Customer Reviews for

The Shoemaker's Wife

Average Rating 4.5
( 482 )
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(270)

4 Star

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(50)

2 Star

(21)

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(13)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

41 out of 54 people found this review helpful.

An Epic Tale of a Forgotten Era

Adriana Trigiani has more than proven herself as an outstanding author & storyteller, however with The Shoemaker's Wife, she has brought home to us an important era in history that has been almost completely forgotten. Adriana's novel reminds us of the true character of...
Adriana Trigiani has more than proven herself as an outstanding author & storyteller, however with The Shoemaker's Wife, she has brought home to us an important era in history that has been almost completely forgotten. Adriana's novel reminds us of the true character of people who immigrated to America from Europe during the mass migration of early 1900s. This novel parallels the lives of 2 people, Ciro & Enza, who were born just miles apart in the Italian Alps, and met only once during a tragic time in Enza's life. It was a lasting impression on both, however, both were forced by circumstances to leave for America, neither expected to see each other again.

As an Italian American who had a grandmother, grandfather & many great-aunts and uncles who immigrated to the United States during that time, I could see each of the women in Enza, the heroine in The Shoemakers wife. Enza is a woman who, because she is the oldest child, takes on responsibilities many of us today cannot relate to. Coming to America with her father while still in her mid-teens was the only option she had to secure the financial stability of the family.

I loved everything about Ciro. He is light-hearted, kind and lovable throughout the novel. In the early stages of his life, Ciro & his brother Eduardo are brought to the convent by their mother after their father was killed in a mining accident America. Because of health and financial issues, their mother could no longer care for them. The first day at the convent, Ciro found a way to charm the nuns, and makes a potentially bad situation a good experience. The relationship between the brothers is very touching, with Eduardo, the serious brother, feeling responsible for his younger brother. Both of their lives changed again by something Ciro accidentally witnesses, after doing his duties at the church. He is sent to America to live with a relative of one of the nuns, where he learned to craft of making shoes, while his brother was sent to become a priest.

The novel takes you through Italy, New York, New Jersey, and Minnesota, and back to Italy one more time. There are many great relationships that developed throughout the novel. One of my favorites was the deep lifelong friendship between Enza & Laura, a young Irish-American Enza meets at the factory. Like Enza, Laura is a highly talented seamstress. Through both of their talents and Enza's tenacious personality, they find jobs working on costumes for opera singer Caruso. During their time with Caruso, they learn of the better things in life. Romance comes to Enza during these years, and finding Ciro once more keeps you wondering what will happen next.

What I enjoyed about the book was that I not only related to many of the characters, but it clearly brought out the pride and precision in everything the people of that era did, from working to how they lived in their homes. These immigrants came to America with skills and talents. Their work ethic was beyond normal expectations. Plus they had a love for their culture, and respect for the cultures of those from other countries. They loved their families, and knew that whatever they did would affect generations that followed them. Many assimilated into the culture of the new world (especially during World War 1, when many of the male immigrants felt it was their duty to serve), and developed friendships with other immigrants from various nations as well as Americans. This was the generation,

posted by Bavaro on April 15, 2012

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Most Helpful Critical Review

3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

Childish

Childish with no depth at all

posted by Anonymous on December 26, 2013

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  • Posted November 19, 2012

    AN ENJOYABLE READ.

    Halcyon views of village life in Alpine Italy; reflections of a vibrant metropolitan New York City, circa 1915–1920; warm and insightful glimpses into the early 20th century European immigrant experience; and tantalizing, behind-the-scenes, peeks at the New York Metropolitan Opera of Enrico Caruso and Geraldine Farrar; combine to help make, ‘The Shoemaker’s Wife,’ by Adriana Trigiani a delightful read.

    Recommendation: An excellent book club read.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 23, 2013

    A Bit Too Much

    I always look forward to books by Adriana Trigiani and anticipated I would enjoy this one also. However the heroine, Enza, and her love, Ciro,seem to be to be living the from one disaster to another with occasional bright moments. Trigiani does a great job at describing the tale of life of these two from the teen years in Italy through their eventual marriage but I reached a point where I wondered if this saga would ever end.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 6, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Don┬┐t get me wrong, I love everything I have read by Adriana Tri

    Don’t get me wrong, I love everything I have read by Adriana Trigiani.  Her books are great, lighter reads.  But The Shoemaker’s Wife was a little underwhelming for me.




    The Shoemaker’s Wife by Adriana Trigiani is a story about Ciro and Eduardo, who are sent to live in a convent in Italy when their father dies and their mother is unable to deal emotionally.  Ciro grows up to be a shoemaker, while Eduardo becomes a priest.




    Through many connections, Ciro meets Enza, a young girl in the same area of Italy, who becomes the love of his life. . . eventually.  (But Trigiani tells you it will happen in the beginning so that’s not a spoiler!).  They get jobs, move somewhere far away, live their lives, blah blah blah.




