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The Queen of the Big Time

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  9,491 ratings  ·  734 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
Paperback, 304 pages
Published May 31st 2005 by Ballantine Books (first published January 1st 2004)
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3.91  · 
Rating details
 ·  9,491 ratings  ·  734 reviews

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Jul 20, 2009 rated it it was ok
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...
I'm not sure what to say about this book. The author was new to me and I thought it looked like an interesting story. The story follows one woman, Nella, from the time she is 14-years-old and fell in love for the first time with a 21-year-old man, until her death at the age of 61. Although she realizes the man she loves is too old for her, she is never able to forget him even after she marries another man and has a family.

Trigiani is a good writer and keeps the reader interested in the story. Ne
Mar 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Best book I have read in a very long time! My kind of story!
☼♎ Carmen the Bootyshaker Temptress ☼♎
A cute story where a young girl is determined to follow her dreams.
Feb 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
Absolutely wonderful story of a Nella Castelluca's life from age 15 to her death. She was the middle daughter of 5, and this story takes you through her life of love and loss, of joy and sorrow, during a time and place in America of the development of our education system, workforce, churches, cities, and most importantly women's rights. The beauty is that Trigiani never makes you feel like she's promoting awareness of such hugely social and historical issues, but they are there, and impact you ...more
Katherine Sartori
Dec 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed yet another of Trigiani's Italian novels, this time a historical one. Nella Castelluca is the third daughter of an Italian family living on a farm outside Roseto, Pennsylvania. Her parents and many other Italians immigrated there in the late 1800s. Nella is a good student who wants to become a teacher. Her dreams are smashed, however, when her father has an accident. Now she must work in a clothing mill to help support the family. Though young, she begins to show strong managerial skil ...more
Alexis Leon
Oct 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 20, 2009 rated it did not like it
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
Kellie Alley
Feb 22, 2017 rated it liked it
3.5 probably. I wish there would have been more of Franco pursuing Nella and her rejecting him. I liked her playing hard to get. Don't care very much for the jump of time spans. But I did enjoy reading about Nella's life and decisions throughout.
Apr 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio-read
Would give a 4.5 if I could.
Apr 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
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.
Sep 04, 2016 rated it did not like it
I will never take a book where "accidentally" is spelled wrong and there is no clarification between "then" with "than" seriously. It is against my true nature--and true form as a grammar Nazi.

This book flew by--not because I am a fast reader or had time to read it--but because it was trash in the simplest definition. The Queen of the Big Time is about an Italian family in the 1920's, something when written right could have captured my attention. The narration begins with a young girl who meets
Jul 31, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Connie G
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,
Feb 16, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Aug 29, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Spanning the 1910s to 1970s, The Queen of the Big Time is a fictionalized account of the life Adriana Trigiani's Italian grandmother. I wouldn't say the plot is hugely dramatic, but it is engrossing. What makes this book worth the read is the clear, colorful picture of the time and place, showing how various ethnic groups were viewed during the 1920s and '30s, what courtship and marriage were like during these times, and the work and role options for women of the day. The characters are wonderfu ...more
I liked this story of an Italian-American woman in a Pennsylvania community. It is set mostly in the 1920's and then follows the rest of her life as she lives it to the best of her ability. I thought it would be just a light read and although it's definitely not super deep, I found it had some interesting and profound things to say about first love vs. true and abiding love, faith in God and His workings in our lives, the choices women must often make as they provide for their families, and the ...more
Sep 01, 2013 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 rated it really liked it
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
Kat Hilton
Apr 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
Sep 01, 2009 rated it liked it
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
Linda Hart
May 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jun 05, 2009 rated it liked it
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.
Jul 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Another good one from Trigiani. If you love historical fiction -- especially if you have some Italian roots -- you will likely enjoy this novel. It's not quite as good as The Shoemaker's Wife, but definitely a page turning quick read.

I recommend it!
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
Apr 03, 2007 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.
Sep 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jul 21, 2017 rated it liked it
Often the dialouge did not seem realistic but was still an enjoyable, fluffy, comfort read.
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Mar 22, 2015 12:02PM  
I give this book 5 stars 5 26 Aug 17, 2014 02:00AM  

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Adriana Trigiani's latest novel, Tony’s Wife, is on sale now!

Adriana Trigiani is beloved by millions of readers around the world for her bestselling novels. She wrote the blockbuster The Shoemaker’s Wife, the Big Stone Gap series, the Valentine trilogy and Lucia, Lucia. She is published in 35 countries around the world. Her recent novel, Kiss Carlo, was an instant bestseller of The New York Times,
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“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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