Monday, April 12, 2010

IN REVIEW: Very Valentine

Valentine Roncalli’s little sister just got married. This has the Queens-born 33-year old single woman reflecting on her life; her only major romance in ended several years ago and she unexpectedly switched careers to be an unofficial apprentice to her shoemaking grandmother not long after. With the threat of her family’s custom wedding shoe business going under, it’s time for Valentine to step up. And step up she does. Valentine decides to take the Angelini Shoe Company into the 21st Century, both by designing a brand new shoe that can be mass marketed to a larger consumer base and by competing for a coveted window display in Bergdorf’s for the upcoming Christmas season. While she attempts to step up her game professionally, she also has to deal with several dramatic changes to her personal life. A man, Roman Falconi, a chef in one of Little Italy’s hottest new restaurants, takes an interest in her and they start dating. Not too long after, Valentine’s father is tragically diagnosed with prostate cancer. As the expectations in her life continue to build and build, she takes a business break and jets off to Italy with her grandmother for shoemaking supplies. She’s disarmed by how much the trip relaxes her; her grandmother opens up to her like never before and she meets Gianluca, a man who makes her question her new relationship back home. Will her shoes win the window? Which man will she end up with?

Very Valentine by Adriana Trigiani is a light and quick read. This book is full of fashion, romance, and class. You’ll be disarmed by just how much you’ll enjoy this title. Trigiani accurately captures the craziness of a close-knit Italian family, the whirlwind and confusion of a brand new love, and the professional frustrations of a working artist. She is strongest when she delves into the intricacies of the shoemaking profession, highlighting little known facts about what goes in to making the perfect pair of pumps. If you’re looking for a great inside scoop into the Greenwich Village and Little Italy area of New York City, the book also mentions and features many real-life locations. The descriptions of the food are mouth-watering, and the recent paperback release features many new recipes you can try making at home. I recommend Very Valentine; In fact, I think you’ll fall in love with it.

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