The Shoemaker's Wife
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The Shoemaker's Wife

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3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  34,740 ratings  ·  5,408 reviews
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 a...more
Hardcover, 475 pages
Published April 3rd 2012 by Harper
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Jean
Every once in awhile you have to take a break from the Holocaust books, the slavery sagas and the dysfunctional families... and this, my friends, is the beach read you are looking for. The old Italian-immigrant-comes-to-America-makes-good-intergenerational-story that your preteen daughter could read and write home from camp about! There are no surprises but it makes you happy and you go to sleep at night with no sad sighs or regrets about what this world is coming to. Trigiani is a prolific writ...more
Jessica
This novel is competent enough to satisfy the bulk of readers seeking stories of this type, but I was disappointed. As I read, I grew increasingly agitated by the predictable tropes, generalized experiences, and risible coincidences, as well as the superficiality of the insights offered into the human condition. Trigiani opens with a pretty bit of description of a snowy landscape and a seemingly intriguing woman who is characterized through the worn elegance of her dress. Unfortunately, this wom...more
Dee
This was a recent choice by one of the book clubs I belong to and when I heard it was the choice, I was less than thrilled. "Oh, man," I thought. "Not ANOTHER star-crossed lovers book set during the war." I had half a mind to just not read it but decided to force myself to plod through the book and do my duty as a responsible book club member.

Well, I was NOT prepared to be sucked into the story like I was and to discover that I really liked this book. The characters were strong, complex, and li...more
Sabrina
If there’s one book that should be on your summer reading list, it’s The Shoemaker’s Wife. It isn’t just a book; it’s an experience. It’s a slow, beautiful, compelling story with which you can’t help but feel involved and enamoured.

No matter what chapter you are on in this book, the setting is always lush and evocative. The Italian Alps captured me during the first half of the book and America, specifically New York, came to life during the latter half. The story follows two main characters—Enza...more
Phil Ford
Meh. Overly descriptive, is that a bad thing? Sometimes. Sometimes it is so oppressive that you just breeze over the chapter. Sometimes it's kind of lovely. Despite a book where SO MUCH happens, not much happens, you know? I mean, one moment you are in the Italian Alps, the next NYC, then Minnesota. So what. So much happens in the book but is so bogged down in description that the change of scenery just kind of occurs as an incident. Take World War I for example. Though it deeply affects a chara...more
Gail Jorgensen
What a wonderful book starting in Italy going to New Jersey then New York City most of it taking place before I was born.How tough times were and rent was $1.00 a month can't even by a loaf of bread for that now days.There were times my tears kept me from reading the words but loved every word and wanted more when it ended.
Julia Reed
I could not put The Shoemaker's Wife down. It's a great love story, set in early 20th century America and 19th century Italy. Finally, a book about early Italian immigrants that does not involve the mafia. 2012, off to a good start!

Enza and Ciro, whose story is based on the true romance of the author's grandparents, grow up just a few miles apart from each other in the mountains of Northern Italy. Both are poor, but talented. Ciro is a handsome hard worker, the village Romeo, but also good with...more
Christy Woods

The author, clearly, did her research before writing this book; and she put every tidbit of research into the novel. It was very descriptive, even when a description was not necessary. There were so many wasted words. There were ideas, and characters, and actions that did not move the story forward or enrich the act of reading in any way. I felt that, had the author trimmed the fat, the story may have been tolerable. Tolerable, not good.

“Tolerable” because, frankly speaking, this is a poorly...more
Kim
This book was written in such a fashion, it read like a movie. The description used to illustrate every movement allowed the movie to continue to play throughout my mind on every page. I fell in love with each of the characters, and their stories. It was so good, I read it in 4 days, staying up until 3 A.M. to find out what happened next!
Clare Cannon

An epic tale about leaving the old country to set up life in the new, with all the uncertainty, hard work, devotion and spirit of adventure that it entailed.

When Enza and Ciro meet in the mountains of Italy they are young teenagers growing up in a culture at once rich with history and humble in its simplicity. Different circumstances drive them to leave their homes and set out for the land of opportunity across the ocean. How they meet and part, and part and meet is the substance of the story,...more
Darcy
The first part of this story was very good, but it lost steam about halfway through. At first, I enjoyed Trigiani's many descriptions of food, architecture, and scenery. They invoked in me an overwhelming desire to travel to the Italian Alps and eat custard baked by nuns. After a while though, Trigiani's writing style began to get on my nerves. She had the annoying habit of wrapping up significant events from an omniscient future point of view, as though her readers are sitting beside her lookin...more
Lydia Presley
One word summary of this book: HELLO!

