Simply Reading: The Shoemaker’s Wife

Adriana Trigiani writes the kinds of stories I really enjoy – books about family and relationships. Her pride in her Italian heritage and her deep sense of family values and integrity shines through in all her novels.

But never more so that in The Shoemaker’s Wife, her latest novel  which is based on the true love story of her grandparents.

Enza Ravinelli and Ciro Lazarotti grow up in an idyllic mountain village in northern Italy in the early days of the 20th century, where they meet when Ciro is hired to dig the grave for Enza’s beloved baby sister. There is an instant bond between them, but fate seems determined to keep them apart. The two young people immigrate to American (separately), and although their paths continue to cross something always keeps them from getting together.

I am so enjoying getting to know these two people, and getting this glimpse of life in American in those days pre and post WWI. It was an amazing time for many people who care here from different countries and suddenly had so many opportunities available for them. Though Enza and Ciro had both hoped to stay in American just long enough to earn enough money to build a better life in Italy, American soon became more home to them than even the village they had loved so much.

This is a great story on many levels, and even though I’m pretty sure they’ll get together in the end, I’m eagerly reading to see what happens in between.



TLC Book Tours: Don’t Sing at the Table, Life Lessons From My Grandmothers

My grandparents lived with us when I was growing up, and my Great-Grandmother lived just across the street. Having such a strong female presence in my life was a blessing, and I believe their constant and unconditional love helped me become a better parent. As I prepare to become a grandmother for the first time, I’m recalling those lessons every day, hoping I can be as loving and supportive as they were.

Because of my close relationship with my grandmothers, I was pre-disposed to love Adriana Trigiani’s memoir, Don’t Sing at the Table.  After all, with a subtitle like Life Lessons From My Grandmothers, how could it not appeal to me? Hadn’t I spent my formative years at my Grandmother’s feet?

Not surprisingly, I did love the book.  Trigiani takes us on a backstage tour of her grandmother’s lives – their successes, their hardships, their quirky personalities.  As I read about their early days as young women fulfilling an American dream and running their own business to their later years still enjoying life, Lucia Spada and Viola Trigiani began to feel like members of my own family. The experience resembled sitting down at the table with hot coffee and Viola’s famous Sponge Cake, soaking up the stories, advice, and love poured out so generously in this little book.

The book is memoir, but also something of a “how-to” live life according to these two wise women, lessons Trigiani herself has incorporated into her own being and is eager to pass along. In recalling the lessons her grandmothers have taught, Trigiani discovers sound wisdom for the many challenges facing modern women at work and at home. Advice on everything from how to dress and entertain, to how to raise children and handle the family finances is included. It’s comforting to realize that life lessons from a simpler time can be just as appropriate in this crazy modern world we live in today.

Don’t Sing at the Table was a charming, delightful look at the lives of two extraordinary women, who, by their example, left their granddaughter with a wonderful legacy of love and wisdom.  I have a feeling they would be very proud grandmothers!

Visit Adriana Trigiani’s website, Facebook Page, Twitter

Thanks to TLC Book Tours for the opportunity to read this lovely book!