From Publishers Weekly
Greenwich Village is a far cry from the rural Virginia of Trigiani's best-selling trilogy (Big Stone Gap; Big Cherry Holler; Milk Glass Moon), but the emotional terrain covered in the author's first novel is warmly familiar. Poignant and feeling, it looks back on the experiences of the beautiful daughter of an Italian-American family in Greenwich Village in the early '50s. Kit Zanetti, a young playwright in present-day New York, accepts an invitation to the apartment of "Aunt Lu," as she is known in their building. Aunt Lu on first glance is an eccentric lady in her 70s who trails around in a fur. Once Kit can be bothered to listen, however, she finds out that Aunt Lu was once the most beautiful girl in Greenwich Village, Lucia Sartori, an intelligent and ambitious seamstress in the custom department at B. Altman's, who's determined not to let the traditions of her loving family lock her into the patterns of the past. When her impending marriage to childhood sweetheart Dante threatens just that, she refuses him, startling her beloved family. Then, fatefully, she meets the dapper John Talbot, who seems the man of her dreams, even draping her in full-length mink, and she ignores the signs that he is trouble and plans marriage. Jilted on her wedding day, Lucia finds out that he is a con man. Despite her pain, she decides to go to California to follow her dream, but when her mother falls ill she does exactly what she was trying to avoid: she becomes the maiden aunt and caretaker of the Sartori clan. Will some well-meant meddling by Kit disarray Lucia's carefully controlled life? This old-fashioned drama wears its heart on its sleeve-subtlety is not its strong suit-but readers will laugh with and weep for Lucia and her lost dreams.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From School Library Journal
Adult/High School-Budding playwright Kit Zanetti is invited to tea by her elderly neighbor, and she is amazed at the apartment full of memorabilia. Her question about a beautiful full-length mink coat begins the story of "Aunt Lu's" long and interesting life. Lucia Sartori, the youngest child and only daughter of a prosperous Italian grocer in Greenwich Village in the early '50s, is engaged to marry her childhood sweetheart, Dante DiMartino. Almost on the eve of the wedding, Lucia is shocked to learn that his mother expects her to quit her job as a seamstress at B. Altman's department store to stay at home and help her future mother-in-law and to prepare for the children she is expected to have. Lucia resents having to choose between career and marriage, so she breaks the engagement. Later, she meets suave and debonair John Talbot, who sweeps her off her feet. He gives her a beautiful, full-length mink coat. Only after being jilted at the altar does Lucia learn that he is a con man. After this unfortunate event, Lucia's plans to go to California to pursue her career are thwarted when her mother becomes ill. Now she must decide between love and duty or her own happiness. Finely drawn characters move the story along with warmth and humor, relationships in Lucia's big Italian family are lovingly detailed, and there is a strong sense of place. Readers who enjoyed Trigiani's "Big Stone Gap" trilogy (Random) will find that she again tells an engaging story.Carol Clark, Fairfax County Public Schools, VA
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