Synopses & Reviews
It is 1950 in glittering, vibrant New York City. Lucia Sartori is the beautiful twenty-five-year-old daughter of a prosperous Italian grocer in Greenwich Village. The postwar boom is ripe with opportunities for talented girls with ambition, and Lucia becomes an apprentice to an up-and-coming designer at chic B. Altman's department store on Fifth Avenue. Engaged to her childhood sweetheart, the steadfast Dante DeMartino, Lucia is torn when she meets a handsome stranger who promises a life of uptown luxury that career girls like her only read about in the society pages. Forced to choose between duty to her family and her own dreams, Lucia finds herself in the midst of a sizzling scandal in which secrets are revealed, her beloved career is jeopardized, and the Sartoris' honor is tested.
"This heartwarming tale is full of lessons about taking risks in life and love." Cosmopolitan
"[A] riveting story, a believable protagonist....[P]opulated with lovable but sheltered characters....Trigiani can spin a good tale that could happen anywhere." Rebecca Sodergren, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
"Delightfully quirky...chock-full of engaging, oddball characters and unexpected plot twists." People
"Everything that really matters is here: humor, romance, wisdom, and drama." The Dallas Morning News
"This is an engaging, well-told tale about life's unexpected twists and turns, the ways that even small choices have large repercussions and the hopeful notion that sometimes, when you least expect it, you can find happiness." Publishers Weekly
"More like a big, sloppy wet kiss to Greenwich Village than anything as mundane and unromantic as a novel....Silly but romantic stuff, written in a state of never-ending swoon." Kirkus Reviews
"Fast-moving, funny, visual, and moving....A vibrant, loving, wistful portrait of a lost time and place. Every page is engrossing and begs us to read the next." Richmond Times-Dispatch
"A highly diverting if massively flawed poolside page-turner....Lucia, Lucia should soar. Instead, it eventually sinks under the weight of its own hubris." Tim O'Reilly, Dallas-Ft. Worth Star Telegram
"Trigiani does a wonderful job evoking Lucia's beloved, homey Greenwich Village and the couture-clad Upper East Side....But the characters, hampered by largely one-note personalities, remain sketches." J.L. Johnson, Boston Herald
"Trigiani offers an inviting picture of Italian family life as well as a finely detailed appreciation of Old World craftsmanship, whether it be clothing or cooking." Booklist
"[T]here's something strangely refreshing in picking up a book about a Katherine Gibbs graduate...and wondering what she'll wear to the Club Room at the Waldorf-Astoria on New Year's Eve." Dorothea Straus, Baltimore Sun
"[A]n easy-flowing, low-maintenance, convenient novel....Much like the new dresses that flowed into B. Altman's, no complicated pleats, tucks or padding are found here. It's as predicable as the trusty black dress." Ana Caban, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
"Trigiani's writing is as dazzling as Lucia's dresses." USA Today
"[An] enchanting new novel....A testament to the power of familial love and friendship....Perhaps [this] is Trigiani's greatest gift to her reader: the recognition that devotion, loyalty, and forgiveness will ultimately win the day." BookPage
"This is your perfect summer read. Trust us. Put a good reading light on in your backyard...and read your little heart out, deep into the night." Millbrook Voice Ledger (NY)
"Once Lucia gets going, her compelling story not to mention the decadent descriptions of high-society fashion and her family's Italian cooking makes for a breezy read. (Grade: B-)" Entertainment Weekly
Trigiani transports readers to magical 1950s New York in this deeply compelling story of a charismatic young woman who falls in love with a man who rocks the foundations of her family, and ultimately changes the entire course of her life.
About the Author
Adriana Trigiani grew up in Virginia and now lives in New York City with her husband. She is an award-winning playwright, television writer, and documentary filmmaker. She is currently at work on the film version of her first novel, Big Stone Gap, for which she wrote the screenplay and which she will also direct.
Reading Group Guide
1. Why do you think the novel begins in the present before telling Lucia’s story in flashback? Is this an effective way to relate Lucia’s story? How do you think your reading or interpretation of the novel is affected as a result of partially knowing the story’s ending?
2. Lucia, Lucia is set in 1950s Greenwich Village. Discuss how Trigiani portrays the neighborhood, especially in contrast to its usual bohemian image.
3. On page 45, Lucia’s father tells her, “You deserve your own life.” Do you think Lucia eventually gets her own life, or is what happens to her the result of circumstances beyond her control? Overall, how much is Lucia free of her traditions? How much is she a captive to them?
4. What role do the men in Lucia’s family—her father and brothers— play in shaping her life and her destiny?
5. What’s behind Lucia’s decision to stay at home and care for her mother despite the opportunity to advance her career? Also, why does she stay on at B. Altman’s despite having to change positions and the changes in the store? Is it only because she has to care for her mother, or are there other factors?
6. Why do you think Lucia keeps all of her wedding presents in her apartment and continues to wear her mink coat? What doyou think Lucia’s life was like in the years after being jilted by John Talbot until the time she tells her story to Kit?
7. Religion plays a large role in shaping the Sartoris’ behavior and customs, as well as the behavior of those closest to them. What is Lucia’s view of religion and faith, especially during her and her family’s various trials?
8. Dante and John Talbot love Lucia in different ways. Discuss the ways they both love her and the different ways she loves them back. Does Lucia have a true love? Given her experiences, what do you think is Lucia’s view of love?
9. How do you think Lucia’s life would have turned out if she had married John Talbot? If she had married Dante? Do you think Lucia would have been happier if she’d moved to Hollywood to work with Delmarr?
10. On page 249, Lucia tells Kit that people don’t change very much in their lives. Do you think Lucia changes? If so, how?
11. While in Lucia’s apartment (page 10) Kit feels as if she’s in a room filled with things with meaning but no purpose. Do you think this in any way symbolizes Lucia’s life, or is this only Kit’s superficial impression of Lucia?
12. Why does Lucia choose to bestow her things on Kit? Is Kit like Lucia? Does Lucia see some of herself in Kit, or vice versa?
13. Lucia believes in beauty, style, and elegance. Do these qualities betray her or do they give her life meaning?
14. Do you think there is any truth in John Talbot’s saying to Lucia that she is a woman who can survive being left at the altar (page 255), or is he just making excuses for himself?
15. In her last meeting with John Talbot in the state prison, Lucia seems unusually poised and equanimous throughout their con- versation. Are you surprised either by her composure or by her attitude toward him?
16. What do you think are Lucia’s dreams? On page 256, Lucia says that she has no regrets over the events in her life. Do you believe her? Do you think Lucia has led a happy life?