    I really really wanted to like this novel.  I had heard such great things and had been recommended to read it by many people with good fictional sense.




    But this book just was not my thing.  It was way too much love story for my taste.  I’m not a sappy, love story kind of girl.  I can take some romance as long as the main storyline is pretty strong, but the main storyline here was a romantic one.  I also thought it should have ended three chapters earlier.




    If you enjoy a good fictional book with a mainly romantic plot, this book is for you!  If not, check out her other books!  You might enjoy them!




    What about you?  Romance fan or not?




    Thanks for reading,




    Rebecca

    2 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2014

    Disappointed

    I was looking for a new book, aand this novel kept getting great reviews. I purchased it and was I disappointed. It did not live up to the hype. The details in the book are over whelming,so much so I would call it pedantic. The flow of the storytelling is jarringly disjointed. The character development is poor, Ciro has some deoth but Enza is sadly lacking. As well the character if Laura could have provided more nuance to the story, the social role if women and its progress, if her role had been better developed. It is the typical immigrant tale with a little romantic destiny sprinked on top. I give it 3 stars and only because i did finish it, though the author was in a bigger rush to finish it than I was.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 24, 2013

    Well maybe 3.5

    It was a nice story but not compelling.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 10, 2013

    disappointing

    I was intrigued, knowing this was the story of Trigiani's grandparents and how they met first in Italy and then again in the US by happenstance (or fate) after they arrived in this country--and recommended the book to my reading group. The events/coincidences throughout the book, in relationships, meetings, availability of work, etc. became unbelievable--everyone seemed to be in the right place at the right time. I did love the descriptions of Italy and of the Metropolitan Opera, etc., but not enough to recommend this book.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 30, 2013

    The basic story was interesting, but the book was much too long.

    The basic story was interesting, but the book was much too long. It became tedious and for the last hundred pages, I was just wanting it
     to end. Too many pages were devoted to detailed descriptions that did nothing to further the plot and the author was often repetitious.
    Ciro' self-pity and doom-and-gloom attitude became tiresome...and was a complete turnaround from the teenage Ciro we first met.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 22, 2012

    There was so much I liked about this book, but felt it was lacki

    There was so much I liked about this book, but felt it was lacking in character development. We hardly had a chance to get to know Ciro and Enza as a couple. They had moments here and there but that's it. Wasn't the book supposed to be based upon their relationship? I personally preferred the beginning of the book when the characters were on the Italian Alps. I enjoyed learning about village life and the people during that time. I was sad that the characters moved to America so early in the story.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2012

    Enjoyable book.

    Read this book for our Book Club. I wasn't sure I was going to like it but as I read more, I found out I wanted to see it through to the end. Enjoyed it more than I thought.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 14, 2012

    Not as good as I was expecting

    The first few chapters had me intrigued. I enjoyed the setting in the Italian Alps, and the description of Enza's family. However, about half way through,the story fell flat. There are still certain questions that I have that were never answered. It is a good read, but not great.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2014

    Triumph of Human Spirit Story

    The Shoemaker's Wife was truly an inspirational story spanning generations and a real test of the human spirit and its ability to survive and dream. I found it a bit slow in the beginner but I stuck with it and thoroughly enjoyed it. I found myself rooting for certain characters throughout the book as they overcame hardships in life which would have crushed others. Their positive spirit and hard work ethic was an inspiration. Being Italian and Catholic I was drawn to the setting, language and characters . I was sorry to see that the Catholic Church and the priests could be indicted for their hypocrisy and was warmed by the nun's caring and compassion towards the children.Although I had read one other book by Trigiani I think I would like to read her Valentina series after reading this book.This would lend itself to a book club discussion however I had to use my hundred page rule before I really got into this book.It also spoke of the strength of the immigrants who came to this country looking for a better life but realizing they had to learn the language, be willing to work hard and not rely on a government to take care of them. It also makes you want to believe in setting goals for yourself and achieving your dreams.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2014

    For the Romantic

    Apart from Enza, characterization is shallow Best point, at least this overly romanticized novel is not full of sex and bad language, and is an easy read

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2014

    Great book

    Very much enjoyed this book and would recommend it

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 2013

    blurb promised too much is just one step above a romantic

    Quickie. Just the usual genre three generation family and not a saga and a little shakey on eras. A cozy read for those who think a hard cover book is more couth.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2013

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2013

    It was "ok"

    I was recovering from an injury and it was an easy diversion...wanted to like it more.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2013

    Pretty good

    Both the title and the cover art are misleading, but don't judge a book by it's cover, as they say. A good, epic tale.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2012

    Predictable

    Too much detail that becomes tedious.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 29, 2012

    The shoemakers wife

    Not great but ok.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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