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Tuesday, January 15, 2013
The Shoemaker's Wife by Adriana Trigiani
The Shoemaker's Wife by Adriana Trigiani was one of my favorite books last year. It tells the story of a man and woman from Italy who have a love affair that spans decades and continents.
Enza is a poor cart driver's daughter who lives in the Italian Alps. Ciro is a young man who has been effectively orphaned by the death of his father and the abandonment of his mother, who has left him and his brother at a local convent. The two meet when Ciro is sent by the priest to attend to Enza's sister's funeral. The pair connects immediately. Ciro vows to return up the mountain to see Enza again, but it is a long time before he keeps that promise.Their relationship is cut short when Ciro is banished to America after catching the priest with a local school girl. But the pair will never forget one another.
Ciro begins learning to make shoes alongside a cobbler in New York, thinking frequently of Enza and wishing he could see her again. Soon...family struggles determine that Enza must too emigrate in order to help save them. Their lives intersect once more at a hospital in New York just after Enza has stepped off the boat.
This story was so stinking cute. It had a slow start and took me a little while to get into, but once things got rolling I couldn't put it down. Patti had recommended it to me and she's the one who convinced me to keep reading. This is one of those books that may have been killed by the 30 page rule. I'm glad I stuck it out.
The story may have been somewhat predictable, but not in the way you would think. It just keeps turning you around another corner.
The characters were wonderful. Though the focus was obviously limited to the two main characters, supporting characters still had great descriptions and fit into the story well.
I loved Ciro. He's so sweet and wonderful. I felt terrible for him more than once--he seems to have horribly rotten luck. But he always bounces back with grace and strength.
Enza is adorable. She is nice and kind, but she isn't a push over. She has great self-esteem and she knows what she deserves. She's a strong woman in a time and place when women weren't really all that valued. But she knows that she can make something of herself. I liked that she never gave up.
To be honest, I was kind of sad when the book was over. I just wanted to know more. I wouldn't at all be upset to find that Adriana Trigiani was planning a series based on the families in this book. It would be wonderful!
I would've liked this book to be at the top of my list...rating a full 5 stars, but I just couldn't do it. In the end, I wound up rating it 4 out of 5 stars. I would've given the full 5 stars had the beginning not taken so long to get rolling. That slow start really made it difficult in the beginning.