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.
©2012 The Glory of Everything Company (P)2012 HarperCollins Publishers
This is a dear story. The characters are well drawn, if a little too nice. The narrative is a bit (sometimes a lot) wordy and over-wrought with repetitive emotional flashbacks. But I did love getting to know Northern Italy, New York's Little Italy, and the Italian communities in Minnesota in the early 20th century. The author does such a great job of making you feel like you are really there.
The story was believable and beautifully written. Ms Cassidy's narration was outstanding. She gave the early 1900's life, as I imagined what the lives of my grandparents was like as struggling immigrants. At times the writing became too wordy for me, almost repetitive. Overall maybe a little too long. But still a beautiful story.
3.5 stars. I struggled with how to rate this book. On the one hand, I did really like the story and the characters, and I'm a sucker for a good epic historical fiction novel. But I never felt like I was really drawn in with the characters and their lives. I always felt like an outsider observing their story from afar. For me, what makes a great book is the author's ability to bring the reading *into* the story, so that the reader is lost in it and feels she is right there along with the characters every step of the way. As I continued to listen, I finally realized why this book was not successful in drawing me in. There was too much telling, and not enough showing. There would be paragraph after paragraph, probably even successive pages, where the author would simply recap what the reader missed. So much of the book was filled with long discussions from the third person narrator of how the characters felt, and what their values were, and what kind of person they were, and even some events in their past. For example (and this is not a quote from the book), something like this: "Enza was a loyal girl; she was dedicated and kind; she was always focused on making sure everyone else was happy and comfortable, thinking little of herself." That kind of thing could go on for paragraphs upon paragraphs. Certainly there were places where these characteristics were revealed in the character's words and actions, but overall, the "showing" was much less frequent than the "telling." At least half of the book, maybe more, felt like a recap of things that the reader was not present to experience. It felt as though the author was providing a summary, almost like a Cliff's Notes type of overview, of her story at the same time that she was telling it. I've never read a book that came across like this, so it took a while for me to determine what it was about the story that wasn't working for me. Once I did, though, it explained everything.
Overall, the book had a good story and some beautiful descriptions of Italy, and the author similarly was very skilled at describing the other places where the story takes place. But I could not get lost in the book because of the way it was written. Apart from the story, the narrator was terrific. Perfect accent and pronunciation and a lovely way of speaking, which felt just right for the story.
I found the narrative technique annoying, the woman's voice telling the story with an Italian accent
Historical background for an American immigrant saga
In the end, yes, but had I been able to speed through or flip ahead I would have.
Its an entertaining novel, but not necessarily a great book.
This is the first novel I have read by Adriana Trigiani, and it will not be my last. Her attention to detail and ability to describe the setting kept me engaged and wanting more. The dialogue between the characters was beautiful, without being too much like a soap opera. It was realistic. I fell in love with the love story between Ciro and Enza, which made it hard to put the book down or stop listening. In regards to the narrator, her accent had me wishing I was Italian myself. She read a little slow for me, but that gave me the chance to really savor the beauty that unfolded in The Shoemaker's Wife. I definitely recommend this novel.
This is my all-time favorite. I've listened to it four times and will again. Vivid descriptions that paints a picture in your mind. You can almost smell the air on the Italian mountain and taste the food. It's a story of family, love, friendship and a journey to America.
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