Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Book Review: Very Valentine by Adriana Trigiani

33 year old Valentine Roncalli loves fashioning the custom shoes produced by her family’s 100 year old wedding shoe company in NYC’s Greenwich Village. Unfortunately, her grandmother has run into some financial trouble and her brother wants to sell the property to pay off the debts. Valentine tries to find a way to save the company, and a design competition offers the opportunity she needs to get Angelini Shoes back on track.

Maybe it’s because I’m going to both NYC and Italy soon (both important settings in the novel), but I really enjoyed reading this one. Usually I’m not one for overly descriptive writing, but I was fascinated by the details involved in handcrafting shoes, in cooking Italian food, and just about everything else Trigiani set her keen eye on. For example, I really appreciated the truth of this passage:

"I miss big, bulky old-fashioned cameras that you wear around your neck on a strap. Most of all I miss the fact that you used to have to save the film for the best moments because it was too expensive to squander. Now, we take pictures of everything, including pictures of people taking pictures." (p 298)

Valentine was just the kind of character I really like too – complex, approachable, witty, driven and independent. Her family and friends keep telling her she needs a man in her life, and she does enter a relationship with a fellow work-a-holic, restaurant owner Roman, but he’s not her focus which I found quite refreshing. This isn’t one of those chick-lit novels where the entire romance is predictable – rather, it keeps you guessing, just like real life.

VERY VALENTINE is out in paperback now and you can read the first 62 pages online at HarperCollins. It is the first in a trilogy, and the second, BRAVA VALENTINE (which I will be reading next month) was recently released in hardcover. Find out more about the books at the author’s website.

16 comments:

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

I love this Author and can not wait to read and review these books! :)

bermudaonion said...

Brava, Valentine is even better!

Lenore said...

Kathy - I am very excited about the sequel. I just read the jacket flap and saw that she's going to Argentina - how cool!

Darlene said...

I'm going to be delving into both of these novels soon. I'm glad you liked this one. I bet I do too!

Staci said...

I have this one and Brava...can't wait to read them both!

Zibilee said...

Great review! I have been seeing reviews of this all over the place, and it looks really good. I am glad you liked it so much! I have read her Big Stone Gap series and thought it was very good, so I will probably like this series as well. I will have to come back and compare notes with you when I get it finished!

Cori said...

I just reviewed this one -- I felt much the way you did about it! I'm taking Brava, Valentine with me on a trip to the UK on Saturday. I look foward to reading it. :)

Ladybug said...

This doesn't sound like something I normally read, perhaps a reason as to why I should pick it up? I enjoyed reading your review, Lenore!

Lisa said...

Lenore! Thank you SO MUCH for the award. SERIOUSLY. You are too sweet!!!

:0)

kay - Infinite Shelf said...

Great review! I just got my copy of this one and I can't wait to start it!

Liviania said...

I like that passage, but find it very untrue. I was always getting into trouble for using too much film. I've never held back from snapping a photo I wanted.

Annika said...

oooh, I have been eying this one for awhile, might just have to pick it up now!

Booksnyc said...

I loved the Big Stone Gap series and am really looking forward to getting into this one!

Beth F said...

I cannot wait to get to this. I'm going to read them both next month.

Literary Feline said...

I have a couple of Trigiani's books here to read, both her older books and I believe part of the Stone Gap series. I haven't yet read anything by her though. This one does sound good--and it sounds like perfect timing reading wise for you! Thanks for your great review.

Meg said...

I really loved this novel, too, and can't wait to read the sequel! Valentine was a very realistic and loveable heroine. And the cover is so appealing to me :)