Adriana Trigiani is a seasoned author with more than a dozen novels under her belt and her latest offering, ‘The Shoemaker’s Wife’, begins in the majestic setting of the Italian Alps.
Ciro and Enza live in neighbouring villages and are forced to endure the hardships of life at the turn of the 20th century. When tragedy strikes, a chance encounter brings them together as teenagers, and an immediate bond is formed. Unfortunately, a chain of events has already been set in motion to separate them only for the two to be reunited in New York, thousands of miles away from their beloved mountain.
Their paths continue to cross through a series of coincidences, and as America enters the war in Europe, a chance meeting at the Metropolitan Opera House creates a resurgence of feelings. When it emerges that Ciro has already enlisted, they are left considering whether this meeting could prove to be their last?
The story highlights love, loss, struggle and achievement and opens a window on to the world of the emigrants and their plight as they leave their native land, not knowing whether they will ever return.
Trigiani infuses her work with so much passion for her Italian heritage that the characters appear to leap from the page to immerse the reader in the details of their lives.
If I’m being honest, ‘Lucia, Lucia’ is my favourite novel, to date, by this author (and if you haven’t read it, buy it now – I guarantee you will love it and I envy you for not yet having discovered it). But, ‘The Shoemaker’s Wife’ is compelling and the story holds your interest and attention throughout.
My only criticism is the ending, as I would like to have seen some further development of Enza’s character, in her later years. But the story was rounded up well enough to leave a feeling of smug satisfaction for a truly enjoyable read. Try it and see for yourself.