Seriously, The Shoemaker's Wife by Adriana Trigiani just seriously took every one of my expectations of Adriana (from reading previous novels of hers) and slapped them around and made me sit up and pay attention. The Shoemaker's Wife, folks, is how a historical story about immigration should be done.

I don't even know where to begin with my review - but let me say this.. this story is so rich in background that by the time the shoemaker gets his wife, I felt a...more
Felicia
Maybe before I was a discerning goodreads reviewer I might have given this book 3 stars. Nah, not even then. Pollyanna that I am, I could not suspend disbelief to allow for all the "random happenings" (Enza and Chiro meeting in St. Vincent's, and Chiro just happening to return from WWI to find Enza on the day of her wedding!). The dialogue was stilted, the characters one dimensional and the writing -manipulative (don't try to pull on my heartstrings!). The author should NOT have narrated the sec...more
Margaret
As far as the story goes, I enjoyed it enough to give it 5 stars. HOWEVER, there are a number of glaring historical errors AND worst of all, she read the second half herself. If there is one thing that Adriana Trigiani should not do, it is to read her own books. Honestly.

Other than that it was an enjoyable book that told of life, love and loss. There were lots of teary moments, and the story was easy to listen to... if one can get over AT's voice.

AT is a great storyteller and writer. She shoul...more
Kristen
DNF. I suspected this book had very little by way of plot from the beginning, but I stuck with it because of the lovingly written scenery porn. Indeed, I was nearly halfway through before I realized it was hopeless. What a dull, saccharine, implausible, frothy piece of fluff. This book is enjoyed by the kind of people who write letters to the editor complaining that the news is too depressing, and can't they print more happy stories?

Some of the most formative periods in the characters' lives are...more
Michael Bell
I really wanted to like this book, especially since I'm an avid reader of historical fiction and a friend recommended it. A love story that travels from the Italian Alps across the Atlantic to New York City and to the Iron Range of Minnesota in a sweeping historical novel that spans the first half of the twentieth century? What's not to like, right? Well, the glaring historical and geographical errors that never ceased to pop up, for one thing.

Maybe I'm an anomaly and no one else cares about a m...more
Ro Givens
Trigiani is brilliant with description - the food, the clothes, the scenery - and I really enjoyed this part (even if I can't stand Thomas Hardy!). And I loved the nuns. However, the storytelling and dialogue were a roller coaster of great to mediocre. Lots of telling, very little showing, conversations that were just awkward, and obvious plot movements. You have a line like "At long last, he understood his mother. The veneer had always been the thing that held her up." followed by "The surface...more
Amanda
The Shoemaker’s Wife was actually my first Adriana Trigiani novel. I know, I know, I call myself a book nerd and I have never before read anything by this highly talented and bestselling author. I’m so terrible. But, honestly, none of her books seemed to grab my attention before, so I never made the plunge. The blurb for Shoemaker’s Wife, combined with the captivating cover, intrigued me. I just had to learn more. What I discovered was a delightful story that left me wanting to read more of Trig...more
Shellie Zeigler
I love this book! I just started reading it yesterday. I have loved Trigiani's Big Stone Gap Series. But this one may even beat that well-loved series. The characters are so vivid, and the plot threatens to break your heart. All I can say is this epic tale grabs you and refuses to let go.
Marialyce
I have to say I was very bored by what should have been a lovely story. I can't quite put my finger on why I felt this way, other than I thought the story to be long winded. The themes seemed to be revolving back and forth so that when the protagonists were not trying to come together, people were eating food. Not to say I do not love Italian food but the book seemed to be consumed (pardon the pun) with cooking and eating and drinking wine.

It was overly long and I thought the story could have be...more
Amy
Mar 30, 2013 Amy rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: meh
My first thought when I started this book was TOO MANY WORDS. My last thought was finally, the last 50 pages written like I think she should have written the book: no more over-written landscape flourishes!

But, this would not do for such an EPIC NOVEL as we are told over and over again by the reviewers, the author, the jacket, the cover and just about the book itself.

No...it is a nice litte story.

To be fair, the opening paragraph gave me great hopes for the book. The description of the snow an...more
Christiana
The Shoemaker's Wife is a book about two Italians, Ciro and Enza, who immigrated to the United States in the early 1900s and eventually fall in love.

