In this luscious, contemporary family saga, the Angelini Shoe Company, makers of exquisite wedding shoes since 1903, is one of the last family-owned businesses in Greenwich Village. The company is on the verge of financial collapse. It falls to thirty-three-year-old Valentine Roncalli, the talented and determined apprentice to her grandmother, the master artisan Teodora Angelini, to bring the family's old-world craftsmanship into the twenty-first century and save the company from ruin.
While juggling a budding romance with dashing chef Roman Falconi, her duty to her family, and a design challenge presented by a prestigious department store, Valentine returns to Italy with her grandmother to learn new techniques and seek one-of-a-kind materials for building a pair of glorious shoes to beat their rivals. There, in Tuscany, Naples, and on the Isle of Capri, a family secret is revealed as Valentine discovers her artistic voice and much more, turning her life and the family business upside down in ways she never expected.
This was my first Adriana Trigiani book and after reading it I have no idea why I hadn't read a book of hers until now. I absolutely adore her style of writing and I fell in love with the characters and the story line. This book has the big Italian family (minus Mafia ties) that I always love reading about in books. They are so close knit and it's easy to tell that the Roncalli family love each other very much. Well, maybe not so much "Clickety-Clack" but other than that, they are close family.
I really loved learning about shoes in this book. Even though I probably couldn't afford it, I think I would be thrilled to be able to own a pair of shoes from the Angelini Shoe Company. I love the fact that they are one of a kind and handmade. The descriptions of the hard work and detail that go into making the shoes really shows the love and care that the shoe maker puts into their work. I really liked Valentine's character. She's very independent and is more focused on saving her family's company than she is about finding a husband. She doesn't allow the relationships that she does have to come between her goals for the shop. Even when they don't turn out the way she intended, Valentine allows time to grieve but then puts her energy into helping out her grandmother.
The book has a chick lit feel but doesn't give into the cliches of the genre. There's lots of humor in the book as well. I found myself laughing several times. Also present is serious issues and relationship talk but it's mixed well and flows smoothly throughout the story. I loved the recipes that were included in this edition. They look easy to make and sound oh so delicious. Overall I really enjoyed this book. It was great fun to read but still packs a punch with the stellar writing. I am definitely now a Trigiani fan and am glad to join the bandwagon. I will be looking forward to reading the next book in this series as well as reading all her other books. HIGHLY recommended.
Very Valentine by Adriana Trigiani is published by Harper (2009)
This review copy was provided by the publisher
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