Lucia Sartori has it all, a loving family, a budding career as a designer in B. Altman’s custom department and a wonderful fiance , but in the early 1950’s most women couldn’t have it all. Especially if she was from a traditional Italian family, then she would be expected to give up her career and become a housewife, one usually subjugated to her mother-in-law. Daughters and daughters-in-law knew how to be dutiful. This is not how Lucia envisioned the future. She made a life altering decision to defy convention. Somewhat later her head is turned by an extremely handsome man she meets by chance in the store. He is the beginning and end of her best expectations, causing her and all the Sartoris much heartbreak.
This book is a wonderful period piece set in Greenwich Village with the central family, the Sartoris, a very large Italian family with four sons and one daughter, bound not only by blood but love and tradition. All the sons worked with their father, Antonio, in the Groceria , the family owned business. Lucia follows after her grandmother with her exceptional sewing abilities and eye for design. The story tells of the loyalty and duty to family that was taken for granted by Italian parents and children of the era. All of the family interactions are so spot on, described perfectly as to attitudes and social customs of the day. It is extremely easy to feel the emotional impact of all that happens to these characters. No one can write about Italian families as well as Trigiani. She grew up with such a family and all her writing seems to come straight from the heart. Everything from locations to objects of clothing, and everyone she describes is done to perfection, all the characters being well fleshed out. Her adjectives are constantly right on with just the perfect nuance. Whether it is joy or sorrow, Trigiani makes the reader feel all the emotions to their very core. As usual, there are numerous sub plots that are so interesting, the reader is constantly charmed by the scenarios. Another not- to- be-put- down- until- it- is- finished book. I really liked it, maybe just a tad less than Very Valentine but nevertheless it is definitely a 4 1/2*