Very Valentine (Valentine Trilogy #1)

Very Valentine (Valentine Trilogy #1)

4.0 236
by Adriana Trigiani
     
 

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Sex and the City meets Moonstruck….Sly, sensual, and dripping in style.”
People

 

Poignant, funny, warm, and red hot, Very Valentine is a wonderful treat for Adriana Trigiani fans—a “delightful” (Boston Globe), “romance-soaked novel” (Marie

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Overview

Sex and the City meets Moonstruck….Sly, sensual, and dripping in style.”
People

 

Poignant, funny, warm, and red hot, Very Valentine is a wonderful treat for Adriana Trigiani fans—a “delightful” (Boston Globe), “romance-soaked novel” (Marie Claire) from much adored playwright, screenwriter, documentary filmmaker, and New York Times bestselling author of Lucia, Lucia; Rococo; and Big Stone Gap. The adventures of an extraordinary and unforgettable woman as she attempts to rescue her family’s struggling shoe business and find love at the same time, Very Valentine sweeps the reader from the streets of Manhattan to the picturesque hills of la bella Italia. Already a national bestseller, here is a valentine from the incomparable Trigiani that you can take into your heart.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

This first-in-a-trilogy is a frilly valentine to Manhattan's picturesque West Village, starring a boisterous and charmingly contentious Italian-American family. Valentine Roncalli, adrift after a failed relationship and an aborted teaching career, becomes an apprentice to her 80-year-old grandmother, Teodora Angelini, at the tiny family shoe business. While Valentine struggles to come up with a financial plan-and shoe design-to bring the Old World operation into the 21st century, her brother, Alfred, is pushing Gram to retire and sell her building for $6 million. It's not all business for Valentine, of course: handsome and sophisticated Roman Falconi, owner and chef at a posh restaurant, is vying for her heart. Bestselling Trigiani channels ambition and girl-power, but is surprisingly reserved-and retro-when it comes to romance: "[O]ur relationship has to build slowly and beautifully in order to hold all the joy and misery that lies ahead," thinks Valentine. Still, this genteel and lush tale of soles and souls has loads of charm and will leave readers eager for the sequel. (Feb.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

In Trigiani's (Big Stone Gap; Rococo) launch of a new trilogy, 33-year-old Valentine attempts to save her family's custom shoe business while dealing with family and relationship dramas set against the backdrop of New York City and Italy. If she's going to realize her dream of becoming a master shoemaker, Valentine must come up with a plan to rescue the financially troubled family wedding shoe business and prevent her brother from selling the building (located in Greenwich Village and worth millions) for a quick profit. In addition, Valentine has a new man in her life, sexy restaurateur Roman, who is just as dedicated to his business as Valentine is to hers-leaving little time for romance. In the midst of it all, Valentine travels to Italy with her grandmother Theodora to buy supplies and later rendezvous with Roman for her birthday. Things go well for Valentine professionally, but her personal life is more up in the air. This, as well as the many entertaining characters introduced, leaves plenty of material for the two books to come. Nicely written with vivid images of high fashion, New York City, and traditional Italy, Trigiani's latest is sure to be eagerly anticipated by her many fans and attract some new readers. Recommended for all public libraries.
—Karen Core

