Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Shoemaker’s Wife-Adriana Trigiani

The Shoemaker’s Wife

Adriana Trigiani

Harper, Apr 3 2012, $26.99

ISBN: 9780061257094

In the Italian Alps, seven years old Ciro Lazzari is numb with denial as his grieving recently widowed mother places him and his older brother Eduardo in a convent before vanishing. At the same time Enza Ravanelli lives nearby while raised in a warm poor family.

As teens, they meet when Ciro digs the grave for Enza’s sister. They are attracted to one another, but he observes scandalous behavior by the priest so the father exiles him and his sibling to Little Italy in New York where Ciro becomes the shoemaker’s apprentice. Soon afterward Enza is also forced to go to America where she finds work in Hoboken. When they meet in Manhattan, they realize they still remain attracted to one another. However, he fails to act on his feelings before being shipped overseas to fight on the western front. While she obtains work as a seamstress at the Metropolitan Opera House a reflective and despondent, Ciro prays he can go home soon to correct his greatest mistake; failing to ask his beloved to marry him.

This is a super historical epic thriller that grips readers with a welcoming of immigrants who have brought so much to this country but also contains a profound message in which living denotes overcoming what you lost. The early twentieth century storyline is brought alive by tidbits like the type of combat in WWI and the power of the Church in Italy (and to a lesser degree in New York and New Jersey. Readers will appreciate the escapades of two immigrants seeking the American dream.

Harriet Klausner

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