Adriana Trigiani's just released the paperback edition of Very Valentine, the first in the series featuring Valentine Roncalli. Harper Collins is sponsoring a giveaway of 3 copies of Adriana Trigiani's Very Valentine, the first in the series.
"Valentine, I am eighty years old on my next birthday. How much longer can I..." She stops and reconsiders what she is trying to say. "You do most of what needs to be done around here in the shop, in the house, and even in the garden."
"And I love it so much I'll be a burden to you all your life," I joke. "The last single woman in our family sleeping in your spare room."
"Not for now and forever. You will fall in love again." She raises her glass to me.
My grandmother has a way of encouraging me that is so gentle, it is only when I'm alone and reflective that I am able to recall her small turns of phrase that eventually shore me up and help me move forward. When she says, You will fall in love again, she means it, and also recognizes that I was once in love with a good man, Brett Fitzpatrick, and it was real. I had planned a future with him, and when it did not work out, she was the only person in my life who said it wasn't supposed to. Everyone else (my sisters, my mother, and my friends) assumed he wasn't enough or maybe he was too much, or maybe ours was a first love that wasn't meant to go the distance,but no one else was able to put it in perspective so I might make it a chapter in the story of my life, and not the definitive denouement of my romantic history.
-Very Valentine by Adriana Trigiani
In Very Valentine, Adriana Trigiani first introduces us to Valentine Roncalli and her lively and memorable Italian American family. The book opens at Valentine's sister's wedding and predictably, Valentine is surrounded by pitying looks for her unmarried state and compliments on her decision to "help her grandmother" with the family business. But these are the impressions of outsiders - Valentine loves her life.
Valentine, the self-described "Funny One" of the three Roncalli sisters, takes us to the beautiful building in the middle of Greenwich Village that serves as her home and the center of the Angelini Shoe Company. The workshop, the upstairs apartment, and the gorgeous roof deck all have the details and handmade improvements that have served the Angelini family for over 100 years and are used well everyday. It's in this workshop and home that Teodora Angelini teaches her granddaughter Valentine the techniques and skills to design and create one-of-a-kind shoes using the same tools and methods that she learned from her Italian husband and his family. Valentine loves her work, so when she discovers that the company is facing insolvency, things come to a head.
While Valentine's brother pushes Teodora to sell the building in Greenwich Village and to live comfortably off of the proceeds, Valentine solicits the help of an old friend to find other ways to pay off the looming bank loans. Valentine's solution is to expand Angelini Shoe Company's product line - to find a shoe that will go beyond their custom line and that can reach out to ordinary women. When Valentine and her grandmother are invited to participate in a design competition at Bergdorf Goodman, things start to pick up.
Valentine's love life has started to blossom as well with the attentions of gorgeous and charming Roman Falconi, chef and owner of a hot new restaurant in Manhattan. The only downside is that Roman, like Valentine, runs his own business. They don't get to spend enough time with each other - she's busy at their workshop and he's constantly at his restaurant.
Teodora invites Valentine on her annual trip to Italy - she can meet the suppliers and other shoe designers and makers. And Roman has planned a special week in Capri so that they can focus on each other for a change. The trip in la belle Italia turns Valentine's life upside down and brings her much more than she could have imagined.
Very Valentine was my first Adriana Trigiani novel and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Valentine and Teodora take us to those cobblestone streets of Greenwich Village and give us a glimpse into what it must have been like to live there before it became fashionable. As Valentine takes us to her haunts in Manhattan, it's easy to get drawn into the magic of her life. I found myself hoping that she'd somehow prove her brother wrong and turn the company around.
I love the way Valentine describes her early relationship with Roman, just as she tries to keep things together:
"Despite the depth of my feelings (and his), I sometimes wonder how we can build a relationship when we hardly see each other. I remember reading an interview with Katherine Hepburn. She said that a woman's job in a relationship with a man was to be adorable. I attempt to be a no-fuss, stress-free, supportive girlfriend who is more than aware of the pressures he has at work, so I don't pile on more. To be fair, he does the same for me. I figure as long as we're both in the same place, I imagine this arrangement will work just fine and get us to the next level (whatever that is)."
Very Valentine gives us a story of self discovery, sisterhood, friendship, love, and New York. Very Valentine is a witty, touching, and satisfying read!
ISBN-10: 0061257060 - Paperback $14.99
Publisher: Harper Paperbacks; Reprint edition (January 5, 2010), 416 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher and TLC Book Tours.
About the Author, courtesy of the publisher:
Adriana Trigiani is the bestselling author of the Big Stone Gap series and the bestselling novels Lucia, Lucia; The Queen of the Big Time; and Rococo; as well as Viola in Reel Life, the first book in a new young adult series. She has written and will direct the big-screen version of her first novel, Big Stone Gap. She lives in New York City with her husband and daughter. Learn more on Adriana Trigiani's website at http://www.adrianatrigiani.com/
Listen to Adriana Trigiani discuss Very Valentine on Blog Talk Radio.
The second in the series, Brava, Valentine was released hardcover on February 9, 2010.
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