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Queen of the Big Time

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3.87 of 5 stars 3.87  ·  rating details  ·  6,762 ratings  ·  540 reviews
Widely known and loved for her moving Big Stone Gap trilogy and the New York Times bestseller Lucia, Lucia, Adriana Trigiani returns to the pageantry of small-town life with Queen of the Big Time. This heartrending story of forbidden love chronicles the remarkable life of the Castellucas, an Italian-American family, over the course of three generations. In the late 1800s, ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published July 13th 2007 by Simon & Schuster Trade (first published January 1st 2004)
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Jill
I had literally two minutes to pick something at the library. I don't love Adriana Trigiani, although I liked the Big Stone Gap books. In this one, I think she made her common error. Really, she writes character-driven fiction. So, the first half where the characters are developing, is engaging and strong. Then, she forgets herself, and drives 50 years of plot in less than 100 pages. It just doesn't work. I wish she had a really good editor because I think she could do better work than this...
Sarah
It's been awhile since I've gotten back to Adriana Trigiani, & I forgot how much I loved her stories & how hard it is to explain why I like them so much. What I can say is that Queen of the Big Time is similar to Trigiani's other stories about hard-working emotionally isolated Italian American women.

Trigiani is one of the few authors my mom & I read together, mostly because my mom hardly ever finds the time to read a good book (I don't blame her, she's a busy woman). My aunt sent us
...more
Dawn
Oct 27, 2008 Dawn rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who enjoys a good family story.
Recommended to Dawn by: I read all of Adriana Trigiani's books.
Adriana Trigiani is my favorite author! I absolutely loved this Italian-American family saga. She writes such beautiful stories about Italian families. Her characters are enjoyable & the way she writes about them makes you feel like you know them & care for them. Every time I read one of her books, I start off thinking I probably won't like it as much as I liked her others, but she never disappoints. I loved how this story lead you through Nella's life. I also loved where the story took ...more
Connie
Nella Castelluca is the third daughter of an Italian family living on a farm outside Roseto, Pennsylvania. Her parents and many other Italian families immigrated to the area in the late 1800s. Nella is a good student who wants to go to high school in town and become a teacher. Her dreams are dashed when her father has an accident, and she has to work in a clothing mill to help support the family. Soon she shows strong managerial skills and advances in her job.

Meanwhile she meets Renato Lanzara,
...more
Eva
The Queen of the Big Time is the Catholic schoolgirl who sells the most tickets for the local parish fundraiser. Nella Castelucca, at 14, embraces this concept fully: If you work hard, you will be rewarded. Born of Italian immigrants, in a small Pennsylvania town of Italian immigrants, Nella wants to go become a teacher. However, when her father is injured, Nella and her older sisters go to work to help the family. Instead of going to high school, Nella takes a job at the local blouse factory an ...more
Laurie
I wasn't sure what to expect from this book. I got it as part of a Blind Date with a Book program my library was doing for the month of February. I didn't know what book it was until I got it home and tore off the brown paper wrapping. I've read Lucia, Lucia by this author and that was pretty good. The Queen of the Big Time kind of had a formulaic plot with just a few surprises. The first part gave us lots of detail about Nella's life as a 14 year old growing up on the family farm, longing to go ...more
Chris
What is true love? Would you know it if you saw it? Are you sure? That is the central question of this heartwarming story. Nella Castelluca is the middle of five daughters in an Italian family on a farm on the outskirts of a Pennsylvania mining town made up of Italian immigrants. She is very smart, but her family is so poor they can't afford the trolley fare to send her to the high school in town. She falls in love with the dashing Renato, while the steady and determined Franco falls in love wit ...more
Sara
I pulled this book out hoping for a light-hearted read. I had high hopes because the setting was in my home state, and the characters were mostly Italian women who would be contemporaries of my mother. I found I could barely get through it.

