Book Review: The Shoemaker’s Wife

Currently, I’m going to stick to reviewing books that I highly recommend, that I would personally read again and again myself. (Tangent I mean, Fun fact: I rarely read books more than once unless I love it. However, I will watch a movie multiple times even if it’s not the greatest movie ever) Though I am very analytical, my goal is not to tear down authors, but to uplift authors in a positive light, as well as build an audience with positive, thought provoking posts. Who wants to read negative book reviews anyway?

The Shoemaker’s wife: By Angelina Trigiani

the showmaker's wife

Published in 2012

475 pages

Synopsis: (From Goodreads.com)

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.

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. 

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

My review:

I will try not to reveal too many spoilers as reviews with spoilers bother me, purely because I actually want to read the book and be surprised at what happens in the book. That said, there still might be a few. Consider yourself warned.

This is not a Christian novel, although most of my reviews thus forward will be of the inspirational or Christian novel genre.

Trigiani’s writing style is flawless, and fabulous; she has this innate ability to paint beautiful imagery with her words, something I truly strive to do someday. Like a theater backdrop, her gorgeous descriptive settings provide the foundation for a sweeping story of, not only the romantic love between Ciro and Enza, but of their lives from adolescence through adulthood, as they live and move and breath; as they miss chances, take huge risks, make mistakes, as they revel in successes and mourn tragedies.

Often, when you read a shorter romantic novel, you glimpse the beginning of a relationship between two characters, and then you’re left wondering, what happens next, or how did the rest of their lives turn out. Now, I admit, that is the fun part about reading a (well-written) novel, is using your own imagination to build up and play out the lives of the characters after the story ends. One of the reasons I love this book is because it’s not just a simple love story; it chronicles the lives of two different people, and once they finally unite, the story continues to chronicle the life that they now have together as one.

The depiction of two star-crossed lovers who keep missing each other over and over again until they finally collide for good, might be cliché, but this one was masterfully written. Pick up any book, and if you analyze it long enough, you’ll find that books follow similar structure and pattern. The fact that they both travel to America due to completely separate circumstances after growing up in Italy, is quite coincidental, until you learn from the author’s note that this is based on a true story within her family.

She chose to focus on two main characters, and while I wanted to know more about the lives of the other characters that interacted with Ciro and Enza, this is a stylistic choice, in my opinion and I am fine with that. Despite his faults, which are obvious, I loved Ciro’s character so much. Enza’s character is also well written; she is strong, and independent, hard working and engaging. Ciro is fascinating to me though. He wasn’t the perfect gentleman that you often read about in some romance novels. He wasn’t mean; his world sort of revolved around himself for so long that he nearly missed his chance to be with Enza, more than once.

The love they share runs deep, sometimes subconsciously so, despite all of those missed chances between the two of them before they finally build a relationship together. I think it’s funny: Enza doesn’t wait around for Ciro. She’s too independent and headstrong and she succeeds in making her own way in a new country. She doesn’t have time to wait for Ciro to finally come around. I would be frustrated, too. As a reader, I kind of wanted to shout at the both of them. Get it together!

Overall, I highly recommend this book, though it is quite long. (Another reason I loved it.)

Have you read this book before? What did you think? Let me know in the comments or on Facebook.

Happy reading!

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3 thoughts on “Book Review: The Shoemaker’s Wife

  1. This book sounds wonderfu . I actually picked it up at the library today. Being that it isn’t a Christian novel and it is a romance, would you say it is appropriate? Is it very sexual and lustful?
    Thank you in advance! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I apologize in advance that this comment is very long: lol. To tell you the answer, there are a few spoilers: 99 % of the sexual content is between 2 married people. The only times Ciro does sleep with other girls, they are brushed over and elegantly done to where it didn’t bother me. Brushed over as in: it really wasn’t focused on at all, and more of a passing thought by him. He’s not a man of faith, but Enza has a strong Catholic faith. Overall, the sexual content is elegantly done. I loved this story because it is about a life-long love relationship. We all know what marriage entails. They don’t sleep together before marriage, even thou Ciro does with others. This isn’t a teen romance book, but I definitely recommend it. What bothers me more, and one huge reason I chose to begin to write Christian Romance, is when romance stories revolve around sexual tension, and the couple dives right into sexual experiences and THEN they fall in love. That is not how love works IMO. Yes there is attraction and tension, but sex does not equate love and should never be a basis for beginning a relationship. The BIGGEST pet peeve in reading romance is when they cheat on someone else they’re engaged to by sleeping together. Probably anyone reading this comment feels the same way 🙂

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