From Publishers Weekly
Set in early 20th-century smalltown America, Trigiani's fifth novel (after the Big Stone Gap trilogy and Lucia, Lucia
) tells a heartfelt but clumsy story of strong women enduring the rigors of farm life and the trials of romantic and familial relations. At its worst, the novel is a morass of incomplete story lines, underdeveloped characters and inconsistent tenses. Still, readers who've fallen for Trigiani's hallmark personages—Italian immigrants living the American dream in rural Pennsylvania—in previous books will delight in meeting these new ones. Nella Castelluca has brains and ambition; she hopes to someday become a teacher. Alas, when her father is injured at work, she must quit school and stay home to help on the family farm. Her first dream slips away, but working farm life turns out to be not so bad, and Nella eventually falls for the dreamy poet Renato Lanzara. But when he skips town, dream two is crushed, and Nella faces a tough reality: marry another man, and move on. Easier said than done, of course, and Trigiani spends the rest of the book drawing out the saga. Although the writing never rises above B-level, the novel does paint a thorough picture of Italian-American family life and the deep pain of lost love.
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Praise for The Queen of the Big Time:
“Moving and poignant ...Trigiani has again defied categorization. She is more than a one-hit wonder, more than a Southern writer, more than a women’s novelist. She is an amazing young talent.”
“A sweet story of growing up, marrying, and dying within the framework of family, love, and community...[The Queen of the Big Time
] will make you smile and reminisce about gentler, more civil times in small-town and rural America.”
–The Boston Globe
“Trigiani takes from her own heritage to craft a generous plot-driven novel that’s a breezy page-turner ... ‘Queen’
offers a personal saga of American history and a romance woven together with warmth and good humor.”
“Full-bodied and elegantly written ... Trigiani builds [The Queen of the Big Time
] around an old-fashioned love story ...Pure pleasure.”
–Washington Post Book World
“Deaths lead to births, dreams deferred yield wondrous new visions [in The Queen of the Big Time
] ... intensely detailed characters.”
“Heartfelt ... Readers who have fallen for Trigiani’s hallmark personages ... in previous books will delight in meeting the new ones É [Paints] a thorough picture of Italian-American family life and the deep pain of lost love.”–Publishers Weekly
Praise for Adriana Trigiani and Lucia, Lucia
“Trigiani's writing is as dazzling as Lucia's dresses.”
“Fast-moving, funny, visual, and moving. . . A vibrant, loving, wistful portrait of a lost time and place. Every page is engrossing and begs us to read the next.”
“Seamlessly superb storytelling . . . Trigiana never loses hold of the hearts of her characters–or of the wisdom that tragedy and redemption are also part of life.”–St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“This heartwarming tale is full of lessons about taking risks in life and love.”
“Compelling...a breezy read.”
–Entertainment WeeklyFrom the Hardcover edition.