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77 of 82 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars IN-STEP WITH VERY VALENTINE
Welcome to Angelini Shoes since 1903 in Greenwich Village, N.Y. Side by side two generations create custom made wedding shoes - and memories. Val Roncalli and Gram Angelini live and work together with great success! Tradition,
ambition, rendition, audition are all part of this wonderful novel by Adriana Trigiani. To say it's an entertaining
voyage through...
Published on November 13, 2008 by Rosalie Ciardullo

versus
22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining read but obviously the first in a series...
As others have stated, this is a book FULL of details shoes, clothes, food, etc. It was done with such fluidity and feeling that I actually didn't mind the detailed descriptions at all.
About two thirds through the book it became apparent that there were going to be more in the series as Trigiani seemed to "forget" about characters that had played such a prominent...
Published on March 22, 2009 by D. Weathers


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77 of 82 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars IN-STEP WITH VERY VALENTINE, November 13, 2008
This review is from: Very Valentine (Hardcover)
Welcome to Angelini Shoes since 1903 in Greenwich Village, N.Y. Side by side two generations create custom made wedding shoes - and memories. Val Roncalli and Gram Angelini live and work together with great success! Tradition,
ambition, rendition, audition are all part of this wonderful novel by Adriana Trigiani. To say it's an entertaining
voyage through the lives of the Angelini's and the Roncalli's would be an understatement! The characters are
vividly brought to life and become a part of the reader's. Hilarity, romance - not just Val's but 80 year old Gram's as well - creativity, devotion, fortitude, all
describe the workings of this story. If you love Italian - people, food, places - you'll love this novel. Valentine takes us along on her trip to the Isle of Capri in all it's splendor even though she'd rather be savoring it with her lover the chef. While there and in Arezzo she meets and learns from talented old world
craftsmen who instantly bond with her. She learns much and takes it to Bergdorf Goodman in Manhattan for
the grand prize. Hopefully I've piqued your interest and you'll find it hard to wait to read this wonderful first
book in the new trilogy. I loved it from beginning to end which came too quickly.
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36 of 40 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Good Valentine!, December 30, 2008
By 
This review is from: Very Valentine (Hardcover)
Very Valentine - oh, how I loved this book. The author, Adriana Trigiani, captured my attention in the first few pages. But she referenced Jane Austin; I knew I was going to love this book!
This is my first Adriana Trigiani novel, and I am hooked. Trigiani has the ability to describe the surroundings, the characters, the food, the clothing, and most importantly, the SHOES so that I see them all vividly. These people, her family and friends, are not mysteries to me - I know them, they are my family. They are crazy, cruel, funny, scared, lustful, hormonal, hopeless, and hopeful.
I want to discover my characters in books the way I discover my friend's character - through stories of failures and triumphs, building their personality. I don't want to read that my heroine struggles with body image (as we all do), I want to read about her laughing at herself wearing an impossible wedding dress, and then I want to read about her feeling so fabulous in an cocktail dress that she makes an impromptu phone call to a man who may or may not be her future lover. I want to read about making and eating food as if it were a sexual experience. I want my heroine to love food, not be afraid of it. I am not a fashionista, but I enjoy finding out about a woman by the shoes she wears, and discovering who a man is by the tie he wears (or doesn't wear).
Don't think this book is only character driven; it has an inspiring plot. The book centers on Valentine, the so-called "funny one" of a large Italian family. She lives in Greenwich Village with her Grandmother above the family shoe shop. This is no ordinary shoe shop - they make only 3,000 shoes a year. Each specially ordered and designed for brides, socialites, designers etc... They make a happy living, but as Valentine comes to find out - they do not make a profitable living. Grandma is on the verge of losing the building (their home and shop) to the bank. Valentine's brother, Alfred, (whom I came to call "The Evil Developer") has already found a buyer for the property, and is encouraging Grandma to retire, for her "own good" - devil may care about our Valentine!
Valentine struggles to find her inner strength, her true self and love along the way. She wants it all; career, family, love and success.... But is it possible to combine everything? Can you only be true to yourself by sacrificing the people you love the most? Is it fair to ask others to give up what they love to fulfill your dream?
I knew where I wanted the plot to go - I wanted the happy ending. But Trigiani has a different outcome planned for her Valentine. And I must admit, that at the end of the book, I am happy for the not so neat and tidy ending.... I am hoping it means book two, and possibly three.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining read but obviously the first in a series..., March 22, 2009
This review is from: Very Valentine (Hardcover)
As others have stated, this is a book FULL of details shoes, clothes, food, etc. It was done with such fluidity and feeling that I actually didn't mind the detailed descriptions at all.
About two thirds through the book it became apparent that there were going to be more in the series as Trigiani seemed to "forget" about characters that had played such a prominent roll earlier in the story. Almost as if she was on a deadline and just needed to finish the main story regardless of the characters she had developed throughout. I suppose the best summary of this book is that it is about a woman's quest for finding her purpose...not so much about finding her match! With a title like Valentine and being released on Valentine's Day, you would have thought otherwise.
Overall a good read, but I won't purchase the remaining series - I'll borrow them!
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My new favorite Adriana Trigiani read!, February 13, 2009
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This review is from: Very Valentine (Hardcover)
Absolutely LOVED this book. I have read all of her books and up until Very Valentine, my favorite of hers had been Lucia, Lucia. This is modern and hip. I laughed, cried and felt frustrated for Valentine at times. What young woman CAN'T identify with her? I so enjoyed this book and all the characters...some of them remind me of my own family! I love how she always describes an Italian American family. Being one myself, i truly enjoy reading her novels !Can't wait to read more on this family.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars deep character study, January 5, 2010
This review is from: Very Valentine: A Novel (Paperback)
In Manhattan's Greenwich Village, octogenarian Teodora Angelini faces the dismal fact that her family business since 1903, Angelini Shoe Company, is going bankrupt. Her thirtyish granddaughter Valentine Roncalli, having failed in a relationship and as a teacher, asks Gram to teach her how to design quality wedding shoes while she works out a financial plan to save the business as the mortgage overwhelms the profits.

