The Shoemaker’s Wife by Adriana Trigiani
Publisher: HarperAudio (April 2012)
Audio Source: Personal copy (win via Bookperk Sweepstakes)
Formats Available: Hardcover, Paperback, Kindle, Audio
Format Read: Audio CD (unabridged version),
Narrated by: Annabella Sciorra and Andriana Trigiani
Running Time: 17 hours 51 minutes
Synopsis from Goodreads: 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.
My thoughts: No stranger to Adriana Trigiani’s work I was excited to read her latest novel, The Shoemaker’s Wife. The novels that I’ve read to date lend themselves to strong family themes and elements of life as an immigrant. The Shoemaker’s Wife is no exception. They aren’t kidding when they state is an epic novel. It covers a lifetime of joy and heartache for several characters.
I actually started reading this novel as an egalley. The story was interesting enough, but I felt like my mind was wandering quite a bit. This changed immediately when I switched to the audio version of the book. Anabella Sciorra has a wonderful voice and I was immediately drawn into the story. Once immersed I was easily able to move back and forth between the print and audio versions.
Trigiani covers a lot of ground in this novel. We first meet the characters as young children and follow them well into adult hood. (I don’t remember exactly how old they were). A Historical novel inspired by her own Grandparents you can tell that this story is near and dear to her heart. So much so that when the audio was being recorded she decided to split the story in two pieces. The first being narrated by Anabella Sciorra and the second narrated by Trigiani herself. At the end of the recording she said she wanted it to read like a radio play and draw intensity to the second half of the story.
I don’t feel like this had the desired affect. There was no transition or warning when the change took place. Some reviewers have called it “jarring”, and I absolutely agree. It was something that I never recovered from as I was listening and definitely affected my overall experience with the book.
If you are new to Trigiani, I wouldn’t recommend picking up The Shoemaker’s Wife as your first read. I enjoyed Brava, Valentine much more.
© 2012, Teresa. All rights reserved.