For me, everything was just wrong with this book. The plot was trite and simplistic, the writing wasn't very good overall and filled with cliches, and the characters simply didn't resonate for me. It covered too much ground--basically the protagonist's entire
...more
Vanessa
Kind of depressing. Plus I think that Renato is overrated and it was frustrating that she never fully appreciates Franco. But it's a fairly realistic portrayal of how the drudgery of a mundane job can suck the joy out of life. And definitely a reminder not to take anything for granted - success, prosperity, time, relationships - especially relationships. The Big Stone Gap trilogy (actually I just realized that there are 4 books - what is that called?? A series?) is still my favorite from Adriana ...more
Mindy
Would give a 4.5 if I could.
Linda
This Italian-American family saga is an enjoyable read. The story spans the life of Nella Castelucca beginning when she is 14 and has the opportunity to continue education and pursue her dream of becoming a teacher. Unfortunately tragedy interferes with her plans and she finds herself on a completely different life path, but makes the best of her situation. Nella is an interesting and complex character, as are her friends and family. AT writes in a smooth and easy style.
April
I enjoyed this slice of a small town American Italian life in Pennsylvania during and after the depression. Trigiani has an engaging storytelling style and I liked the voice of her main character, no-nonsense farm girl Nella Castelluca who eked out a living on her family farm during the Depression, went to work in a shirt mill when she was 16, became forewoman shortly thereafter, and stayed in the same Italian-based town of Roseto all her life. Unlike most books about women, she was more success ...more
Donna Huber
The Queen of the Big Time was a charming story following the life an Italian immigrant family. I really enjoyed it. It is on the light and fluffy side, but I did tear up a time or two. See my full review http://www.girl-who-reads.com/2011/08...
Marie
It was great summer reading. The characters were endearing and the story although somewhat predictable still kept my interest. It did bring up a few deeper messages, particularly a reminder of appreciating what we have and not longing for what might have been.
Michelle
I quite enjoyed experiencing Nella grow up, let go of some goals, and embrace other paths, never letting herself get beaten down by life. There was some great female empowerment and I wondered how much of that really would occurred at that time. It was interesting to read the interview at the end of the book and hear that Roseta has the lower number of heart attacks nationwide and that because it's such a close-knit community, women have been able to earn money and raise families simultaneously ...more
Marty
Another good story about an immigrant Italian family in the early 1900s making it in America. The story follows Nella Castelluca from when she is 15 and hopes to be able to continue her schooling and become a teacher through the ups and downs of her life. Born and raised on a farm in Pennsylvania, she must quit school and go to work in the blouse factory to help her family. Her work ethic, common sense, and habit of saying what she thinks gets her promoted and successful. Her family ties remain ...more
Barbara
This is a fabulous book. It's very touching and the story
just is written in a very heartfelt manner. Be sure to have kleenex nearby. It's the life of an Italian family starting in the 1900's.
Bonnie
I liked this book but found myself being sad for the main character, in the end.

It's a story about the main character wanting something from her life. But when life events happen, she has to change direction (as we all do). She marries someone that is dependable and safe but not the love of her life. I'm sure a lot of women have done the same and it's not a bad life, just not one she would've necessarily chosen.

I was sad for her in the end because of all the years she kept this one man in her
...more
Jessica (Books: A true story)
This book is also reviewed on my blog Books: A true story

The Queen of the Big Time reminded me of Gone with the Wind but set in the north instead of the south. There's a guy that Nella, the main character, pines for but can't have (who is kind of whiney by the way) and she doesn't fully love the one she has until it's too late. And then she returns to Tara...uh, I mean the farm she grew up on.

We had a great discussion in my book club about this one. It was a book that made you want to have more
...more
Natalie
Apr 03, 2007 Natalie rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Any woman
Another wonderful book by Adriana Trigiani. The main character is another strong woman that is likeable and admirable. An interesting story with unexpected turns. Definitely a good one.
Joy Olivia
Jun 14, 2007 Joy Olivia rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: my Nana
This book was very charming. I loved it and the main character Nella. Even though it was sad from time to time, it was honest and compelling. It was a perfect summer read.
Caroline
Yet another book by Trigiani that I could barely put down. A charming, relatable story of a farm girl determined to make something of herself and follow her dreams.
Tara
I have read all of Adriana Trigiani's books. I have loved each one. Her characters are well developed and the stories touch my heart.
Stacy
I can't make up my mind with this author. I loved one book, hated one, disliked the next and then got so involved in this one that I cried as I listened to to the end!

