Customer Reviews for

The Shoemaker's Wife

Average Rating 4.5
( 484 )
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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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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2014

    I was so disappointed. There were two times I almost put this bo

    I was so disappointed. There were two times I almost put this book down and didn't finish it. If you want to read about a womanizer who then decides to settle down for a girl who gives up everything for him, while he gives up little for her, than this book is for you.

    SPOILER ALERT:

    The first is when Ciro comes to Enza right before she gets married to someone else and she stands up her fiance for Ciro. At this point in the story she had only met Ciro 4 times and through the whole story Enza is trying to get Ciro to come to her, but he never makes enough effort to be with her. Instead he sleeps around and chases other women until he goes to war and finally realizes he needs her in his life. Again they've met FOUR TIMES over 6 years. Then Enza gives up her career (dream job) and her best friend to move with Ciro to the northwest. Are you kidding me? While Ciro maintains his best friend who becomes his partner in his dream job. The only one who has any sense during this is her friend Laura who questions whether what Enza is doing is a good idea. Ok I understand this is supposed to be romantic, and it's the early 1900s, but the whole time before this Enza is such a strong sure character who makes sensible, weighted decisions that I was so turned off by how unrealistic things had become, and truly I thought was a disservice to Enza's character. I was so disappointed I almost didn't finish the book.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 29, 2013

    I didnot like this book.

    I was not fund of this novel.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 21, 2014

    Only for the Beach (and then, maybe not there either)

    What a sophomoric 400 pages of storytelling! This book sounded interesting on the surface and so our book club selected it. 100% of us disliked the book. It's shallow, put together with "plot twists" that are so contrived that the story line is like watching a horror movie and yelling "don't go in there!" to the heroine. The writing style is awkward and excessively repetitive. If you're in a hurry, you can skip entire pages without losing a beat.

    This might be a good book for young teens to learn a bit about this period of history and life for immigrants. Otherwise, leave it on the shelf. I am astonished that it received so many good write-ups!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 24, 2014

    Highly Recommend

    The story starts in a small mountain community in Italy.
    I liked the history and the adventures of the characters in the novel.
    It also brings an insight as to the horrible conditions that immigrants
    had to endure crossing the ocean to America in the early 1900's and
    more so once they got here. I could go on and on but I highly enjoyed it and recommend it very much. This is a keeper!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 13, 2013

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    0 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2013

    Just ok

    I enjoyed the overall story but the writer was so repetitive - making her point over and over again for whatever was happening in the story. There are parts of the story which are never adequately explained ( what happened to the boys mother?) and other areas where she takes all the suspense out of the story by giving away what will happen to the characters. wouldn't advise anyone to buy this in hardcover.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 4, 2012

    Ok but not stellar in any way

    Too long & rather bland writing style. Repititious & lacking in depth. An expanded vocabulary would have helped. Could have accomplished entirely in 200ppg or less. Belongs on the 'teen readers' shelf.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 21, 2012

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    0 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

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