by Adriana Trigiani
Open this book and you are opening a window into the Italian Alps, at the turn of the twentieth century, and into the lives of men and women that migrate to America. Meet Enza and Ciro, teenagers that meet, fall in love, and then are separated by tragedy and scandal. Each, unbeknownst to the other, immigrates to America to secure a living, Ciro as a shoemaker’s apprentice and Enza as a talented seamstress. Fate brings them back together, only to be separated again by war.
The Shoemaker’s Wife is a beautiful, heart wrenching story of family, love, and strength. Based on Adriana Trigiani’s own family history it is a story full of characters and places that you will want to revisit again and again. This historical epic that is grand, yet utterly familiar to the millions of families that helped to forge the country that we have today.
For a special treat listen to the audio version performed by Annabella Sciorra. Her lilting Italian and mastery of immigrant accents are fluid and graceful.
If you like historical fiction novels with character-driven stories, you may also want to read Trigiani’s other novels such as her Valentine Trilogy. She captures Italian-American families with familiarity and honesty.
Chris Bohjalian’s historical novels The Sandcastle Girls and The Light in the Ruins are beautifully haunting tales that will also take you to another time and another place. Each will leave you with something to think about for a while to come.