Synopsis (Provided by Editor)
Meet the Roncalli and Angelini families, a vibrant cast of colorful characters who navigate tricky family dynamics with hilarity and brio, from magical Manhattan to the picturesque hills of bella Italia. Very Valentine is the first novel in a trilogy and is sure to be the new favorite of Trigiani's millions of fans around the world.
In this luscious, contemporary family saga, the Angelini Shoe Company, makers of exquisite wedding shoes since 1903, is one of the last family-owned businesses in Greenwich Village. The company is on the verge of financial collapse. It falls to thirty-three-year-old Valentine Roncalli, the talented and determined apprentice to her grandmother, the master artisan Teodora Angelini, to bring the family's old-world craftsmanship into the twenty-first century and save the company from ruin.
While juggling a budding romance with dashing chef Roman Falconi, her duty to her family, and a design challenge presented by a prestigious department store, Valentine returns to Italy with her grandmother to learn new techniques and seek one-of-a-kind materials for building a pair of glorious shoes to beat their rivals. There, in Tuscany, Naples, and on the Isle of Capri, a family secret is revealed as Valentine discovers her artistic voice and much more, turning her life and the family business upside down in ways she never expected. Very Valentine is a sumptuous treat, a journey of dreams fulfilled, a celebration of love and loss filled with Trigiani's trademark heart and humor.
This was the first book I have read by Adriana Trigiani which happens to be a first in a new trilogy and was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. It moved along at a good pace and was humourous and heart warming.
Adriana Trigiani captured my attention in the first few pages and knew when I laughed on the first page that this was going to be a good one. Her descriptions are so vivid that I could actually see everything she was talking about be it the one-of-a-kind wedding shoes, the apartment and shoe shop in Greenwich Village, Tuscany, Naples or on the beautiful Isle of Capri. She made me want to go to those places and soak in the culture and beauty of those locations.
I loved the complex characters we were introduced to especially Valentine and her grandmother, Teodora. The whole Italian-American family is a hoot and has very real problems be it money or not getting along with certain members (like clickety clack). I enjoyed getting to know her family. I found the book was not only character driven but also had a very interesting plot. Valentine lives with Teodora above the shoe shop and they make custom wedding shoes (about 3,000/year) and make enough to get by but as we learn, not enough to be able to keep operating. Valentine proves that she is a very intelligent business woman and works hard to come up with ideas and plans on how to turn the shop into a profitable venture.
Valentine goes on a personal discovery and finds her true self and her inner strength along the way. In the midst of juggling her job, she also finds love but realizes in the end that he is just not “the one”. Her family and friends go through many ups and downs and it was refreshing to read something that wasn’t all “happily ever after”. It felt real and I enjoyed how Adriana Trigiani ended the book as you get the feeling that there is just so much more to come for Valentine and that she is on the right track. It leaves it wide open for a sequel and we would like to see Valentine find love and make the shoe company successful.
I did find that some of the descriptions were a bit drawn out in places and skipped over a couple of part which I found tedious. All in all, I really enjoyed the book and would recommend you give it a read and I now plan to read more books by Adriana Trigiani.
Rating 4 out of 5