Then, I saw a copy at the store and decided I had a better chance of reading my own copy. The TLC Book Tour was added inspiration after all the positive reviews I have seen circulating around the blogosphere. I have always wanted to read Trigiani and this was my first attempt. Thankfully, when I sat down with the book for the second time everything clicked and I was quickly pulled away into the world she has created.

I love nothing better than to read a historical fiction novel that is so believable I feel like I am there. The Shoemaker's Wife was one such book. There was nothing happening that seemed far-fetched or impossible. I read the book feeling like everything that was happening made entire sense. It was the story of a young man and a young woman who are born on the mountains of Italy. The financial situation is poor and they each have to do what they can to get by. The young man, Ciro, has lost his father and his mother cannot afford to raise him and his brother. They go and live in a convent. The young girl, Enza, comes from a large family that just can't seem to make ends meet. The situation plays out that they both end up in America to start new lives for themselves. They start from the bottom and work themselves up. They experience the real struggles for their times.

The book follows them from the early part of the 20th century, through WWI, and then ends just after WWII. During this time they get older and the cast of characters fluctuates, but it is ultimately their story. I don't think I have read many books where Italians and Italy itself play a major role. I found this refreshing in the midst of all the 'fads' in historical fiction. The wars were just a background to the overall story. They may have influenced the lives of the characters, but the book was more about the people. You really felt like you knew them and could see where they were coming from. When things were good you cheered long with them. And, in the bad times you could experience their heartache. Trigiani doesn't hold anything back.

I really enjoyed reading the story of Enza and Ciro. I also loved many of the secondary characters and felt they came alive for the readers, too. A real story is not just about the main characters but about the people that they meet who influence and give shape to their story. I think that Trigiani had a good mix of their story and the other characters story, too. Ciro and Enza wouldn't have became the people they were at the end of the story without the people they met along the way. It gives more depth to things.  If you haven't had a chance to enjoy this book you really should.

And, if you live in the United States or Canada you might get your own copy from this blog. I have one to give-away. I very rarely do give-aways on here; but I really should from time to time, right? (There are couple more in the future.) So, if you interested leave a comment. It would be nice if you actually said something in the comment, too.... Not just "Thanks for the give-away" or whatever. That's just me, though. The give-away will close on August 29, 2012. 


  1. Cool! A giveaway! I'd love to read this. I have so many Italian friends and my church parish has a huge Italian immigrant community. It would be fascinating to read this.

  2. I've been so hit or miss with Ms. Trigiani, but like you, I've seen so many positive reviews for it I've been wondering if I'd like it. The fact that YOU like it makes me wonder even more. I'd love to give it a try, if I manage to win it. If not, I'll probably get it out of the library eventually! :)

  3. This looks like an amazing read. I have never read any of Ms. Trigiani's books, but I think that I would really love it from all of the reviews that I have read.


  4. I've not read Trigiani before, but I've read positive reviews so my interest is heightened. I can totally relate to picking up a book and just not having it click, but pick it up at another time and it totally does.

    Laura Kay

  5. Happy to hear that you enjoyed it this time around. A book with a gorgeous cover like that (I've seen it all over the net and salivate every time I see it) should have an incredible story to go with it. Mood is such an interesting thing when it comes to reading and although I think the majority of readers experience that it is not something I tire of hearing about or discussing. It is one of many things about reading that binds us together.

  6. I've never read any of this author's books but have heard good things about them I'd like to give her a try. (I kinda hate the cover...but I guess it's fitting to the story.) Thanks for the giveaway.

    nanze55 at hotmail dot com

  7. Please throw my name in the hat! I've heard a lot of good things about this book, and if you liked it, I probably will, too. :) I've only read a short Jane Austen-inspired story by Trigiani, and I thought it was pretty good.

    diaryofaneccentric at hotmail dot com

  8. Anonymous4:56 PM

    I agree with Carl, that cover is delicious, and mood does figure in. I am glad you found it a captivating read, and it is very generous of you to share it!

    L (omphaloskepsis)

  9. I loved this one, too! I've enjoyed all of her books that I've read, but this one seemed more personal, somehow, with the connection with her grandparents.

  10. Sounds interesting. I haven't read much about Italy or Italians either come to think of it!

  11. I read your comment about the giveaway and then completely forgot about everything else I wanted to say. Laughing really hard right now because I feel the same way--which is why I rarely do giveaways. Anyway, please include me. :)

    I've been hearing about this one a lot recently and the cover is absolutely gorgeous. I find that I enjoy books that are set during/around/after WWI rather than WWII but it's also nice that the war is in the background. I'm going to have to google the author as the name sounds familiar...

  12. I know what you mean about having to be in the right frame of mind to read a particular book - that happens to me a lot. I'm so glad everything clicked for you this time!

    Thanks for being on the tour.


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