The Shoemaker’s Wife
By Adriana Trigiani
Harper Collins, 2012. 475 pgs. Historical Fiction
Inspired by the author’s own grandparents The Shoemaker’s Wife is a sweeping epic that travels from the pristine Italian Alps, to immigrant life in New York City, to the mountains of Minnesota. Ciro and Enza grow up poor in nearby villages in the Italian Alps. Just after meeting for the first time, Ciro is forced to move to America after catching the local priest in a scandal. Unbeknownst to Ciro, as he is becoming a shoemaker’s apprentice in Little Italy, Enza too immigrates to New York City and works as a seamstress in a women’s clothing factory.
By chance Ciro and Enza meet again, but fate once again pulls them apart as Ciro is set to go to World War I. Enza refuses to wait for Ciro and is determined to make a better life for herself. With her talent for sewing she soon finds herself in the New York Opera House making costumes for the famous opera singer, Enrico Caruso.
Full of rich detail of the emigrant experience, the beauty of the Italian Alps, the rich Italian food, and more, Trigiani makes you feel like you are experiencing the characters lives right along side them. This is one of Trigiani’s best books so far.