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Lucia, Lucia: A Novel (Ballantine Reader's Circle) Paperback – June 29, 2004

4.5 out of 5 stars 354 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Series: Ballantine Reader's Circle
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; Reprint edition (June 29, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812967798
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812967791
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (354 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #95,832 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Diana Faillace Von Behren TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 2, 2005
Format: Paperback
In her novel, "Lucia, Lucia",author Adriana Trigiani fashions the wonderfully likeable Lucia Sartori, living in 1950s Manhattan caught between the yearning to succeed as a proud career woman and need to follow the traditional route as wife and mother that she is most familiar with as the daughter of a close-knit Italian American family.

Lucia, indisputably "the most beautiful girl in Greenwich Village", believes she can have it all. As her candid voice weaves through the ups and downs of her family life as it tangles with a sophisticated affair that promises to transform Lucia's Americanized buoyancy into a dire Italian pessimism of operatic proportions, the reader cannot help but smile down upon this 23 year old, naïve as she is, and wish for a better conclusion to her cautionary tale.

Perhaps the outcome waxes a bit predictable, but nevertheless, Trigiani authenticates the world of fashion and post-WW2 sensibilities with a seamstress's exquisite detail that would have made Edith Head relinquish one of her Costume Design Oscars for at least a day. Trigiani excels at prolific dialogue that offers insight into the paradoxical expectations for women of that time period. Her chats between the girls at B.Altman's suggest both wisdom and trepidation with regard to the sometimes concentric and sometimes non parallel worlds of men, marriage, career and family.

Best of all is Trigiani's interpretation of the dilemma of second and third generation Italian Americans: to either assimilate into the American mindset by refuting the at times suffocating shackle of family or to entrench further into one's parent's traditional existence.
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By A Customer on July 10, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I haven't read her other books but do plan to now. From the moment I opened Lucia, Lucia it was as though the book was glued to my hands. It was as though I was transported as an invisible voyuer in to the Sartori home - I felt every emotion because she wrote it so brilliantly. I laughed, I got angry and I sobbed more than once. By the end you feel as though you knew all these people from Lucia to Dellmar to her brothers - all of them. And it's hard to say good bye when you reach the last page because in a mere 260 pages you come to feel you were on the journey with her. To me the sign of a great book is one in which you just can't bare to reach the last page and have it end. Bellisima!
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Format: Hardcover
I have a weakness for novels that can effectively take me to a certain time or place and make me want to stay there. Trigiani beautifully recreates and draws the reader into the glamorous and dream-like New York fashion world of the 1950's. Its setting alone is enough to make me like this book, but there is more to it than that. The reader cannot help but like Lucia, a girl with her own mind and ahead of her time. Trigiani tells her story so that the reader knows from the first paragraph Lucia's somewhat sad outcome. The reader, entering Lucia's world with almost with a feeling of superiority, waits for the dumb mistake or terrible tragedy that must have landed her in her position. But as we learn Lucia's story, we can't help but cheer her decisions as she follows her heart, even when those decisions ultimately lead her down the difficult path that leads to where we find her. The reader struggles somewhat uncomfortably, knowing the negative consequences of Lucia's decisions, but ultimately unable to disagree with them. Trigiani reminds us that following one's heart involves serious risks-- and those risks can have troubling consequences, without a happy ending. It is this simple truth that separates her novel from the rest of the novels in the "large-and strict-but-loveable-ethnic-family-with-headstrong-daughter-getting-married" genre. So, Trigiani's novel would have been more powerful if she'd left the final portion (with its 'sort of' happy ending added on) on the "cutting room floor." Trigiani is clearly a good writer, but leaving Lucia's story be would have shown more courage and artistic maturity, in my opinion. (As an aside, the use of the present tense throughout the novel also irritated me.) All in all, a good, easy read, though.
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Format: Hardcover
At first, I was loving every page of this book. Even though I do not sew and don't care a tremendous amount about fashion, Trigiani really did a great job of pulling me into Lucia's world: the care she gave to sewing, how it made her feel, the clothing she wore and worked on.
Lucia was very sympathetic. She wanted something more than what women aspired to in 1951 and even her friends could not understand her dreams. How terrible to be one of the early feminists and not have a peer group!
The book is good until the last 1/4--which seems to be a trend lately. I suppose the last 1/4 of the book must be the most difficult to write. The book kind of rushed through the ending. Additionally, what should have been the climax for the book ended up falling a bit flat--since we the reader saw this coming--and then flailed around a bit.
I truly felt Lucia's relationship with John Talbot weakened the book somewhat. Lucia is a career woman and doesn't even want to get married, yet this whole thing with John Talbot... I don't want to give it away, but it would have made MORE sense to me if Lucia herself would merely decided to call something off herself and come to this conclusion on her own, not as part of a reaction to not getting what she wants. It just seemed that the author could have done a better job of handling that. She danced around it with a conversation between Delmarr and Lucia, but she never nailed it.
This could have been a stronger story, but it wasn't a bad story. It was light reading, enjoyable, but ultimately a bit of a let-down in the end. If you enjoy stories about this time period, pick it this up. I enjoyed this read very much until the last 1/4.
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