Customer Reviews


3,031 Reviews
5 star:
 (1,768)
4 star:
 (787)
3 star:
 (302)
2 star:
 (115)
1 star:
 (59)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


420 of 443 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enthralling Historical Epic
Adriana Trigiani enhances the meaning of an epic novel in her new almost 500 page historical fiction. She seizes our attention in the first few chapters introducing us to the brothers Eduardo and Ciro, who are relegated to a convent when their mother can no longer take care of them after her husband's death. Set in the resplendent Italian Alps, Trigiani moves us through...
Published on March 11, 2012 by Mr. August

versus
134 of 146 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars These Shoes Did Not Have Enough "SOUL"
The Shoemaker's Wife was a roller coaster read for me. Although the characters were well defined and the history interesting the novel just did not capture my heart. The overly detailed minutia took away from the storyline. There were descriptions of food , clothing etc that went on and on and on while crucial life events had 6 year gaps or took just a few pages to...
Published on July 13, 2012 by Carol A. Sym


‹ Previous | 1 2304 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

420 of 443 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enthralling Historical Epic, March 11, 2012
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Adriana Trigiani enhances the meaning of an epic novel in her new almost 500 page historical fiction. She seizes our attention in the first few chapters introducing us to the brothers Eduardo and Ciro, who are relegated to a convent when their mother can no longer take care of them after her husband's death. Set in the resplendent Italian Alps, Trigiani moves us through their unconventional upbringing by nuns to the fierce immigrant experience in America.

There is, of course, a love story, but before this relationship blossoms, the author has her sentiments regarding the Catholic Church. Although this novel takes place at the turn of the century, the strength of the village and the Church seem timeless. Eduardo is a scholarly older brother, dedicated to protecting his outgoing, opinionated younger sibling, Ciro. Ciro is a big strong kid whom the nuns adore with his sense of humor and his commitment to earn his keep at the Convent. He goes beyond his tasks and makes an extra effort. This enthusiasm flourishes in his passions, also. He observes the town's beloved priest in a scandalous situation. The priest, to protect himself, sends the two brothers away from their beloved town and the only family they have known. Trigiani boldly depicts the strength and sole authority of the Church and the goodness of the nuns.

Before they are banished by the Church, Ciro meets Enza, a lovely girl while he is digging the grave for her youngest sister. The author enforces the strength and love of family throughout the book and this tragedy initiates a spark of love. Enza is despondent when Ciro leaves without an explanation. This love affair is the basis of the strength of the story amid the immigrant struggle in Little Italy. The sequence of events carries us through World War I with all the fervor and obsessions of the love and devastation and the resolve of Ciro and Enza, lovers who are determined to make a good life for themselves and their family. The story unfolds into success and heart-breaking tragedy.

This is a well-written novel, which touches the American Dream with clarity and sympathy. The book was rather lengthy and sometimes it read like a romance novel. However, the immigrants' obsession with their heritage is paramount to the novel's fervency. Trigiani makes a universal point; surviving life is not about what you can get but what is taken away from you. She has made this crystal clear.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


138 of 148 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Immigrants Tale, March 12, 2012
By 
B. A. Chaney (Baltimore, MD USA) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Adriana Trigiani's "The Shoemaker's Wife" is an epic tale of immigration, love, and finding your life. The novel spans three decades, from the 1910s to the end of World War II. At the center of the story are Ciro and Enza, two young immigrants from the same small town in the Italian Alps. Both must immigrate to New York under duress, after their initial spark in Italy. After a chance encounter in New York, the two must decide if their future lies together or apart.

I really enjoyed this novel, the first I head read by Trigiani. My understanding is that her novels are normally romances, but I felt like this novel was more like good historical fiction with a bit of romance thrown in. From the Italian Alps to the street of Little Italy to the trenches of France during World War I, this novel covers a lot and Trigiani does a great job of taking her reader along on her characters adventures. For me the characters felt genuine and I liked them, always something that helps me connect to a novel. My only real complaint with this enjoyable page turner was that although the novel is long (at nearly 400 pages) the author's pacing is uneven. She spends a lot of time in certain parts of the story, and very little in others.

Overall, I enjoyed this novel. It was a fairly light, quick read, with good historical detail and just the right amount of romance.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


134 of 146 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars These Shoes Did Not Have Enough "SOUL", July 13, 2012
By 
Carol A. Sym (Maspeth, New york United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
The Shoemaker's Wife was a roller coaster read for me. Although the characters were well defined and the history interesting the novel just did not capture my heart. The overly detailed minutia took away from the storyline. There were descriptions of food , clothing etc that went on and on and on while crucial life events had 6 year gaps or took just a few pages to develop. This was a big failing point for me. The last chapter of the book seemed rushed and totally undeveloped. Many of the events were contrived and stretched the reader's believability. All this being said I did appreciate reading about the Italian immigration experience and the strong, hard working characters who were the heroes in this novel.Some scenes were beautiful and emotionally true.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


131 of 146 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Romantic Saga, March 11, 2012
By 
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Ciro Lazzari was seven years old when his distraught mother placed her two sons in a convent and disappeared from their lives. Enza Ravanelli grew up in a warm and growing, if poor, family in the same remote alpine district of Italy. The two met briefly at the burial of Enza's little sister and formed an intense but brief connection. Later, as a result of strange coincidences, they would meet again in America, in New York City. And again. Their romance, if it was one, might have seemed doomed, but then...well, you'll have to read it yourself. The story ranges from alpine Italy to New York, to Minnesota, to the battlefields of World War I, to the Metropolitan Opera House and an enchanted encounter with Enrico Caruso. It is a story of love, family, romance, hard work, adversity, and the immigrant experience of the early 1900s.

