"No one can be lonely who has a book for company." ~ Nelle Reagan

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Shoemaker's Wife by Adriana Trigiani

The Shoemaker's Wife
Author:  Adriana Trigiani
Publisher:  Harper Collins
Published: August 2012
Edition: Trade Paperback
Pages: 496
Source:  Many thanks to TLC Book Tours and the publisher for providing a complimentary copy of The Shoemaker's Wife.  Receipt of this novel doesn't influence my opinion nor this review.  The opinion expressed here is my own.

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.
My Review:

The Shoemaker's Wife is based upon the author's family and their story of immigration to the United States.  Adriana Trigiani's story begins in the mountains of Italy, a place of serene beauty and wonderful fragrances.  In a small village a young child is buried, Enza's sister, and a young boy employed to dig the grave, finds himself consoling Enza.  There is something between the two of them and their meeting ends in a kiss.

Years later, Enza remembers that kiss and though she and Ciro have met again, the timing is never right and she pines for her unrequited love.  Ciro, on the other hand, is blind to the effect he has on Enza and it is not until years later, when he returns from war, that he realizes Enza is the love of his life.  Call it good timing or coincidence, but he just happens upon the chapel immediately before Enza is about to wed another.  Dressed in his army uniform, dirty and underweight, he professes his love to Enza.  Finally!

"Enza knew that if she married Vito, she would lose her Italy forever. Even if she could have braved the ocean, Vito would hope to show her the island of Capri......not the mountains, lakes and rivers of the north.  She was from the land of the mandolin, the exquisite violins of La Scala were not hers to claim.

If Enza was going to create a new life, she had to build it with conviction, on her own truthful terms, with a man who could take her home again, even if it meant a new home of their own invention and not the mountain.  Ciro had her heart, he was her portion of the mountain.

....if she took Ciro on, she was in for a struggle compared to her life with Vito, but the love of all loves was worth it.  (page 314)

They marry shortly thereafter and make a life together in Minnesota where Ciro works as a shoemaker and Enza takes in sewing.  It is not the glamorous life Enza was becoming accustomed to in New York where she and her best friend Laura sewed costumes for the Metropolitan Opera.  It is not always easy but they have each other.  Love abides with them and the birth of their son Antonio is a great blessing.

As I was near the end, the tears running freely, I felt that yes, this is what a good writer does.  She/he draws out the intensity of emotions in the reader.  The characters are so well developed that it's as if you were there in person, witnessing their lives.

There is a lot of sorrow in The Shoemaker's Wife, a lifetime of separation from loved ones, but there is joy and though the ending of the book is not what the reader would expect, it still resonates with the heart.

Adriana Trigiani is an award-winning playwright, television writer, and documentary filmmaker. The author of the Big Stone Gap series; Very Valentine; Brava, Valentine; Lucia, Lucia; The Queen of the Big Time; and Rococo, she has also written the bestselling memoir Don’t Sing at the Table as well as the young adult novels Viola in Reel Life and Viola in the Spotlight. Her books have been published in thirty-six countries, and she has written and will direct the big-screen version of her first novel, Big Stone Gap. She lives in New York City with her husband and daughter.

Adriana's website: www.adrianatrigiani.com, like her on Facebook, follow her Twitter account.


  1. I loved this one as well...it will go on my Best of 2012 list :)

  2. I love books that make me *feel*, and those ones inevitably make me cry. But what better book is there than one that imprints itself on your emotions?

    Thanks for being on the tour!

  3. Peppermint PhD, thanks for visiting today! This is one of my favourites this year as well.

  4. Trish, thanks for including me on this tour. It was a terrific read!

  5. Howdy! Do you use Twitter? I'd like to follow you if that would be okay. I'm absolutely
    enjoying your blog and look forward to new posts.

    Also visit my blog post - rate monitor []

  6. Adriana never disappoints me! Her writing is sharp and smart and I can't put her books down. The Shoemaker's Wife was no exception.


Hey there! Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate all my visitors and your comments so please introduce yourself, ask or make suggestions. I'd love to hear from you. This blog is a no-award zone. I appreciate the acknowledgment but your kind words are enough.

No spam please!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...