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The Queen of the Big Time

3.88  ·  Rating Details  ·  7,426 Ratings  ·  599 Reviews
Known and loved around the world for her sweeping Big Stone Gap trilogy and the instant New York Times bestseller Lucia, Lucia, Adriana Trigiani returns to the charm and drama of small-town life with Queens of the Big Time. This heartfelt story of the limits and power of love chronicles the remarkable lives of the Castellucas, an Italian-American family, over the course of ...more
Abriged Audio CD, Abridged, 0 pages
Published July 6th 2004 by Random House Audio (first published January 1st 2004)
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Jul 20, 2009 Jill rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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...
Mar 05, 2011 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel, pennsylvania
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
Aug 10, 2011 Caroline rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
☼♎ Carmen the Bootyshaker Temptress ☼♎
A cute story where a young girl is determined to follow her dreams.
Apr 23, 2015 Mindy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-read
Would give a 4.5 if I could.
Oct 27, 2008 Dawn rated it it was amazing  ·  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
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,
Mar 28, 2011 Eva rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 22, 2012 Laurie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 31, 2013 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 26, 2014 Bonnie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 30, 2015 Ina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book and Adriana Trigiani is now one of my favorite authors. This a wonderful story with strong female characters. It reminds me of the strong women in our family.
May 30, 2009 Sara rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 05, 2016 Angela rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely adored this wonderful tale of Italian immigrant life in Pennsylvania's Slate Belt.
Kat Hilton
Apr 16, 2015 Kat Hilton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 13, 2016 Marjan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow , read in one day , loved it !
Sep 01, 2009 Vanessa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pool-reads
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
Jul 24, 2016 Ritu rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
We listened to the book read by the author herself on a road trip. Fabulous book! The miles sped and we were so engrossed in the story that we reached our destination and finished the book! After reading the book, I am now curious to visit the town Roseto in Pennsylvania , a place that is inhabited by Italians who immigrated to America and brought their culture, traditions and settled their roots there. There is mention of the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic church.
The story is about a family
Aug 21, 2007 Linda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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
Beth Watkins
Oct 16, 2015 Beth Watkins rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very quick read, I read almost the entire book on a three hour flight. I've always liked Adriana Trigiani and was a big fan of the Stone Gap trilogy which I read a very long time ago, so it was nice to rediscover her. It's providential that I found this book on my mom's book shelf a few days ago because this story captures some very similar emotions and thoughts that have been haunting me lately. Life has so many possibilities, but we can only live one life. We make choices that define who we ...more
Linda Hart
May 27, 2012 Linda Hart rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Adriana Trigiani can write, especially about Italian Americans and their colorful culture. This was a very enjoyable book that leaves you with the understanding of the importance of living your life to the fullest and appreciating the love all around you, instead of longing for what you don't have. This is a happy, uplifting, all ends well story.
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
Jun 08, 2009 Marie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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
Penny Pennella
I was re reading the e mails from my heart surgery and man had recommended this book way back then. I got it from the Library. It's the story of a girl raised in a settlement in Penna that mirrors a town in Italy. Her folks are farmers and she longs to learn and be a teacher. Fate has different plans for her. Her Dad is injured in a mining accident and she is forced to leave school to help run the farm and eventually moves to town to work in a blouse factory. She has a chance encounter with a bo ...more
Feb 05, 2014 Marty rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 07, 2007 Barbara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bookstorecommend
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.
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
Apr 03, 2007 Natalie rated it really liked it  ·  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.
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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 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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“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.” 3 likes
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