This is a sentimental book, a romantic book, and at 468 pages, a long book. Author Adriana Trigiani writes well, but at times over-writes. Her prose is packed with detail--long, sentimental speeches, improbable dialogue, incredible detail about foods, cooking, sewing, fabrics, architecture and shoe-making. And, of course, lots of adjectives. I found the book slow at first, hard to get into, but after the first fifty or one hundred pages, it began to come alive. The characters are richly evoked, strong and determined folk who take their own course in life. You will soon feel as if you know them personally.

If you're looking for a romantic saga of the early twentieth century, replete with love, family, and struggle, you will love this book, and I recommend it. It's not a quick and easy read, though. Reviewed by Louis N.Gruber.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


38 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One Of Trigiani's best!, April 4, 2012
By 
Sheila A. Dechantal (Brainerd, Minnesota) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
It is the early 1900's, and Ciro, who lives in a covenant with his older brother, first meets the breathtaking beauty names Enza when they are teenagers living in the Italian Alps. When Ciro witnesses something he should not have, he is sent to America to be safe, where he works as a shoemaker. Enza is left not knowing what has happened to Ciro. When Enza's family also experiences troubles, she and her father travel to America to seek out a better future.

Fate is a funny thing and the two do collide again now living very different lives then what they once had. Ciro at this time is on his way to fight in WWI and Enza busied herself in her work, working as a seamstress at an Opera House, and eventually meeting Enrico, an international singer, and begins to love again...

Will love win out or will it be war? And what of Ciro and Enza, who had found each other a second time against all odds... against space and time.. was it ever meant to be?

As if I did not already love Adriana's beautiful writing, she comes up with this breathtaking Historical Fiction novel that made my heart leap from the very first time I seen it! Cover, title, synopsis, all three captivated me and made me want to drop everything and read it right away.

As always Adriana writes characters so delightfully detailed and three-dimensional that I feel as though I would know them anywhere. Family also seems to play a large theme throughout Adriana's writing, something I bask in - the warmth the commitment, and it is shown to run deep in Ciro and Enzo as well.

Written in alternating chapters, as the reader we are able to enjoy seeing the story unfold from both Ciro and Enzo's world. I followed the story line closely feeling as though I too was hanging around the corner watching what was about to unfold. The fact that a part of this book lands in Minnesota, of course, just makes me happy!

As Adriana tends to do, this story is inspired by a true story, and in this case it is molded from Adriana's own grandparents who grew up in the Alps, but met in the United States after they emigrated.

My final thoughts: I have read and enjoyed many of Adriana's books and this one is no exception, in fact I think this one rates as one of my favorites of her ten books. If you start this book, you are not going to want to put it down. Consider yourself warned and allow yourself a good afternoon or evening to really sink deeply into this powerful story that will cause your heart to swell and your mind to explore the possibilities... This is a book I will read again.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


54 of 63 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Enough with THE MOUNTAIN Already!!, December 29, 2012
This review is from: The Shoemaker's Wife: A Novel (Paperback)
I love multi-generational, multi-family sagas, especially ones that involve immigrants to the US. I have read and enjoyed several other Trigiani books...I have heard her speak at a book festival in NYC. This book, however, made me break a cardinal rule of my reading habits...I DID NOT FINISH IT! even though I had already read about 300 pages. I just couldn't go on! shame on Ms. Trigiani on taking what should have been a meaningful historical fiction on the immigration of Italian Americans and their establishment of communities across the US and turning it into a boring, trite, repetitively (and unnecessarily) descriptive, weak-charactered and TOTALLY predictable ROMANCE NOVEL ala Danielle Steele. I have learned one important thing,though...we readers have to be MUCH MORE discriminating about putting stock in book-jacket author recommendations... shame on Kathryn Stockett for saying that this book was "utterly splendid" that is,if she really did...maybe this quote was somehow taken out of context.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


44 of 51 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Nice words don't make a nice book, December 29, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I love early 20th century stories. It’s a time when mysteries still abound. The world holds such promise. The bustling city, the war, the pursuit of the American dream, are all promising ideas. This book, about a love that just can’t pull itself together, had promise.

The author, clearly, did her research before writing this book; and she put every tidbit of research into the novel. It was very descriptive, even when a description was not necessary. There were so many wasted words. There were ideas, and characters, and actions that did not move the story forward or enrich the act of reading in any way. I felt that, had the author trimmed the fat, the story may have been tolerable. Tolerable, not good.

