Saturday, February 19, 2011

Books: Brava, Valentine

Brava, Valentine
By Adriana Trigiani
Copyright 2010
Audiobook read by Cassandra Campbell
11.5 hours unabridged

I've read (or listened to) almost every one of Trigiani's books, and she has it figured out. This is an author who can produce and put it out without losing her integrity in the process.

I fell in love with her Big Stone Gap books a very long time ago, and her books about Valentine Roncalli are just as good.

Val is a cobbler who must take over the family custom shoe-making business after her grandmother marries and retires. She is also in love with Jean Luca, the son of the Italian leather tanner her grandmother recently married.

While on the face of it on might dismiss this as a romance, this is a book with integrity. It explores family relationships, race relations, business, and life in general. This is a book about character, not a stereotype racing around the world for love and sex.

The author brings the world of New York to life, something a poor little hick like myself really appreciates. I haven't been to New York in 30 years. Additionally, I enjoyed learning about other cultures - particularly the Italian ones that seem foreign to this Appalachian Irish girl.

Strong writing and good characters. What more could one ask for in a book?


  1. In my neighborhood in Jersey City, everyone was Italian, like Joe Centonzi the fruit man, and the guy who took the numbers. Or Irish like us. But on the avenue, there were other nationalities. My mother would send me down the corner to the shoemaker whenever we needed a repair, normal in those days. The shop smelled of leather. He was Italian. Next door was the Jew's shop. He and his wife sold clothes. Piles and piles and piles of jeans stacked in every nook and cranny. The wife would hold a tape measure in her mouth and turn you this way and that. Oh yeah, and there was also the Chinese cleaners. My mother would send me there with my father's shirts, extra starch. Stereotypes? Whatever you want to call these descriptions, they were true. And I loved them all. Thanks for making me remember.

  2. I think of old shoemakers as magic makers.My grandmother worked in the shoe factories of Brockton Mass.

    I have something for you at loose leaf notes.

  3. Hi there, I've found you by way of colleen at loose leaf notes. I appreciate your review of this book - I was recently gifted a Kindle and I'm finding that I read a lot more as a result. I love the convenience of simply downloading a book and not having another one on my bookshelf! I think this one sounds like a good one. have a beautiful day!


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