The Shoemaker's Wife

The Shoemaker's Wife

4.3 510
by Adriana Trigiani

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The fateful first meeting of Enza and Ciro takes place amid the haunting majesty of the Italian Alps at the turn of the last century. Still teenagers, they are separated when Ciro is banished from his village and sent to hide in New York's Little Italy, apprenticed to a shoemaker, leaving a bereft Enza behind. But when her own family faces disaster, she, too, is

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The fateful first meeting of Enza and Ciro takes place amid the haunting majesty of the Italian Alps at the turn of the last century. Still teenagers, they are separated when Ciro is banished from his village and sent to hide in New York's Little Italy, apprenticed to a shoemaker, leaving a bereft Enza behind. But when her own family faces disaster, she, too, is forced to emigrate to America. Though destiny will reunite the star-crossed lovers, it will, just as abruptly, separate them once again—sending Ciro off to serve in World War I, while Enza is drawn into the glamorous world of the opera . . . and into the life of the international singing sensation Enrico Caruso. Still, Enza and Ciro have been touched by fate—and, ultimately, the power of their love will change their lives forever.

A riveting historical epic of love and family, war and loss, risk and destiny, inspired by the author's own family history, The Shoemaker's Wife is the novel Adriana Trigiani was born to write.

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Editorial Reviews

Adriana Trigiana's richly layered historical tale of star-crossed lovers spans a continent, several misunderstandings and fateful separations, but resolves in a pleasing, graceful way. Ciro and Enza, the pair at its heart, are young villagers who don't meet until they are both teenagers. Their youthful romance is nipped in the bud when Ciro catches a local priest in something best left unseen. Forced to flee, he leaves for America without telling Enza the reason. Years later, she and her family also emigrate, but settling in Hoboken, she does not know that Ciro, a shoemaker's apprentice in Greenwich Village, is only a river away. They reunite, but fate is still against them: Ciro has volunteered for World War I. What follows next brings the story to an operatic conclusion. Enthralling to read; easy to recommend.

Sessalee Hensley

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
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Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.70(d)


