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The Shoemaker's Wife: A Novel Paperback – Apr 3 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; 1st Edition edition (April 3 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062206184
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062206183
  • Product Dimensions: 22.6 x 15.4 x 4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 540 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #72,542 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Laura Fabiani TOP 500 REVIEWER on April 26 2012
Format: Paperback
To say that I loved reading this book is an understatement. It's a story that touched me deeply because it explores themes I am familiar with: the immigrant experience, the Italian setting, and characters that remind me of my own relatives. I savoured every page! I have read only one other book from Trigiani, which was Very Valentine, and although I enjoyed it, I found the storytelling and writing in The Shoemaker's Wife far superior.

This epic story begins in the early 1900s in the Italian Alps, where we first meet Enza and Ciro who are children. Enza is raised in a loving family while Ciro is left with his brother at a convent to be raised by nuns. Ciro and Enza meet as teenagers and form a bond when they share a deeply moving experience, but shortly after Ciro must leave the mountain against his will to set sail for America where he learns the trade of a shoemaker. Enza also travels to America and works hard to send money home to her family, eventually making a career as a seamstress. She and Ciro briefly meet again in America, but only come together years later after World War I.

Trigiani's skill as a writer is clearly shown as she deftly takes us from the fresh Italian Alps to bustling Little Italy in New York City at the turn of the century, to the glamorous Metropolitan Opera House and later to Minnesota. I enjoyed every setting and found the events flowed smoothly in this novel. Rich with details and believable characters, I was transported to a different era, to a time when my own great-grandfather sailed a ship that took him from Italy to Boston.

I smiled and I cried (no, I bawled toward the end of the story) as I was so invested in the lives of all the characters, from the loving nuns in the village of Schilpario, Italy to Caruso at the Opera House.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Rob Slaven TOP 50 REVIEWER on Dec 14 2013
Format: Paperback
Firstly and as always I would be remiss if I didn't note that I received this book free as a Goodreads giveaway. I entered the Giveaway, as I always do, knowing absolutely nothing of the book in question and intentionally avoiding any background. The fact that the book was free (as anyone who looks at my other reviews of free books will note) will have no impact on my review of it.

Unlike many of the free books I've reviewed this one wasn't free because it was new and just coming out and needed reviewing. It was free because the book was already well established and coming out in paperback after being on the NYT best sellers list. Typically I give very little credence to the popularity of a book in assessing the quality but after having tramped my way through the nearly 500 pages of this one I can assert that its popularity is well deserved.

There have been so many reviewers before me that there's little I can say that hasn't already been covered. Trigiani's book is at its heart a romance but only so in the way that all stories drawn from life are at their hearts romances. She encapsulates with incredible skill an entire lifetime and draws us a portrait that makes its way into your soul and is sure to be remembered long after the last page turns.

The author's attention to detail is meticulous without becoming dull or redundant and reminds me strongly of the Dickensian tendency to stop and patiently draw out all the intimate nuances of a scene. I would leave potential readers with two recommendations. Firstly, take the time to read this one but do so with an open mind and let it wash over you. Immerse yourself in it and have patience. Secondly, the book is not to be taken lightly. You cannot go after it in fits and starts. If you cannot read 100 pages at a sitting then read something else until you can. It is a vastly rewarding novel but one that requires utmost and concentrated attention.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Boulanger on April 20 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
The author seems not to have consulted an atlas. The hero takes a boat from Venice to Le Havre and arrives a day later. Impossible!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Wynreader on Dec 19 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It may be extremely difficult to take a real-life family story and make it compelling while trying to remain true to the people you love. I felt like there was much too much description of places, food and people's thoughts, and not nearly enough action and tension. I loved that she brought in historical figures and places. I just wanted to see the characters dealing with conflict, not talking about it afterwards.
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By Anna Lobello on July 14 2014
Format: Hardcover
The best book I have ever read . Beautiful story and just wonderful
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By Lorraine Sherman on July 8 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Started out slowly but became more interesting as the book progressed.
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