"But you love someone else,"she said, making an excuse to step away from him, even though she didn't want to.A stack of vinyl records of the singer Enrico Caruso, owned by the author's grandmother Lucia, and ship records of Lucia's and her husband's separate trips to America in the early 1900s inspired Adriana Trigiani to write this novel.
"Sister Teresa says that when one girl breaks your heart, another comes along to mend it."
Enza smiled. (from the ARC, ch.6; final copy may differ)
This is a story of the meeting of two teens, Enza and Ciro, who live in villages at the foot of the Italian Alps, about their separate journeys to America to find a better life, their meeting again, and their married life together. It's the love story of the author's grandparents, as she imagines it might have been. The novel is a straightforward telling of their lives, set in three locations - the village of Bergamo in the Italian Alps, and then Manhattan and Minnesota in America.
In Italy in 1905, Ciro and his brother Eduardo are left by their impoverished and widowed mother at a convent, to be raised by the sisters of Saint Nicola. When the boys grow up, Eduardo enters the seminary in Rome; Ciro is sent to America to be apprenticed as a shoemaker to a relative of one of the sisters.
Before Ciro leaves, he meets a young girl Enza from the same region, but then loses track of her when he departs for America. Enza also travels to America, hoping to become a seamstress in New Jersey and send money home to help her family buy a much needed house.
Title: The Shoemaker's Wife: A Novel by Adriana Trigiani
Published April 3, 2012 by Harper; hardcover
Enzo and Ciro's paths cross again, several times over the years, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Many Italians left their home for America during the early 1900s, as did other European immigrants. The book helps to document one such family, in fiction, the reasons for their leaving, and their arrival and survival in America during two world wars. I found this book an excellent example of immigrant fiction and the historical novel.
Visit the author at http://adrianatrigiani.com/
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Thanks to TLC Book Tours and the publisher for an ARC of this novel.