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The Shoemaker's Wife 4.3 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 510 reviews.
Bavaro More than 1 year ago
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,
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a wonderful story, I could smell the air, hear the music , and eat the pasta ! I laugh, I cried, and all the while not wanting it to end. There is nothing better than a book that can take you on an adventure, never having to leave your living room!
simple344 More than 1 year ago
loved the story line, so naturally had to get the this book. It did not disappoint!
mrsinserra More than 1 year ago
After I finished this book, I turned to my husband and said, “I think this is the saddest book I have ever read.” He replied, “Well I did have to keep handing you Kleenex.” It’s true, I cried so much during this book that I gave myself a headache. Ms. Trigiani made the story so moving and so believable that I felt all the emotions that the characters were feeling throughout the story, and even though I cried, this is a good thing. The plot kept me thoroughly engaged the entire time; I could barely put the book down. I wanted to see what would happen next for Ciro and Enza. I can’t really say this book had a happy ending; it was a totally different ending than I would have expected. It is not at all your traditional love story, though it is one overall. The plot has many twists and turns and a bunch of times you just want to yell at Ciro, “Wake up you fool, what are you thinking!” Ms. Trigiani wrote an amazing book about love, friendship, war, immigrants in America, and loss. I am in love. This is one of my favorite books I have read recently. It was moving and powerful. It was sad and happy at the same time. Ms. Trigiani wrote a magnificent piece on the trials and tribulations of Italian Immigrants who came to America in the early 1900’s, one of my favorite topics since I am an IBM (Italian by marriage) and grew up in NYS where the Italian influence is still strong today. Many of the foods Enza talked about made me smile and think of my husband’s Sicilian family and the recipes I was given by them, some on our wedding day, like the “famous” chocolate cinnamon clove cookies that have been in his family for generations, and the ones I was allowed to have once we moved away and I had proven myself an adequate cook, such as cutlets. Reading this book also made me very hungry for food I have either had to learn to make myself, or go without since we moved away, such as gnocchi, though we make ours in red sauce. Oh and I do know how to pronounce gnocchi properly even though I am German, it was part of my unofficial Italian education upon marriage. I highly recommend this book to anyone. There is a tiny bit of sex, but it is not graphic and they are married if that makes a difference. This book gives the reader a view of life for an immigrant that is filled with history, but is not written in a history book style. This book is a love story, but is also filled with much sadness and has many ups and down, emotionally, throughout the story. This is a great book to take on a vacation, but it is not an entirely lighthearted read, it makes you think a bit. Make sure to keep the tissues close by. I received this book as an ARC. I do not get paid to review books; I do so in order to assist you in recognizing books that you might enjoy. Please read more of my reviews on my blog: sarahereads(dot)wordpress(dot)com
imarose More than 1 year ago
Move over great Italian artists and make room for Adriana Trigiani. She has more than proved herself with THE SHOEMAKER'S WIFE. This novel will be a classic for all time and will be enjoyed by generations to come. From what she says this has been in the making for twenty years and aren't we lucky she persevered! Enrico Caruso would love her writing abilities maybe more than her antipasto if he was here among us. I have been following Ms. Trigiani's career for about ten years and while I have loved every one of her novels - and even her cookbook - this book is her best yet. Every page of THE SHOEMAKER'S WIFE held my interest with historical facts, geographical lessons, cultural involvements, etc. but the pulsating passion of love and devotion for family captures the greatness of Ms.Trigiani's writing. While this is a novel we learn about the almost-didn't- happen destiny of the author's grandparents on her mother's side. When you are fortunate enough to feast your eyes on the beautiful cover art it will lead you to a fascinating epic within its pages - one you will savor and not soon forget.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Like, most everyone, I really enjoyed this book. I started reading this book while on airplane--was trying to hold back tears-- i think i scared the lady sitting next to me. Well written story. I appreciated that it was a clean book-- no obscene language or sexual undertones. I cried (alot) and laughed alot---I like reading books that make me feel happy. Will recommend it to all my friends
Read4Joy More than 1 year ago
This book was wonderful, I want to be more like Enza, the heroine. She is strong, compassionate, reliable, and practical. This is a story that had I read it at 20, I would have said it was a good story. Having read it with a little life behind me; it is wonderful. When I reread it, having experienced more will be exquisite. If you are looking for strong characters and a belief in the human spirit I highly recommend this book.
anonymous67 More than 1 year ago
What a sweet surprise! This is an epic tale that engulfs the reader. The characters are well-drawn, and their plights are believable, understandable, and richly described. I wished that the book had concentrated more on Ciro and Enza's adult life as opposed to their childhoods. I thought their experiences and lives in NYC and Minnesota were captivating and that the ending was a bit rushed. Still, it was a beautiful book and I savored every word. I hated to see it end.
Grams1DM More than 1 year ago
AN ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL BOOK!! I wished that this book didn't have to end. I enjoyed all the characters and felt like I knew them. It swept me away into another time and era. I love all of Ms. Trigiani's books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved this book. I enjoy reading about other nationalities and their customs. I have about 30 more pages to go and I hate for it to end but want to come to the conclusion. The characters were wonderful. Laughing and crying at the same time.
Ladylearner More than 1 year ago
Based on the true story of the author's family, this book is beautifully written. It filled with earnest, lively characters with character. These people immigrated to the United States and became a part of America's greatest generation. Their story is romantic and inspiring, and it's real - no storybook ending. It's simply life. The challenges, loss, adventures, and love of these people make it a page-turner in a charming way. I look forward to eventually looking at other books by Mrs. Trigiani.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the best books that I have read in a long time!
pretty-bird More than 1 year ago
Loved this book. The characters seemed so real. The storyline kept you wanting to read more. I felt a connection to the characters as my grandparents migrated to the United States from Italy, as did my father. Beautifully written story. You won't be disappointed. I want to read more of this author's books as she tells a well written story line.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. One the best books i have ever read. I enjoyed all the italian details. I loved how it spaned meny years and how all the characters fully developed. Great read. I highly recomend.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lovely tale...swept me away to another time and different places!
GeeGirl More than 1 year ago
I just finished reading 'Shoemaker's Wife'. It was the type of book that was difficult to put down. The characters were so vivid and alive. During certain passages in the book, I had tears in my eyes; I felt emotionally attached to the characters. I completely enjoyed the book and plan to read more Adriana Trigiani books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A beautiful love story that spans generations. Very relatable to those of us who come have grandparents who were immigrants.
Phyllie More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. Adriana Trigiani takes me back to Italy and I can feel "LaFamilia" love.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What was it really like, this journey to America? Why did our grandparents and great-grandparents leave in the first place? Did they find the streets paved with gold? This fascinating story of two young immigrants from the same valley in northern Italy, destined to find each other and the happiness their love brings in the New World, will keep you up late and riveted as you follow them in their journey. I'm a genealogist, and this one really brought all those ancestors to life for me. Don't miss this one. A real winner.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Childish with no depth at all
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was surprised to read some of the other reviews that didn't praise this book. One reviewer talked about how the two main characters seemed to go from one disaster to another... Well, guess what, for some people that's how life is. I loved the way each of them dealt with their problems and showed us that with enough faith, hour, and hard work anyone can get through problems. The ending was sad in one way, yet even then you could see the same message... That we can get through anything. The book brought tears to my eyes a couple times and I didn't want to put it down, one of the best books I've ever read!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well written historical fiction The Shoemaker's Wife is a very enjoyable novel. The author definitely knows how to grab the reader in right away. Great character development and a great story. Highly recommended!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book from the beginning to end. It held my interest and I couldn't put it down. The wonderful thing for me is that I have been to Bergamo in Italy and visualized the scenes as I was reading. Loved this book and can't wait to read another one by Trigiani.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was so well writen and such a treat to read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this historical fiction. Well written and researched, it is a novel that keeps you thinking about the characters and their lives even after you have finished reading the book I learned so much about immigrants and their struggles. This is a love story for those who appreciate music, fashion, cooking, family and faith.