Kirkus Reviews
Food, shoes and romance feature prominently in this zesty novel of an Italian-American family, the first in a planned trilogy following the life of Valentine Roncalli. A few years ago Valentine left teaching for something entirely different: She moved in with her grandmother Teodora and became an apprentice cobbler. Angelini Shoe Company, a longtime fixture in Greenwich Village, is an old-world establishment that provides custom-made wedding shoes. Valentine learns from 80-year-old Teodora, whom she calls "Gram," the skills of shoemaking and running a business, but she eventually discovers that Gram doesn't have a head for numbers. Their beautiful building (the shop and showroom is downstairs, their apartment occupies the upper floors) has been borrowed against over the years, and now they can't possibly make enough shoes to cover the new mortgage. Brother Alfred wants the building sold (it's worth millions) and Gram put in a retirement community, but Valentine and Gram cling to the hope that the family company can prosper in the next century. While Valentine tries to save the company (it may all depend on winning a shoe competition at Bergdorf's) she meets sexy Roman Falconi, chef extrodinaire. The two have lots of heat and lots of issues-between the demands of his restaurant and her shoe shop, they rarely see each other. After months of a simmering relationship, Roman promises he'll meet Valentine on Capri, at the tail end of the buying trip she's making with Gram. Italy is an eye-opening experience-the hills of Tuscany, the wine, the leather and the big surprise, Gram's longtime lover Dominic. His romantic son Gianluca is also a bit of an eye-opener for Valentine-if she's so inlove with Roman, then why does Gianluca look so damn good? Rich descriptions of beautiful things-a Greenwich Village rooftop garden, the Blue Grotto of Capri, a bounty of well-made meals, sexy men in sweaters-create a (not quite) fairy tale of guilty pleasures. Things may not work out perfectly for Valentine in this first installment, but Trigiani (Home to Big Stone Gap, 2006, etc.) offers plenty of reasons to stick around for part two.
Lead Review - People Magazine
" Sex and the City meets Moonstruck … this first in a new trilogy from Trigiani is sly, sensual and dripping in style."
People
“ Sex and the City meets Moonstruck … this first in a new trilogy from Trigiani is sly, sensual and dripping in style.”
Booklist
“[Very Valentine] will have readers who love romantic novels...swooning. Trigiani’s closing is satisfying, even as it paves the way for the lovable heroine to reappear in a planned sequel.”
Boston Globe
May be [Triginai’s] best work to date… Delightful, energetic… Trigiani is a seemingly effortless storyteller.”
BookPage
“No one ever reads just one of Trigiani’s wonderfully quirky tales. Once you pick up the first, you are hooked..... Trigiani fills her pages with snappy dialogue and luscious descriptions.... Reading Very Valentine is like tucking into a plate of homemade manicotti: irresistible and delicious.”
Roanoke Times
“Trigiani has certainly not lost her ability to breathe life into everything she writes.”
Marie Claire
“Load up on cappuccino and biscotti before getting lost in the super froth of Adriana Trigiani’s romance-soaked novel, Very Valentine”
Richmond Times-Dispatch
“Adriana Trigiani listens to her readers, then gives them what they want. That’s why they’ll be ecstatic about her newest novel…”
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
“Well-crafted work with sometime lyrical, sometimes flat-out-funny writing.”
Lead Review People
“ Sex and the City meets Moonstruck … this first in a new trilogy from Trigiani is sly, sensual and dripping in style.”

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061964534
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
10/06/2009
Series:
Valentine Trilogy Series , #1
Sold by:
HARPERCOLLINS
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
416
Sales rank:
3,676
File size:
1 MB

Read an Excerpt

Very Valentine

Chapter One

Leonard's of Great Neck

I'm not the pretty sister.

I'm not the smart sister either. I am the funny one. I've been called that for so long, for so many years, in fact, that all of my life I thought it was one word: Funnyone.

If I had to die, and believe me, I don't want to, but if I had to choose a location, I'd want to die right here in the ladies' lounge at Leonard's of Great Neck. It's the mirrors. I look slimsational, even in 3-D. I'm no scientist, but there's something about the slant of the full-length glass, the shimmer of the blue marble counters, and the golden light of the pavé chandeliers that creates an optical illusion, turning my reflection into a long, lean, pale pink swizzle stick.

This is my eighth reception (third as an attendant) at Leonard's La Dolce Vita, the formal name for our family's favorite Long Island wedding factory. Everyone I know has been married here, or, at least everyone I'm related to.

My sisters and I made our debut as flower girls in 1984 for our cousin Mary Theresa, who had more attendants on the dais than guests at the tables. Our cousin's wedding might have been a sacred exchange of vows between a man and a woman, but it was also a show, with costumes, choreography, and special lighting, making the bride the star and the groom the grip.

