The sign over the shop used to say Angelini Shoes, Greenwich Village since 1903, but after years of weathering , it now says Angel Shoes. This is the setting for much of this heart-warming story and the inspiration for a new endeavor. Valentine and her 80 year old grandmother, Teodora Angelini, in the family tradition are custom makers of wedding shoes. When Teodora tells her granddaughter, Valentine, that things are not too good financially, she is shocked. Valentine had thought things would go on as usual for many years to come, but her brother Alfred now wants their grandmother to retire and take advantage of the escalating real estate prices to sell the building. Nothing like a little family friction to add to the dimension of the story. Valentine tries to find a way to save the business, their home and way of life.
When Valentine and her grandmother take a buying trip to Italy for leather and trimmings, they both find more than they had hoped. Grandmother finds the courage to own up to a ten year old secret and Valentine discovers her inner strength and artistry. This is just the most basic of synopses. The telling of the story of this multi generational family saga is just magical. All the details are so exquisitely written, I wish I could go to Italy and see it all through their eyes. There are so many side plots with the family I feel like I really know these people. Ms. Trigiani does a fabulous job with her characters. The family is like most families; they have their ups and downs, their joys and sorrows, weak and strong moments and the reader gets to share in all of them.
This will be on my list of best books read in 2008. I had it on my chick-lit challenge list for 2009 and was just going to take a peek at the first few pages. That was 367 pages ago! I could not put this wonderful family saga down. I loved every character, every detail and every description. As a most interesting preface, Ms. Trigiani tells how she came to create these characters, a lot inspired by her own family and the artisans she met in Italy. If strong women characters, family stories, and romance along with lush destination descriptions appeal to you, then you will just love this one.Highly recommended. 5*****
Thank you Adriana Trigiani for the opportunity to savor this wonderful story.