On the other hand Valentine's brother, Alfred, wants Gram to retire to a home and his to an apartment so that he can sell the building for millions. Meanwhile Chef Roman Falconi wants Valentine so when she and her Gram go to Italy to buy supplies, they plan to rendezvous on Capri. However, she is confused re her personal life after Valentine meets Gianluca, the son of Gram's lover and secret fiancé, finding she is attracted to him.

Although this is more Valentine's tale, this is a deep character study that has many messages but mostly focuses on what to do with a family business that provided for a wonderful lifestyle yet whose time seems to have past as specialty brick stores are being superseded by the Net. Valentine and Alfred have opposing opinions as he wants to end the drain and make an instant profit by selling the edifice while she feels a strong need to save the shoe business. Fans will appreciate this strong tale as Adriana Trigiani does not pass judgment, leaving that to the reader, as tradition and letting go have their respective time and place.

Harriet Klausner
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Valentine is a Valentine, April 21, 2009
This review is from: Very Valentine (Hardcover)
Typically I am not fond of these types of books- However I was hooked and could not put the book down. Not in a suspenseful kind of way but I felt as though I was privileged to be watching the story unfold. Trigiani is lyrical and poetic, this was my first read of hers and I am definitely interested reading what comes next in the Very Valentine trilogy.

It was a smart, funny, quicker paced, read than most of her counterparts in the industry. Her descriptive capabilities are so vivid, it is like she is creating a rich tapestry in front of your eyes.

I found myself immersed and loving it!

Highly recommend
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Valentine Gift for all who read it!, February 28, 2009
This review is from: Very Valentine (Hardcover)
There are so many wonderful things about VERY VALENTINE by Adriana Trigiani but the best is that it is the first book of a trilogy so there will more of these delightful characters and the wonderful story to look forward to. New York Times bestselling author Adriana Trigiani who brought readers books like BIG STONE GAP and LUCIA, LUCIA has combined all the narrative elements so expertly once again that VERY VALENTINE results in what will surely become her fans' newest favorite novel.

Set partially in New York's Greenwich Village, home to the Angelini Shoe Company-"Since 1903", and across the sea to Tuscany and Capri where secrets of more than one kind are revealed, Valentine Roncalli is a thirty-three year old former teacher who has become an apprentice shoemaker. Quite a switch one might say until they realize that Valentine lives with her grandmother, Teodora Angelini, whose family has created one-of-a-kind, custom made wedding shoes since the early 1900's. Valentine has inherited the talent, enthusiasm, and dedication the family business needs in order to carry on its rich tradition. Unfortunately, the tradition may be rich, but the company is struggling. Grandmother Teodora and Angelini Shoes are on the verge of bankruptcy due to improper handling of financial matters, and Valentine's business loving, somewhat merciless brother is trying to get his grandmother to sell the property which would mean the end of Angelini Shoes.

Valentine fiercely opposes selling the business and when an opportunity to enter a design challenge that could save their company comes along, she attacks it head on. Designing THE shoe for the competition becomes a priority to Valentine. Part of the trip to Italy with her grandmother is to get materials and ideas for the show to win the competition. This however is only one part of this expansive, delightful family saga and love story.

