Monday, May 24, 2010

Review of Very Valentine



Very Valentine
Adriana Trigiani
Harper Collins
384 pages
You will laugh, you will cry, but you will finish this book with a feeling of joy.
How can you call a novel about a 34 year old a coming of age story, well you’ll just have to take my word for it because that’s exactly the fact finding mission that Valentine Roncalli is on, to find her role in her family, in her career and in life in general.
Deep in the island known as Manhattan on a quiet street called Perry sits a quaint old building that houses the Angelini Shoe Company started in Italy in 1903 and built on the back of Valentine Roncalli’s great-grandfather, grandfather and grandmother she now finds herself in the precarious position of next in line to take the reins of this now struggling family business.
A few short years ago Valentine quit her teaching job to start a new career one in her blood, that of creating one of a kind wedding shoes and in this struggling economy she needs to find a way to bring the business she loves into the 21st century and into the black. Along with her beloved grandmother she finds new and inventive ways to re-brand the name. Along the way she is met with the force known as her family and love she didn’t expect to find. Her family is a solid feature in her Italian-American life, but love, not so much.
Adriana introduces her readers to her larger than life Italian family known as the Angelini/Roncallis and they are an immovable force and bring to life her wonderful tale of love, family and finding a place to belong. The characters are the real stars of this novel they are rambunctious, loud, loving, hateful. You name it you get it and each one is an integral part of the telling of her story. Her protagonist Valentine is the typical middle child, always the peace keeper and never quite finding the right spot in the hierarchy of the family. But she is a real three dimensional character and you will find yourself turning page after page to find out what madcap thing can happen to her next. Adriana’s dialogue is flowing and prose like when describing her wonderful scenes of Italy and very boisterous when depicting the many family interactions. This is not a romance but there is a love story involved here and the author handles it with care and dignity and would not offend any reader.
This novel will delight any reader who loves literary fiction, a great family read, a love story and a coming of age long after it’s due tale. And after you’re finished with this then run don’t walk to the next read in the series out now called Brava Valentine.

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