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Trigiani (The Shoemaker's Wife) explores the delicate balance (and unbalance) between work, family, and love. Valentine Roncalli, a shoemaker at her family's business, Angelini Shoe Company, is going to marry her tanner, Gianluca Vechiarelli. Gianluca wants to return to his native Italy; Valentine is committed to keeping the family concern running in Greenwich Village. Further complicating things is a difficult moment between Valentine and an old friend, which threatens the marriage. The way the couple juggle their jobs and their complicated families with understanding, sympathy, and love is often hilarious, in spite of the frustration it brings to both of them. A twist near the end of the book is not unexpected, but tense shifts get a little dizzying and it's easy to get ahead of the story. The pages detailing how Valentine practices her craft of shoemaking are superb. Trigiani's ability to bring the large, warm, enveloping-if somewhat dysfunctional-family to life will keep any reader engrossed and entertained. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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Trigiani's latest (after The Shoemaker's Wife) introduces readers to Val Roncalli, shoemaker and member of a boisterously loud Italian American family that always keeps things interesting. Fiercely independent and set in her ways, Val shocks everyone on Christmas Eve, during a routine family fight, when she announces that Gianluca Vechiarelli, a tanner, has proposed to her. More shocking is that Val has accepted. The two are married quickly, plunging Val into a lifestyle so alien she nearly demands a divorce. Slowly, she comes to accept her new life and the meaning of love and marriage. VERDICT Val's eccentric family keeps the book going at a quick pace, distracting readers from Val's insecure baby steps toward marital bliss. Recommended for all Trigiani fans and those who've enjoyed a good cookie table (an Italian tradition commonly seen at weddings in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia). [See Prepub Alert, 6/3/13.]-Mara Dabrishus, Ursuline Coll. Lib., Pepper Pike, OH (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
The final novel in Trigiani's Valentine trilogy (Very Valentine, 2009; Brava, Valentine, 2010) finds shoemaker Valentine Roncalli planning her wedding to Gianluca Vechiarelli, a handsome Italian nearly 20 years her senior and the son of her grandmother's new husband. As Gianluca adjusts to life amid the boisterous, extended Roncalli clan, the fiercely independent Valentine, an ambitious and talented shoe designer, struggles to balance work and home life, with her marriage often taking a backseat to her career. Cultural differences between the pair widen as her plans to open a factory as she becomes a first-time mother clash with his vision for the couple's future, which includes a home in Tuscany. Though the conflict is plausible, it comes across as vaguely overplotted. For those who have followed Valentine's ups and downs from the start, Trigiani's send-off is bound to feel bittersweet in more ways than one. For readers new to the series, missing the occasional insider reference has its advantages they still have two books ahead of them and the chance to meet Valentine where she began.--Wetli, Patty Copyright 2010 Booklist