Thursday, April 23, 2009

Review: Very Valentine by Adriana Trigiani

After waiting longer than I planned, I finally was able to get my hands on a copy of Very Valentine by Adriana Trigiani. I have read all of her books and was excited to read this new one.

Summary: Meet the Roncalli and Angelini families, a vibrant cast of colorful characters who navigate tricky family dynamics with hilarity and brio, from magical Manhattan to the picturesque hills of bella Italia. Very Valentine is the first novel in a trilogy and is sure to be the new favorite of Trigiani's millions of fans around the world.

In this luscious, contemporary family saga, the Angelini Shoe Company, makers of exquisite wedding shoes since 1903, is one of the last family-owned businesses in Greenwich Village. The company is on the verge of financial collapse. It falls to thirty-three-year-old Valentine Roncalli, the talented and determined apprentice to her grandmother, the master artisan Teodora Angelini, to bring the family's old-world craftsmanship into the twenty-first century and save the company from ruin.

While juggling a budding romance with dashing chef Roman Falconi, her duty to her family, and a design challenge presented by a prestigious department store, Valentine returns to Italy with her grandmother to learn new techniques and seek one-of-a-kind materials for building a pair of glorious shoes to beat their rivals. There, in Tuscany, Naples, and on the Isle of Capri, a family secret is revealed as Valentine discovers her artistic voice and much more, turning her life and the family business upside down in ways she never expected.

Ms. Trigiani has a unique way of creating real characters that I can just feel when I read them. They are so identifiable and faulted and fun. I love LOVE the grandma and was tickled to get to know her and her choices. I wanted to hug and/or smack around Valentine throughout the book, depending on what was going on. Even the smaller character profiles are so fun - I laughed multiple times at Valentine's mom and her comments.

The book walks us through the process of hand-making shoes and all that entails. It also includes detailed descriptions of the places the story takes place. As you all know, I am not a fan of detailed descriptions. LOL So I did skip paragraphs here and there. But those of you who feel compelled to learn while you read - you will love these descriptions. What I did read was quite interesting and if I was a different person, would have enjoyed learning about how to make shoes. :-)

Overall, Big Stone Gap is still my favorite Adriana Trigiani book. But Very Valentine was quite enjoyable. It's the first of a new trilogy and I am looking forward to reading the next one!

Rating: 4/5 stars

1 comment:

bermudaonion said...

I really enjoyed Very Valentine, too, but Lucia, Lucia remains my favorite Adriana Trigiani book. Great review.