Very Valentine by Adriana Trigiani
Hardback 371 pages
Book Source: the library
My Rating: 90/100
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.
Valentine is the "funny one" in the family. She is a 33 yr old sweet, honest, Italian girl who also happens to be the only unmarried family member left. A big no-no in this traditional family. However, Valentine finds her self at a crossroads in her life: no immediate plans of settling down, no "serious" job, but a serious desire to continue the family business of custom made bridal shoes. Valentine is currently the apprentice at Angelini Shoe Company, but must help her Grandmother Theodora in saving the business. The company is teetering on the brink of bankruptcy and only modern day financing can save this olde world company.
Valentine makes her mission to stabilize the company and in the process, she matures and comes into her own, as both a person and a designer. Valentine realizes her potential, harnesses her craft, and figures out what she wants in a relationship and a man. Valentine becomes comfortable with herself. Does she save Angelini Shoes? You will have to read the book to find out :)
This story is filled with wonderful moments of Val and her family. These scenes may seem totally stereotypical, but they are spot on accurate. I'm Italian so I should know. The trip that Val and her Grandmom take to Italy is beautiful and I felt like I was there with them. Trigiani's descriptions make it easy to picture, and I really must move that trip to Italy up the vacation list. The relationship between Val and her Grandmom is special and I think it's one many granddaughters share with their Grandmoms. I did and it reminded me of my Grandmom whom I miss dearly.
Very Valentine was an enjoyable, lighthearted read, and a great way to escape. I look forward to the follow-up titled, Brava Valentine, and will consider reading Trigiani's back list.
I am a tour stop for the TLC tour of Brava Valentine on December 9th, so be sure to stop back for my review. For more information about that tour, check out the tour homepage.
For more information about Adriana Trigiani please visit her website:
2010 Challenges Met: 100+, Support Your Local Library, Reading Romance
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