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The Shoemaker’s Wife

by on June 29th, 2012
The Shoemaker’s Wife Cover Image

The Shoemaker’s Wife is the newest book written by New York Times bestselling author, Adriana Trigiani, and was inspired by her own family history.  This is the first novel I’ve read by the author but it definitely won’t be the last.  I absolutely loved this book of historical fiction for adults. Set during the early part of the 20th century beginning in the northern part of Italy, the setting changes to New York City, and then to Minnesota.  The first meeting of the handsome Ciro and the beautiful 15 year-old Enza is when he is hired to dig the grave for Enza’s beloved little sister, Stella. They later share a kiss and feel an instant connection and believe their lives are destined to be intertwined.  But Ciro, who is left to grow up in a convent, witnesses inappropriate behavior by the local Catholic priest, and is banished from his village on the mountain.  He escapes with the help of the loving convent sisters to live in Little Italy in New York City as an apprentice to a shoemaker.  Meanwhile, Enza’s family is destitute and she decides to go to America where she can hire herself as a dressmaker and send money home for her family’s welfare and their dream of building a home of their own in the Alps.  The two star-crossed sweethearts meet again, but the Great War has begun and Ciro has enlisted.  Enza lands a great job with the Metropolitan Opera House sewing costumes for the likes of Enrico Caruso and other famous singers.  When Ciro returns from the war he once again captures Enza’s heart and they ultimately move to Minnesota to begin their married life.  Every episode in this moving novel is engaging—from life with the nuns when Ciro’s mother drops him off with his brother, Eduardo, who wants  to become a priest, to the immigrant story of crossing the Atlantic in a ship where Enza nearly dies from sea-sickness, to her job with the opera and deep friendship with Laura, to Ciro’s time in France fighting in the war, to the family bonds each share, to life-long friendships made, to love, faith, and loss. This epic tale is totally enthralling and beautifully written.  I cried in several parts of the novel and dare others to read this book with a dry eye.  I would enthusiastically recommend The Shoemaker’s Wife to any women’s book group or individual readers who like this genre.  Bravo!

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