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The Shoemaker's Wife

3.96  ·  Rating Details ·  55,803 Ratings  ·  6,874 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
ebook, 496 pages
Published April 3rd 2012 by Harper (first published 2012)
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Teresa It is a great read, I hated to put it down. I wanted to see what was going to happen next.
Griselda Alvarez I can't pick one. They were all great except for the priest and the girl Ciro maintained a relationship with until he married.
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Community Reviews

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Apr 20, 2012 Jean rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 07, 2012 Dee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 01, 2012 Sabrina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Christy Woods
Nov 09, 2012 Christy Woods rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition

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
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
Michael Bell-Pouradier
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
Gail Jorgensen
Apr 09, 2012 Gail Jorgensen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 24, 2012 Julia Reed rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 06, 2013 Darcy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 10, 2012 Kim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 10, 2012 Clare Cannon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adults

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,
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
Apr 03, 2015 Phrynne rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Sadly I did not really like this book much. It began well with some nice descriptions of the Italian countryside and the chapters about the brother's life with the nuns were promising. However it then became a long sequence of silly coincidences and overly dramatic relationships and I found myself wishing it to be over. Possibly the worst part was the final section where we suddenly raced through a whole generation being born, growing up and getting married in the space of a few pages. Why? Kath ...more
Dec 03, 2013 Kristen rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 06, 2013 Felicia rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
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
Aug 22, 2012 Margaret rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Apr 02, 2012 Amanda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 31, 2015 Donna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those historical fiction romance's that people either hate or love, depending on what side of historical truth and super detailed description, you happen to fall on. For me, I'm not a history buff so the lack of accuracy isn't a problem and if you've read any of my other reviews, you know I love well placed descriptive stokes. So 4 stars.

The author is committed to painting a pretty picture. So she manipulated things to make that happen. The title is a little perplexing. She isn't
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
Gina *loves sunshine*
I absolutely adored this book. A story that spans many decades and characters that warm your heart and soul. The audio reading of this is fabulous! The setting starts in the italian alps and moves its way to America. I was completely drawn in to every setting. Whether I was winding my way in a horse cart in a small village, with the italian nuns in a convent, the busyness of Ellis Island, the grit of Little Italy, or the world of the Opera - I was entranced by the love of Enzo and Ciro.
Mar 29, 2012 Diane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 22, 2012 Marialyce rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: june-2012
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
Shellie Zeigler
May 10, 2012 Shellie Zeigler rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Laurel Bradshaw
Caution: May contain spoilers!

I really loved this story. The author spent 20 years on it, and the historical detail is fascinating. Lots of description of clothing, food, and daily life, whether on the Iron Range of Minnesota or behind the scenes at the Metropolitan Opera with Enrico Caruso. It brings to life the lives of immigrants at the turn of the century and up through the 1930s. I really didn't want the story to end. I wish it had been made into a trilogy. The first half of the book was co
Mar 30, 2013 Amy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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. is a nice litte story.

To be fair, the opening paragraph gave me great hopes for the book. The description of the snow an
Apr 15, 2013 Jana rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 29, 2016 Steph rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a sweeping story filled with love in all it's forms love of country love of past love parents romantic love everything you could ask for. I cried for at least half the book it was so emotional so beautifully written in simple language it was so pure in it descriptions and it was so amazing. I left the perspectives of this book it is a historical fiction that really draws you in and makes you attached to the characters and wanting them to have happiness in whatever way they can so beauti ...more
Dec 18, 2012 Suze rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 28, 2015 Myrna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
Nice immigrant story

The story was intresting, sweet, and sentimental. Love the scenery and the characters. Didn't rate it higher because it jumped ahead in time quickly and at times overly descriptive. All in all, a great read.
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Adriana Trigiani is beloved by millions of readers around the world for sixteen bestsellers, including the instant New York Times bestseller, All the Stars in the Heavens, 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. She is the award-winning filmmaker o ...more
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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.” 44 likes
“Beware the things of this world that can mean everything or nothing.” 31 likes
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