Author Adriana Trigiani was always fascinated by the tales of her grandparents’ romance which began in Italy and took them both to America. “The Shoemaker’s Wife” is her fictionalized version of that lovely tale.
The Italian Alps is the initial setting of the story of Ciro Lazzari and Enza (Vincenza) Ravanelli. Enza, as a teenager, loved Ciro who was so handsome that all the girls in town loved him. Enza merely loved him from a distance.
When Ciro’s mother became ill and unable to care for Ciro and his older brother Eduardo, she placed them in a convent where the nuns took care of them. Eduardo was studious and had aspirations to become a priest. Ciro had eyes for a pretty girl in town named Concetta Martocci. When he spied Concetta in the arms of a man illicitly, he was devastated. To protect himself, the culprit had Ciro sent to America and his brother Eduardo was allowed to enter the Seminary.
Ciro became an apprentice to a shoemaker in America and quickly became accomplished in him profession. He and Luigi, a friend he met on the boat coming to America, pledged that they would go into the shoemaker business.
Meanwhile, Enza’s parents fell on hard times; it was decided that Enza and her father Marco would leave the rest of the family to go to America to earn money so that the family could be well provided for. It was Marco’s dream to send them enough money to build a house for the family. Marco headed west to work in the mines while Enza stayed in New York to make her fortune.
The plot is set to allow Enza and Ciro to meet again and to fall in love, not without difficulties on the way as Ciro still loved his single life. Enza, being proficient as a dressmaker, found a career working for the Metropolitan Opera House. She also found a dear friend and co-worker Laura, a fun-loving Irish girl who helped Enza to learn English and to become accustomed to American ways. The girls’ friendship with the famous singer, Enrico Caruso, is an interesting subplot.
Ciro was so slow in his pursuit of Enza, the reader is forced to consider who might finally hold the title “The Shoemaker’s Wife.” Enza, tired of waiting, especially when Ciro went off to fight for his new country in World War I, became engaged to a handsome and wealthy man named Vito.
It would not be fair to the reader to reveal much more of the story except to say that there is happiness as well as sadness in the ensuing events.
Adriana Trigiani is an accomplished writer who has proven herself long before this, her tenth fiction story. “The Shoemaker’s Wife” is a popular choice with Book Clubs since its debut. The length of the book, at 475 pages, should not deter the reader as it moves quickly and grabs the reader’s attention.
The Shoemaker’s Wife by Adriana Trigiani (2012)