The interaction and family drama within Valentine's family range from a beloved father who is diagnosed with a life-threatening illness to the picky relationships between brothers, sisters, parents, and in-laws. But what would this story be without the love element? Yes, Valentine tries to balance a deepening relationship with an amazingly talented Italian chef, Roman Falconi, with her work and her family obligations. Theirs is a slowly developing relationship that begins in a very unusual way which seems to be a common thread in the way things go between Valentine and Roman. Just when things are going well with the two of them, one or the other allows their dedication to their work, which is probably their real passion, to take over.

Roman is not the only love interest in the story for Valentine. As she travels with her grandmother to Italy, Valentine is not only thrilled by the exquisite trims and leathers they are there to purchase for the shoe company. A man also enters who could replace Roman in Valentine's heart, or could he? And what is the secret that is uncovered while Valentine and Tiadora are on this trip? The theme of love and loss plays an important role throughout the story and effects more than just one character. Expect the unexpected and even then you will still be left wanting more and having to wait for more of it in the next book.

The character driven plot is exciting, humorous, heart wrenching and all the things one has come to love in the author's novels in the past. Although centered on Valentine, every character plays an important role as you come to care about each and every one of them. VERY VALENTINE will not disappoint Andriana Trigiani's legions of fans. Her amazingly descriptive writing is beautifully composed and the reader feels literally IN the physical settings as they are depicted. Trigiani writes about the characteristics of Angelini Shoe company's work by saying "our commitment to beauty and quality--every stitch, lace, and binding made by hand and perfected with the skill that can only come from practice, technique, experience, and a devotion to detail" which I found to actually be a true description of Adriana Trigiani's skillful writing. The reader will see the shoes, the city, the people, the country throughout the story due to the exceptional quality of the author's writing.

With more to come in the next installment of the Very Valentine saga, readers will eagerly await its release. This book is en excellent book club read and one I highly recommend to everyone....a totally joyous, funny, loving, and compassionate story with a strong female lead character that the reader will admire and believe in. A story to enjoy, a book to treasure!
Submitted originally to BOOKIN' WITH BINGO by K. H. (Bingo), Feb. 2009
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I learned how to make expensive shoes, April 4, 2009
By 
J. Jamison (New Albany, IN USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Very Valentine (Hardcover)
I have read all of Adriana Trigiani's books, but sometimes I grow weary when she gets into too much detail about her subject. The "Big Stone Gap" series are the exception. This book concerns Valentine and her family's shoe company-- a company that makes very expensive wedding shoes in New York. The story is good, but there are parts that drag when she describes how to make a good shoe. I skipped some of the pages when she got into details no one but a shoemaker would care about. It's still a four star book, because it is long enough that you get a lot of reading even by skipping the boring parts.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great new start in another trilogy!, November 26, 2009
This review is from: Very Valentine (Hardcover)
Adriana Trigiani has done it again! I didn't think anything could get better than Big Stone Gap, but we have a new set of characters, scenes and she has outdone herself!

I don't think I would have wanted to read about shoemaking from anyone else. She does it such a way it just grabs you and pulls you in, not letting go any time soon!

I see there are a TON of other reviews, so I won't go into the story, best saved for the reader anyway! However, it will make you laugh so hard some times you can't quit. Clickety-Click, otherwise known as Pamela, Valentine's sister-in-law, the whole thing with her and her nickname, too funny! Valentine learns alot about herself during her visit to Italy, as well as her family, but her romance with Roman really sets the stage.

I know the next part is about to come out, and I can't wait to read it!!!! Bravo!! Or should I say Brava Valentine??
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Just OK, June 7, 2009
By 
Tami C. (NC, United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Very Valentine (Hardcover)
This book was ok in general. It was extremely difficult to get through because of the very heavy-handed descriptions that went on for multiple pages at some points. Many times, I had to force myself to continue reading. Once I was through the book, however, I did like the story. I didn't love it, but I don't regret reading it--although I might have loved it if it had it been at least 100 pages less (cutting out the unnecessary, intricate details). I would never reread this book.

My book club had picked this book. We have 10-15 members depending on the night. The consensus in the club said the same thing-the book was ok, too many details making it cumbersome to read.

I have never read any other books by this author so I don't know if this is her typical style of writing or if it is unique to this book. If it is her typical style, I wouldn't read another book by her. However, if I learn that she has other books that aren't so tedious I would consider giving her 1 more try.
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Very Valentine: A Novel
Very Valentine: A Novel by Adriana Trigiani (Paperback - January 5, 2010)
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