Synopses & Reviews
The majestic and haunting beauty of the Italian Alps is the setting of the first meeting of Enza, a practical beauty, and Ciro, a strapping mountain boy, who meet as teenagers, despite growing up in villages just a few miles apart. At the turn of the last century, when Ciro catches the local priest in a scandal, he is banished from his village and sent to hide in America as an apprentice to a shoemaker in Little Italy. Without explanation, he leaves a bereft Enza behind. Soon, Enza's family faces disaster and she, too, is forced to go to America with her father to secure their future.
Unbeknownst to one another, they both build fledgling lives in America, Ciro masters shoemaking and Enza takes a factory job in Hoboken until fate intervenes and reunites them. But it is too late: Ciro has volunteered to serve in World War I and Enza, determined to forge a life without him, begins her impressive career as a seamstress at the Metropolitan Opera House that will sweep her into the glamorous salons of Manhattan and into the life of the international singing sensation, Enrico Caruso.
From the stately mansions of Carnegie Hill, to the cobblestone streets of Little Italy, over the perilous cliffs of northern Italy, to the white-capped lakes of northern Minnesota, these star-crossed lovers meet and separate, until, finally, the power of their love changes both of their lives forever.
Lush and evocative, told in tantalizing detail and enriched with lovable, unforgettable characters, The Shoemaker's Wife is a portrait of the times, the places and the people who defined the immigrant experience, claiming their portion of the American dream with ambition and resolve, cutting it to fit their needs like the finest Italian silk.
This riveting historical epic of love and family, war and loss, risk and destiny is the novel Adriana Trigiani was born to write, one inspired by her own family history and the love of tradition that has propelled her body of bestselling novels to international acclaim. Like Lucia, Lucia, The Shoemaker's Wife defines an era with clarity and splendor, with operatic scope and a vivid cast of characters who will live on in the imaginations of readers for years to come.
“Ive always loved reading Trigiani, but [this] is something totally new and completely wonderful: a rich, sweeping epic which tells the story of the women and men who built America dream by dream. If youre meeting her work for the first time, get ready for a lifelong love affair. Splendid.” < b=""> Kathryn Stockett, #1 < i=""> New York Times <> bestselling author of < i=""> The Help <> <>
“Trigianis gift for using vivid details to create a strong sense of place and her warm affection for her characters will make this a satisfying read for her many fans.” < b=""> < i=""> Library Journal <> <>
“This expansive epic, which seems tailor-made for a miniseries, manages to feel both old-fashioned and thoroughly contemporary…[an] irresistible love story.” < b=""> < i=""> Booklist <> <>
“The breathtaking… historical novel sparkles in exquisite details and vivid descriptions.” < b=""> < i=""> Huffington Post <> <>
“Within the pages of this novel, Trigianis 10th, is a gloriously romantic yet sensible world that seamlessly blends practicality and beauty…built around the staggering cultural and social changes the war years swept in…. Trigianis very best…exquisite writing and a story enriched by the power of abiding love.” < b=""> < i=""> USA Today <> <>
“The novel is a sweeping epic, but at its heart, its a love story. It speaks to an era of possibilities.” < b=""> < i=""> Providence Journal <> <>
“[A] great read….Bella.” < b=""> < i=""> People <> <>
“Youll have trouble putting this novel down.” < b=""> < i=""> Richmond Times-Dispatch <> <>
“Trigianis page-turning newest… is a sweeping saga… More than an epic romance, Trigianis work pays homage to the tribulations of the immigrant experience, and the love that makes the journey and hardships worthwhile.” < b=""> < i=""> Publishers Weekly <> <>
…an old-fashioned, romantic tale of two star-tangled lovers...but also a paean to artisanal work, food, friendship and family…Trigiani is a master of palpable and visual detail. < b=""> < i=""> Washington Post <> <>
“Pure pleasure . . . full-bodied and elegantly written.” < b=""> < i=""> Washington Post Book World <> <>
“Pure pleasure . . . full-bodied and elegantly written.” < b=""> < i=""> Washington Post Book World <> <>
—Entertainment Weekly "I have read 2014’s Best Novel and it is The Patron Saint of Ugly. Created, crafted and chronicled by the magnificent Marie Manilla, this written work of art will capture your mind, tug your heart-strings and enrich your very essence."
—Buried Under Books
"The Patron Saint of Ugly draws us deep into a world of everyday miracles, where grandmothers can transform themselves into nereids and granddaughters can heal the wounds of their family’s tangled past. This book is a divinely feminist celebration of the sacred synergy that exists between women."
—Feminism + Religion
"Beautifully written, filled with detailed prose meant to be savored, Manilla’s latest is a captivating reminder of the blurred line between myth and reality."
"A cleareyed, touching fable of a girl learning the hard truths about herself and others."
"Manilla’s second novel is clever, funny, heartbreaking, and heartwarming, all at once. . . A lovely, hopeful tale."