Mary T. considers herself Italian-American royalty, so she had the Knights of Columbus form a crossing guard for our entrance into the Starlight Venetian Room.

The knights were regal in their tuxedos, red sashes, black capes, and tricornered hats with the marabou plumes. I took myplace behind the other girls in the pro-cession as the band played "Nobody Does It Better," but I turned around to run away as the knights held up their swords to form a canopy. Aunt Feen grabbed me and gave me a shove. I closed my eyes, gripped my bouquet, and bolted under the blades like I was running for sane.

Despite my fear of sharp and clanging objects, I fell in love with Leonard's that day. It was my first Italian formal. I couldn't wait to grow up and emulate my mother and her friends who drank Harvey Wallbangers in cut-crystal tumblers while wearing silver sequins from head to toe. When I was nine years old, I thought Leonard's had class. Never mind that from the passing lane on Northern Boulevard it looks like a white stucco casino on the French Riviera by way of Long Island. For me, Leonard's was a House of Enchantments.

The La Dolce Vita experience begins when you pull up to the entrance. The wide circular driveway is a dead ringer for Jane Austen's Pemberley and also resembles the valet stand at Neiman Marcus, outside the Short Hills mall. This is the thing about Leonard's: everywhere you look, it reminds you of elegant places you have already been. The two-story picture windows are reminiscent of the Metropolitan Opera House, while the tiered fountain is strictly Trevi. You almost believe you're in the heart of Rome until you realize the cascading water is actually drowning out the traffic on I-495.

The landscaping is a marvel of botanical grooming, with boxwood sheared into long rectangles, low borders of yew, privet hedges in cropped ovals, and bayberry sculpted into twirly ice- cream-cone shapes. The manicured shrubs are set in beds of shiny river stones, an appropriate pre-motif to the ice sculptures that tower over the raw bar inside.

The exterior lights suggest the strip in Las Vegas, but it's far more tasteful here, as the bulbs are recessed, giving the place a low, twinkling glow. Topiaries shaped like crescent moons flank the entrance doors. Beneath them, low meatball bushes serve as a base for the birds-of-paradise, which pop out of the shrubs like cocktail umbrellas.

The band plays "Burning Down the House" as I take a moment to catch my breath in the ladies' lounge. I'm alone for the first time on my sister Jaclyn's wedding day and I like it. It's been a long one. I'm holding the tension of the entire family in the vertebrae of my neck. When I marry, I will elope to city hall because my bones can't take the pressure of another Roncalli wedding extravaganza. I'd miss the beer-battered shrimp and the pâté rillettes, but I'd survive. The months of planning this wedding nearly gave me an ulcer, and the actual execution bestowed on my right eye a pulsating tic that could only be soothed by holding a frozen teething ring I bogarted from cousin Kitty Calzetti's baby after the Nuptial Mass. Despite the agita, it's a wonderful day, because I'm happy for my baby sister, who I remember holding, like a Capodimonte rose, on the day she was born.

I hold my martini-shaped eve-ning bag covered in sequins (the wedding-party gift from the bride) up to the mirror and say, "I'd like to thank Kleinfeld of Brooklyn, who knocked off Vera Wang to strapless perfection. And I'd like to thank Spanx, the girdle genius, who turned my pear shape into a surfboard." I move closer to the mirror and check my teeth. It ain't an Italian wedding without clams casino dusted in parsley flakes, and you know where those end up.

My professional makeup job provided (at half price) by the bride's best friend's sister-in-law, Nancy DeNoia, is really holding up. She did my face at around eight o'clock this morning, and it's now supper time but I still look fresh. "It's the powder. Banane by LeClerc," my older sister, Tess, said. And she knows: she was matte through two childbirths. We have the pictures to prove it.

This morning, my sisters, our mother, and I sat on folding chairs in front of Mom's Golden Age of Hollywood mirror in the bedroom of their Tudor in Forest Hills, pretty (almost) maids all in a row.

Very Valentine. Copyright © by Adriana Trigiani. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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