There was one thing that saved this book for me: the setting. I was really into the book at the beginning. I mean, two little towns on a beautiful mountain in Northern Italy. What's not to like? The entire Italian atmosphere was very inviting and it made me perhaps made me overlook the character's flaws and the cliché dialogue.
But when the setting...more
Sheila DeChantal
As if I did not already love Adriana's beautiful writing, she comes up with this breathtaking Historical Fiction novel that made my heart leap from the very first time I seen it! Cover, title, synopsis, all three captivated me and made me want to drop everything and read it right away.

As always Adriana writes characters so delightfully detailed and three-dimensional that I feel as though I would know them anywhere. Family also seems to play a large theme throughout Adriana's writing, something I...more
Jana
Apr 15, 2013 Jana rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: rbc
Have you ever tried to read a 500 page book on your iPhone? My thumb is so tired from swiping, that my crankiness, more than anything, probably contributes to the rating of this book.

Due to the above problem with my aching thumb, I must say that before we discussed this book at book club, this book was about a 2.5 star to me. But after listening to my friends at book club who all loved the book, I almost wanted to change my rating to a 4. They loved the book, the writing, and the generational s...more
wanda
Read this if you need a good cry and like typical women's romance fiction. It is a sweet evolving love story with predictable outcomes that are laden with sadness.
I listened to the audio version with the second half read by the author. That made no sense to me as the first narrator had a melodic voice with fluent Italian pronunciation that I found missing in the authors narration. I think Trigiani likes her finger in every pie. All that will make no diference if you read the book vs having it r...more
Mary Anne
I thought this book was really good, and cried while reading the ending, which is unusual for me.

First off, this is not a true historical romance. More of a "novel with strong romantic elements." It's a story about a time period that has faded out in our culture. I saw elements of it when I was a kid in the sixties (old Italian ladies wearing black mantillas in church)-- but most of the novel's elements are now gone.

It's a book about families and what it's like not to have a family.

It's a boo...more
Diane
The first thing you notice about Adriana Trigiani's newest novel, The Shoemaker's Wife, is the stunning cover. A gorgeous woman in a tangerine colored gown strikes a dramatic pose against a wallpapered print that evokes the beauty of an Italian village. The first time I saw it, it literally took my breath away.

I have read many of Trigiani's books, starting with the Big Stone Gap series, through the Valentine series, stand alone books like Rococco, and her non-fiction book about her grandmothers...more
Anita
Pros: nice to read about non-Mafia Italians; enjoyed Alps scenery. Sweetly romantic, nice tale for pleasure reading.

Cons: Numerous historical inaccuracies (time to make journeys, name of river, etc), predictable story, uneven pacing.

I thought this book would be great - perhaps all the hype raised my expectations too high - it was okay, but not all I thought it would be. Given that it is based on author Trigiani's family I can't carp too much about the plot; it is what it was, I suppose, but part...more
Ron
This is a very good saga, but it suffers from occasional lapses into ham-fisted writing, repetition and rambling. Some parts seem to have been written by a complete amateur, high-school aged author(yes, I know some high-schoolers write very well). I will borrow the description of it from B and N:
High in the Italian Alps at the turn of the twentieth century, Ciro, a strapping mountain boy, meets Enza, a practical beauty. But when scandal rocks Ciro's tiny village, unbeknownst to Enza, he is sent...more
Suze
I just finished this book, and my heart is full with the love this author conveyed in her story about a young couple from the Italian Alps. I'm having trouble finding the right words to describe the wonderful journey I took with this little family....from a tiny town in the mountains of Italy to a small town in the USA.

We went through all the trials, tribulations and joys of a family striving to start a new life in a new country. The writing beautifully conveyed the emotions accompanying that st...more
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Bestselling author Adriana Trigiani is beloved by millions of readers around the world for her hilarious and heartwarming novels. Adriana was raised in a small coal-mining town in southwest Virginia in a big Italian family. She chose her hometown for the setting and title of her debut novel, the critically acclaimed bestseller Big Stone Gap. The heartwarming story continues in the novel's sequels...more
More about Adriana Trigiani...
Big Stone Gap (Big Stone Gap, #1) Big Cherry Holler (Big Stone Gap, #2) Lucia, Lucia Very Valentine Brava, Valentine

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“When you lose someone, they take a bigger place in your heart, not a smaller one. Every day it grows, because you don't stop loving them. You wish you could talk to them. You need their advice. But life doesn't always give us what we need, and it's difficult.” 33 likes
“Beware the things of this world that can mean everything or nothing.” 24 likes
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