“A rich and complex novel…[that] lures the reader into a world where magic and serendipitous fortune hold hands with sadness, guilt, and family tragedy…There is not a scene rendered that is pale or slim on visual imagery. Each place and talisman is depicted with a vivid sense of color and emotion.”--Michaela Hansen, Front Porch Journal
"Marie Manilla’s novel is a boisterous dazzler, thick with humor and steeped in a rich mythology. The Patron Saint of Ugly packs a hard emotional punch without ever losing its charm or its hopeful heart."
—Joshilyn Jackson, bestselling author of Someone Else’s Love Story and Gods in Alabama
"The Patron Saint of Ugly is a vastly entertaining story of a reluctant saint, her indelible nonna, and their family's long history of love, trickery and transcendence. I can't imagine any reader not enjoying Manilla's sparkling tale, or the girl who tells it."
—Whitney Otto, author of How to Make an American Quilt
"With The Patron Saint of Ugly, Marie Manilla has written more than a novel: she's written what we used to call a tale. It's all here, folks, the whole world. How does Manilla write about God and history and love and loss and make it all so miraculously readable? How does she make this book so much fun, even as it breaks your heart? Beats me, but she did it. Plus which, anyone who can mention Buddy Holly and Pius XII in the same sentence is my hero."
—Daniel Wallace, author of Big Fish
"The Patron Saint of Ugly is steeped in magic — it will make you laugh, fill you with wonder and break your heart all at once. A rich and energetic tale of love, family, and the hazy lines between reality and myth."
—Zoe Ferraris, author of Finding Nouf
Beloved New York Times bestselling author Adriana Trigiani returns with the most epic and ambitious novel of her career—a breathtaking multigenerational love story that spans two continents, two World Wars, and the quest of two star-crossed lovers to find each other again. The Shoemaker's Wife is replete with the all the page-turning adventure, sumptuous detail, and heart-stopping romance that has made Adriana Trigiani, “one of the reigning queens of womens fiction” (USA Today). Fans of Trigianis sweeping family dramas like Big Stone Gap and Lucia, Lucia will love her latest masterpiece, a book Kathryn Stockett, author of The Help, calls “totally new and completely wonderful: a rich, sweeping epic which tells the story of the women and men who built America dream by dream.”
With its irresistible and irreverent blend of Southern Gothic and Sicilian "malocchio," a lush, exuberant tale of a reluctant saint, her unforgettable family, and the myriad difficulties (some real, some imagined) we all face when it comes to loving and being loved.
Born in Sweetwater, West Virginia, with a mop of flaming red hair and a map of the world rendered in port-wine stains on every surface of her body, Garnet Ferrari is used to being an outcast. With her sharp tongue, she has always known how to defend herself against bullies and aggressors, but she finds she is less adept at fending off the pilgrims who have set up a veritable tent city outside her hilltop home, convinced that she is Saint Garnet, healer of skin ailments and maker of miracles.
Her grandmother, the indelible Nonna Diamante, believes that Garnets mystical gift can be traced back to the familys origins in the Nebrodi Mountains of Sicily, and now the Vatican has sent an emissary to Sweetwater to investigate. Garnet, wanting nothing more than to debunk this “gift” and send these desperate souls packing, reaches back into her familys tangled past and unspools for the Church a tale of love triangles on the shores of the Messina Strait; a sad, beautiful maidens gilded-cage childhood in blueblood Virginia; and the angelic, doomed boy Garnet could not protect.
Saint or not, Garnet learns that the line between reality and myth is always blurred, and that the aspects of ourselves we are most ashamed of can prove to be the source of our greatest strength, and even our salvation.
Named one of Time magazine's most influential leaders of her generation, celebrated writer Rebecca Walker delivers her stunning debut noveland#8212;a heartbreaking, unforgettable love story in the tradition of Julian Barnes's The Sense of an Ending and Marguerite Duras's The Lover.
In this stunning debut novella, Rebecca Walker turns her attention to the power of love and the limitations of the human heart. When Farida, a sophisticated college student, falls in love with Adand#233;, a young Swahili man living on an idyllic island off the coast of Kenya, the two plan to marry and envision a simple life togetherand#8212;free of worldly possessions and concerns. But when Farida contracts malaria and finds herself caught in the middle of a civil war, reality crashes in around them. The loversand#8217; solitude is interrupted by a world in the throes of massive upheaval that threatens to tear them apart, along with all they cherish.
Haunting, exquisite, and certain to become a classic, Adand#233; will stay with you long after you put it down. This is a timeless love story set perfectly, heartbreakingly, in our time.
About the Author
Adriana Trigiani is beloved by millions of readers around the world for fifteen bestsellers, including the blockbuster epic The Shoemaker's Wife; the Big Stone Gap series; Lucia, Lucia; the Valentine series; the Viola series for young adults; and the bestselling memoir Don't Sing at the Table. Trigiani reaches new heights with All the Stars in the Heavens, an epic tale from the golden age of Hollywood. She is the award-winning filmmaker of the documentary Queens of the Big Time. Trigiani wrote and directed the major motion picture Big Stone Gap, based on her debut novel and filmed entirely on location in her Virginia hometown, to be released nationwide on October 9th, 2015. She lives in Greenwich Village with her family.