I like her people. I like the towns and the histories. I like stories I can be absorbed in. But, and this is a consistent issue, the odd jumps in time confuse me. There are parts of the books that will take 2 hours to cover a week, followed by three events over fifteen years that take fifteen minutes to hear. Some pieces of a stor
...more
Ed
A random tape I picked up for a long commute. Although not my usual cup of tea, it was a fortunate choice. Nella Castelluca is forced by circumstances to work in a mill, but hard work and native intelligence propel her to business success.

Novel - Recorded - The life of Nella Castelluca, daughter of immigrants in Roseto, PA, from her high school dream of becoming a teacher. An injury to her farmer father causes her to drop out and go to work in the mill. She meets and falls for older Renato Lanza
...more
Kat Hilton
I really enjoyed this book. Main character is middle daughter of five girls. She aspires to be a teacher, but goes in a different direction due to unfortunate circumstances. Her father is a poor farmer. This story tells of this young girls first love and how it effects the rest of her life. She marries a fine young man and has a wonderful life with him. There are philosophic reflections in this book that tells a lot about life, our dreams, ideals, and the true events that happen to us. My favori ...more
Andrea
I hate when books start out so promising only to fall flat, but I should have known that this was one of those books when it took literally 100 pages to become a page-turner. I was telling people just last week "If only the whole book was like this, it would be a masterpiece". It's a shame that the drama that unfolds in the middle of the book woudl have carried throughout b/c it quickly became dull again. And the really sad thing is (aside from the fact that I do love Adrianna Trigiani's "Valent ...more
Brown
In the late 1800s, the residents of a small village in the Bari region of Italy, on the shores of the Adriatic Sea, made a mass migration to the promised land of America. They settled in Roseto, Pennsylvania, and re-created their former lives in their new home–down to the very last detail of who lived next door to whom. The village’s annual celebration of Our Lady of Mount Carmel–or “the Big Time,” as the occasion is called by the young women who compete to be the pageant’s Queen–is the centerpi ...more
bookczuk
I didn't really connect with this book, and I don't think it's because I am not Italian. I have loved some of Adriana Trigiani's books before, especially Lucia, Lucia and the one about the interior decorator (is that in the same town as this one? No, I think that might be set in New Jersey, not Pennsylvania. NEver mind.) The bits about the town, how it came to be, and its progression through time, the bits about Catholicism, and the bits about small town and farm life were great. The writing was ...more
Jennifer Garcia
Her books definitely make me cry enough to use a box of tissue. This one was no exception. With in all of the crying big life lessons are learned. Nella in particular learned something so important and a bit too late. I could relate to her so much so, that most of the book I thought she was me. Her independence and determination made her seem as if she needed no one and cold hearted. Unfortunately, that is not how she saw herself. She was just very honest and opinionated, and although she was in ...more
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Mar 22, 2015 12:02PM  
I give this book 5 stars 5 25 Aug 17, 2014 02:00AM  
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Adriana Trigiani is beloved by millions of readers around the world for fifteen bestsellers, including the blockbuster epic The Shoemaker's Wife; the Big Stone Gap series; Lucia, Lucia; the Valentine series; the Viola series for young adults; and the bestselling memoir Don't Sing at the Table. Trigiani reaches new heights with All the Stars in the Heavens, an epic tale from the golden age of Holly ...more
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The Shoemaker's Wife Big Stone Gap (Big Stone Gap, #1) Big Cherry Holler (Big Stone Gap, #2) Lucia, Lucia Very Valentine

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“Maybe a first love exists to reaffirm the best parts of yourself, the choices you made when you didn't worry about the consequences. Maybe a first love exists to remind you to be brave in the moment, to stand up for your feelings, instead of shrinking back in the face of potential loneliness.” 20 likes
“The intimacy. The deepest level of love. The knowledge that someone understands you, is rooting for you, is sharing your life.” 2 likes
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