HARPERCOLLINS PUBLISHERS | April 3, 2012 | Hardcover
The majestic and haunting beauty of the Italian Alps is the setting of the first meeting of Enza, a practical beauty, and Ciro, a strapping mountain boy, who meet as teenagers, despite growing up in villages just a few miles apart. At the turn of the last century, when Ciro catches the local priest in a scandal, he is banished from his village and sent to hide in America as an apprentice to a shoemaker in Little Italy. Without explanation, he leaves a bereft Enza behind. Soon, Enza's family faces disaster and she, too, is forced to go to America with her father to secure their future.
Unbeknownst to one another, they both build fledgling lives in America, Ciro masters shoemaking and Enza takes a factory job in Hoboken until fate intervenes and reunites them. But it is too late: Ciro has volunteered to serve in World War I and Enza, determined to forge a life without him, begins her impressive career as a seamstress at the Metropolitan Opera House that will sweep her into the glamorous salons of Manhattan and into the life of the international singing sensation, Enrico Caruso.
From the stately mansions of Carnegie Hill, to the cobblestone streets of Little Italy, over the perilous cliffs of northern Italy, to the white-capped lakes of northern Minnesota, these star-crossed lovers meet and separate, until, finally, the power of their love changes both of their lives forever.
Lush and evocative, told in tantalizing detail and enriched with lovable, unforgettable characters, The Shoemaker's Wife is a portrait of the times, the places and the people who defined the immigrant experience, claiming their portion of the American dream with ambition and resolve, cutting it to fit their needs like the finest Italian silk.
This riveting historical epic of love and family, war and loss, risk and destiny is the novel Adriana Trigiani was born to write, one inspired by her own family history and the love of tradition that has propelled her body of bestselling novels to international acclaim. Like Lucia, Lucia, The Shoemaker's Wife defines an era with clarity and splendor, with operatic scope and a vivid cast of characters who will live on in the imaginations of readers for years to come.
Eduardo and Ciro loved their mother, Caterina who had recently become a widow and wasn’t handling her emotions very well. Eduardo was the scholarly older brother to, Ciro, who was a big strong boy. Caterina cannot care for the boys so she drops them off at the convent. The nuns absolutely adore Ciro and appreciated his wonderful sense of humour. Both Eduardo and Ciro worked tirelessly for the nuns ensuring most of the work in the convent was done so they could earn their keep.
One day, Ciro sees the town’s much beloved priest engaged in a scandalous situation and reports his findings to the nuns. To protect himself the priest sends Eduardo and Ciro away from the convent, the only place they’ve ever really known as home.
A day or so before the boys are to be sent away, Ciro meets Enza while he is digging the grave for her baby sister, Stella. Enza and Ciro immediately like each other and will never forget each other as their lives move in different directions.
Enza’s family is being evicted from their home and they have no money to pay for another. Enza and her father, Marco set sail for America where they both plan to work and send money home to their mother so they can build the house of their dreams.
While in American, Enza is eventually found working for the Metropolitan Opera as a seamstress and is introduced to the great singer Enrico Caruso. She has love interests but becomes a friend to Caruso who loves her for making him “macaroni”.
Meanwhile, Ciro is working in America building boots and shoes for men, shoes which he is extremely proud of. Eventually Ciro and Enza meet again in New York but their separate and busy lives do not allow them to stay together, but they both still love each other, they just don’t know it yet.
The story flips back and forth between the beautiful Alps of Italy, to New York, to Minnesota, through World War I, to the Metropolitan Opera House. This is a mesmerizing story of family, love, romance, dedication to family and work ethic, and the immigrant experience of the early 1900’s.
The characters are well-developed, strong, independent people who are determined to be the drivers of their own lives rather than leaving it all to fate. At 468 pages, you’ll be quickly drawn in by Trigiani’s beautiful and evocative prose with lush sentimental dialogue.
THE SHOEMAKER’S WIFE is a lush historical epic of the early twentieth century and the touching immigrant experience. This is Adriana Trigiani at her best!!