Harper Paperbacks (January 5, 2010)
Source: Library Audio Copy
Meet the Roncalli and Angelini families, a vibrant cast of colorful characters who navigate tricky family dynamics with hilarity and brio, from magical Manhattan to the picturesque hills of bella Italia. Very Valentine is the first novel in a trilogy and is sure to be the new favorite of Trigiani's millions of fans around the world.
In this luscious, contemporary family saga, the Angelini Shoe Company, makers of exquisite wedding shoes since 1903, is one of the last family-owned businesses in Greenwich Village. The company is on the verge of financial collapse. It falls to thirty-three-year-old Valentine Roncalli, the talented and determined apprentice to her grandmother, the master artisan Teodora Angelini, to bring the family's old-world craftsmanship into the twenty-first century and save the company from ruin.
While juggling a budding romance with dashing chef Roman Falconi, her duty to her family, and a design challenge presented by a prestigious department store, Valentine returns to Italy with her grandmother to learn new techniques and seek one-of-a-kind materials for building a pair of glorious shoes to beat their rivals. There, in Tuscany, Naples, and on the Isle of Capri, a family secret is revealed as Valentine discovers her artistic voice and much more, turning her life and the family business upside down in ways she never expected. Very Valentine is a sumptuous treat, a journey of dreams fulfilled, a celebration of love and loss filled with Trigiani's trademark heart and humor.
I very much enjoyed Very Valentine: A Novel by Adriana Trigiani. It was a light and interesting read, that was full of wonderful family dynamics, entrepreneurial spirit, opportunities for love, beautiful descriptions of Italy, and shoes!
Trigiani has a tremendous sense of humor, which was reflected in this novel. The story was narrated by the character Valentine who began with an entertaining description of a family wedding and a hilarious rooftop encounter of sorts. As the novel progressed, I began to love Valentine's descriptions of her family, her work at Angelini shoes, her relationship with Roman, and especially her trip to Italy. Valentine's genuine accounts of conflict within the family and her extreme desire to continue the legacy of the Angelini shoe company, made for a wonderful book.
I found a little of myself in Valentine - a daughter who strives to do the best for her family, who has a wonderful work ethic and love for the family history, as well as her struggle to find balance between her personal and professional life.
The ending was perfect and allowed for a wonderful transition to the next book in the trilogy. I'm very much looking forward to continuing with Brava, Valentine!
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