Thursday, April 12, 2012

Book Review: “The Shoemaker’s Wife” by Adriana Trigiani

The-Shoemakers-WifeThe Shoemaker’s Wife 
Adriana Trigiani
Published: April 3, 2012
ISBN-10: 0061257095
Genre: Fiction, Historical
Source: TLC Book Tours
Highly Recommended

Ciro Lazzari and Enza Ravanelli meet as teenagers in the early 20th century and, while both experience an instant connection, circumstances separate them.  Years later, they find each other again in New York City—and once again they are separated.  It is only through perseverance, and some luck, that they are finally able to be together and start a new life on the Iron Range in Minnesota.

Let’s me start by saying that this is the kind of book that I adore—it has American History, it has romance and it has well-developed character.  Strangely, I find very few books that meet this criteria to be enjoyable.  Luckily, The Shoemaker’s Wife, the first book by Adriana Trigiani that I’ve read (I know, I know…), is the exception.

Ciro and Enza are wonderfully written characters.  Ciro is a young man to whom life has not always been kind.  He lost his father at a young age and his mother shortly thereafter when she left Ciro and his older brother at a convent to be raised by Nuns.  Despite this, Ciro is person who makes his own luck.  When Ciro is literally kicked out of the village after uncovering the truth about the village priest, he makes it to New York—with more money in his pocket than he had when he left Italy.

Enza is a practical woman with a lot of whatever the Italians would call chutzpah.  Before leaving Italy, she is almost a third parent to her siblings.  Once in America, she pulls herself from the tenements to the lights of New York Society.

This kind of story—the decade-spanning star-crossed love story—is more difficult than one would think.  It is easy for a plot to be lost in a ramble or to make it too epic to handle.  The Shoemaker’s Wife is able to maneuver through that mine field.  There are a couple of sections where there seems to be a few too many characters, however that is only a spotty (as opposed to compounding!) problem.  I also felt that the pace was a little uneven as it seemed to be noticeable quicker for the last third or so of the book.

Still, considering the scope of this book, I would find both of those faults to be forgivable.  Trigiani had a difficult task when she tackled the scope of The Shoemaker’s Apprentice, but she did it successfully.

Want a second, third or fourth opinion?  Check out some of the other sites on this blog tour (links go to the blog homepage, not the specific review):

April 3 – Book Journey
April 4 – Reading Lark
April 5 – Life is Short.  Read First
April 6 – Amused by Books
April 9 – Literature and a Lens
April 10 – Book Dilettante
April 11 – Bibliosue
April 12 – West Metro Mommy
April 16 – “That’s Swell!”
April 17 – Confessions of an Avid Reader
April 18 – Reviews by Lola
April 23 – Peppermint PhD
April 24 – A Bookish Affair
April 25 – Knowing the Difference
April 26 – Library of Clean Reads
May 1 – Walking with Nora
May 2 – I’m Booking It
May 3 – Adventures of an Intrepid Reader

This review is part of a blog tour by TLC Book Tours.  I received a copy of the book to read and review.  I received no other compensation for this review and all opinions are mine, and mine alone.

Affiliate Link: Purchase this book from Amazon.


  1. I loved her other books so I can't wait to get this one!

  2. I'm glad your issue with the large number of characters didn't take away from your overall enjoyment of this book! Thanks for being on the tour.

  3. The Shoemaker's Wife was my first Trigiani as well (at least neither of us is the only one :) I was a little worried about the romance...I don't usually like that but I think the way Trigiani develops the characters makes it feel real and not a made up Cinderella story. I can't wait to read more.

  4. I absolutely loved this book. The author reminded me of so much of my own family history. Since my grandfather was a shoemaker., I thought my mother would enjoy, but only after a few of us Italian women in the family read it not being able to put it down easily. Quite refreshing.

  5. I so want to read this book. Thanks for the great review.

    Going to check out the other thoughts on the other blogs as well.

    Silver's Reviews

  6. I've never read anything by this author. I don't read much these days! But I do love romance and historial fiction :)

  7. This is a wonderful and heart warming story, well written in my estimation. I did not want to put the book down and have encouraged friends, and even strangers to read it.

    Cath Brookes (Best Microsoft Software Downloads)