The Shoemaker's Wife, by Adriana Trigiani

When Trish at TLC Book Tours mentioned she was looking for bloggers who had not read any of Adriana Trigiani's previous books, I volunteered.  I was intrigued by the description of her newest book, The Shoemaker's Wife, as a "historical epic of love and family, war and loss, risk and destiny". 

Apparently Trigiani has a lot of fans.  Even my stepmom saw the book on my coffee table and commented how much she enjoyed Trigiani's books.  After reading The Shoemaker's Wife, I definitely get the appeal of her writing.  

The Shoemaker's Wife is the story of Ciro and Enza, who are from neighboring remote villages in Italy.  They meet briefly as teenagers and feel a connection to one another, but are quickly pulled apart by circumstances and do not meet again for several years.  Actually, Ciro and Enza are apart for much more of the novel than they are together, and we read alternating tales of their childhoods and young adult lives.  Ciro and Enza both emigrate (separately) to the United States, specifically to New York City, he to work as a shoemaker's apprentice and she to earn money for her family to build a home of their own.  Over the next several years, they build new lives in the city, occasionally running into one another, but never at quite the right time.  Enza works her way up from a Hoboken, NJ factory to become a seamstress at the Metropolitan Opera House in NYC, and Ciro finds he has quite a talent for making shoes.  I won't spoil the story of how they finally come together, but it is a satisfying journey, and Trigiani's beautiful and descriptive writing make it that much more enjoyable.

If you consider the love story to be the main point of this book, then the story might seem a little slow, as we spend a lot of the book waiting for the characters to find one another.  But if you read The Shoemaker's Wife simply as a love story, you are missing so much of this tale.  It is a story of love, true, but also of family, friendships, dreams, and life in a time and place different than any I can imagine.  

I loved every bit of this sweeping story, even when I was shedding tears on the pages.  I may just be Trigiani's newest fan, and I can't wait to read some of her other books and see what I have been missing.

**Review copy provided by the publisher and TLC Book Tours.  All opinions expressed are my own.  The Shoemaker's Wife is available now.

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