Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Very Valentine, Book Club Read
By Adrianna Trigianni
Very Valentine opens with Valentine Roncalli, a 33 year old living in New York City. is a member of a large Italian- American family.
Valentine, is a shoe apprentice, she lives and works with her grandmother,Teodora, a master shoe maker in Greenwich Village in New York City, called Angelina Shoes, founded in 1903.
Valentine is spyed on by a neighbor, on the roof of ther tenement, Roman. Valentine and Roman meet each other by her grandmother. They eventually become romantically involved with each other. Roman owned a busy restaurant, in town. Between her romance of Roman, and her shoe business she tries to juggle both.
During their courtship, Valentine learns that their family owned business, Angelina Shoes, is about to go into financial collapse. Angelina Shoes, are custom made bridal shoes that was started by her grandmother, and her grandfather since 1903.
But, of course Valentine wants no part of this. She is going to fight tooth and nail to save the business from ruin. Her brother, Albert wants their 80 year old grandmother to retire.
Valentine is invited to participate in a shoe contest. This is not just, any contest. Many of the major custom shoe factories are participating, but Valentine is not aware of the competition.
In the meantime, Valentine and her grandmother go on a business trip to Italy. During the trip Roman is unable to go to Italy immediately. Instead he will meet her in Capri for her birthday.
Her grandmother, while in Italy meets a old flame, and his son. She learns about her grandmother's love interest, and why it was hidden from her family. The father, and Valentine's grandmother become romantically involved again, after so many year.
While this is happening, the son takes Valentine under his wing and teaches her the art of shoe making. He teaches Valentine all that he knows about shoe making. She learns, to look at shoe making in a new way. As a art, and an expression of her love of shoes. She takes her shoe design at a new level.
I am not going to tell you any more of the story, you will just have to read it for yourself.
My Review: We read this book for our book club. I don't think I would have picked it up, for any other reason. I have read the Stone Gap books, the first one and I was not impressed. I could not connect to the characters. But, what a 360 turn around, I loved this book. I connected with the characters immediately. The story, just flowed for me.
Valentine's family was a bit quirky, but you fell in love with them. Her mother was something else, and Valentine's grandmother was a gutsy lady. You felt like you were one of them.
The story was full of warmth, and you could feel the love that was pouring out by the author.
The book, reminded me of Greek Fat Wedding, with the entire family getting in everybody's business. Everyone meddling, which was none of their adult daughter's affair.
I was given a copy of Brava Valentine, before reading Very Valentine. I was not thinking about reading it. Well, now that I have read, Very Valentine I am enchanted by the author's work. Maybe, not so much by Stone Gap, but her other works. I am going to pick up Brava Valentine, which is the next one in the series.
I recommend it highly, and give it 5 thumbs up!!!