“Tolerable” because, frankly speaking, this is a poorly written book. I tried to find a way to excuse the writing. “Maybe this is her first novel,” I told myself. I could definitely excuse a little bad writing if it was her first novel. Nope. It’s her 10th. She should know better.

Aside from the unnecessary descriptive language, Trigiani is bold enough to break Cardinal Writing Rule # 1: Show don’t tell. Now, I’m all about rebels and rule breakers, but it didn’t work in this case. Written in the 3rd person omniscient (is that ever a good idea?), Trigiani tells the reader what the characters are thinking and feeling. The dialogue is often used as an “info dump”, and the characters never show their emotions through their actions. The result: two-dimensional characters buried under a mountain of useless words. I was so unconvinced of the connection between the two lead characters, Enza and Ciro, that it was terribly anti-climactic when they finally decided to give their relationship a chance.

The bottom line is, there is so much wrong with this book at its core, that I could end up writing a five page review. However, I will attempt to end on a positive note, as always.

A teacher once told me that some stories are better realized as novels, while others make better scripts or plays. Perhaps, Adriana Trigiani should have written this as a script. I could visualize the story playing out as a Hallmark mini-series, and I probably would watch it. If you enjoy the immigrant experience, and long-winded passages, you might just like this book. I felt so bad about having to write such a negative review (but, hey, I’ve got to be honest) that I was tempted to read something else written by the author in an effort to vindicate her. Sadly, I just couldn’t stand the idea of putting myself through that. The fact that this is her 10th book, clearly, indicates that there are some loyal readers out there.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


32 of 37 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Life is not about what you get, but what is taken from you. It's in the things we lose that we discover what we most treasure.", March 23, 2012
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I enjoyed this novel about Italian immigrants and their lives in northern Italy as well as in America in the early 1900s. Although it is a love story of sorts, it's also a powerful testimony about the strength of the human spirit and the importance of family.

Enza and Ciro meet on a moonlit night in the cemetery of Sant'Antonio da Padova in Schilpario, Italy when they are just teenagers. Though they go their separate ways and carve out new lives for themselves in America, they never quite leave behind their beautiful homeland and the lessons learned there.

The writing is eloquent -- the descriptions so vivid that the reader can see the beauty, taste the food, and appreciate the experiences of the characters. I recommend it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved this Saga, August 17, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Plenty of other reviewers go into great depth about what they've liked or not liked about this book. I'm going to try to keep this short and sweet.

I loved this book, even though it was long, and covered a greater span of time than I'm usually interested in. I didn't have any problems with the relationship between the central characters, because, coming from a family of immigrants myself, their 'love' seemed quite real to me. It wasn't written with the high drama or purple prose that traditional romances often utilize, but it was real, with ups and downs, and plenty of boring life stuff mixed in.

And I, personally, enjoyed all of the detailed descriptions of places, food, and fabrics. I could imagine myself working at the Met or walking down the street in Little Italy!

In fact I found myself highlighting passage after passage of this novel, which is something I rarely do. There are so many wonderful phrases or perfect descriptions that I want to be able to go back and read again.

I highly recommend this book when you have the time to appreciate it, and are in the mood for a beautiful, slowly paced story to savor.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Trigiani takes her writing to a whole new level with this novel., June 9, 2012
By 
Enza is the oldest child in a large Italian family and willingly shoulders a lot of responsibility. After his father's death, Ciro's mother leaves him and his brother at a convent when she could no longer cope. When one of Enza's younger siblings passes away, Ciro comes to dig the grave and the two meet. That meeting stays in both their hearts.

Enza and her father immigrate to America to earn money to build a house for their family. Ciro is forced out of the convent when he witnesses an assignation between a priest and a parishioner. Since they both end up around New York, they have a few chance encounters. It seems they were destined to be together but something is keeping them apart.

Adriana Trigiani is one of my favorite authors so I was really excited to see that she has a new book out and I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. THE SHOEMAKER'S WIFE is unlike any book she's written before. It takes readers from the Italian Alps in 1905 to New York and the Metropolitan Opera ten years later and finally to Minnesota. The book is full of rich descriptions so it's easy to picture the world Enza and Ciro inhabit.

The characters on the pages come to life in Trigiani's capable hands. Enza is a strong, determined young woman who puts her family first and works hard for them. She's loyal and makes friends for life. She's a force to be reckoned with when she makes up her mind. Ciro is hard working too, but he plays hard as well. Handsome and charming, he's a ladies man, but he dreams of a bright future and is willing to make sacrifices.

I love a good immigrant story and was thrilled when I discovered this is a fictionalized version of Trigiani's own grandparents' lives. I appreciated Enza's and Ciro's perseverance and loved that they both came to consider themselves American. Their story made me have a greater appreciation of my own grandparents bravery and hard work when they immigrated to this country.

With its beautiful writing, lush descriptions, historical details, wonderful characters, and love story, THE SHOEMAKER'S WIFE has something to please every reader. It made me smile and cry - it's a book you don't want to miss.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2304 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

The Shoemaker's Wife: A Novel
The Shoemaker's Wife: A Novel by Adriana Trigiani (Paperback - August 21, 2012)
$15.99 $10.50
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Search these reviews only
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.