The Shoemaker's Wife by Adriana Trigiani
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: 475 (Paperback)
Source: TLC Book Tours
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The majestic and haunting beauty of the Italian Alps is the setting of the first meeting of Enza, a practical beauty, and Ciro, a strapping mountain boy, who meet as teenagers, despite growing up in villages just a few miles apart. At the turn of the last century, when Ciro catches the local priest in a scandal, he is banished from his village and sent to hide in America as an apprentice to a shoemaker in Little Italy. Without explanation, he leaves a bereft Enza behind. Soon, Enza's family faces disaster and she, too, is forced to go to America with her father to secure their future.
Unbeknownst to one another, they both build fledgling lives in America, Ciro masters shoemaking and Enza takes a factory job in Hoboken until fate intervenes and reunites them. But it is too late: Ciro has volunteered to serve in World War I and Enza, determined to forge a life without him, begins her impressive career as a seamstress at the Metropolitan Opera House that will sweep her into the glamorous salons of Manhattan and into the life of the international singing sensation, Enrico Caruso.
From the stately mansions of Carnegie Hill, to the cobblestone streets of Little Italy, over the perilous cliffs of northern Italy, to the white-capped lakes of northern Minnesota, these star-crossed lovers meet and separate, until, finally, the power of their love changes both of their lives forever.
Lush and evocative, told in tantalizing detail and enriched with lovable, unforgettable characters, The Shoemaker's Wife is a portrait of the times, the places and the people who defined the immigrant experience, claiming their portion of the American dream with ambition and resolve, cutting it to fit their needs like the finest Italian silk.
This lovely historical follows two characters, Ciro and Enza, as they struggle through life's struggles. Their paths cross occasionally leaving a lasting impression on both characters, and weaving a sweet love story for readers. Ciro is finds himself torn away from his family, first when his mother leaves him and his brother Eduardo at a convent following the death of his father, and again when Ciro is ruthlessly torn from his brother and sent to America. Enza finds her family's dreams turned upside down after a tragic family loss. Determined to achieve the ultimate dream for her family, she convinces her father to go with her to America so they may earn more money to send home to Italy. This beautiful story does not travel a traditional path and is rich with great characters.
This was such a lovely read that I'm not quite sure where to start. This book isn't really about romance that struggles to come together. It's about two separate characters living two separate lives with two different dreams. It alternates between the stories of both. I didn't feel this intense romance that was present in every part of the story. There is a beautiful romance here but it is present for the latter half of the book. In the mean time, I enjoyed getting to know the characters and following them on their adventures from beginning to end. I loved how the characters stayed true to themselves throughout the novel. While I loved both characters, the narration created a distance that made me feel like I was observing rather than in the story. For this particular story, it worked and allowed the story to sit back and enjoy a story that came together oh so perfectly. This is a fairly long book primarily because the story follows almost every move of two characters from almost every point in their life. I loved the descriptions and details that made me yearn to visit Italy but loved that it wasn't enough to make me want to skim through.
Overall, a truly beautiful story of characters persevering through the triumphs and tragedies while remaining true to their roots.