I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Very Valentine by Adriana Trigiani
Also by this author: Brava, Valentine
Series: Valentine #1
Also in this series: Brava, Valentine
Published by HarperCollins on 2009-02-03
Buy on Amazon
Meet the Roncalli and Angelini families, a vibrant cast of colorful characters who navigate tricky family dynamics with hilarity and brio, from magical Manhattan to the picturesque hills of bella Italia. Very Valentine is the first novel in a trilogy and is sure to be the new favorite of Trigiani's millions of fans around the world. In this luscious, contemporary family saga, the Angelini Shoe Company, makers of exquisite wedding shoes since 1903, is one of the last family-owned businesses in Greenwich Village. The company is on the verge of financial collapse. It falls to thirty-three-year-old Valentine Roncalli, the talented and determined apprentice to her grandmother, the master artisan Teodora Angelini, to bring the family's old-world craftsmanship into the twenty-first century and save the company from ruin. While juggling a budding romance with dashing chef Roman Falconi, her duty to her family, and a design challenge presented by a prestigious department store, Valentine returns to Italy with her grandmother to learn new techniques and seek one-of-a-kind materials for building a pair of glorious shoes to beat their rivals. There, in Tuscany, Naples, and on the Isle of Capri, a family secret is revealed as Valentine discovers her artistic voice and much more, turning her life and the family business upside down in ways she never expected. Very Valentine is a sumptuous treat, a journey of dreams fulfilled, a celebration of love and loss filled with Trigiani's trademark heart and humor.
Very Valentine by Adriana Trigiani weaves together themes of family, romance, food, and shoes. Valentine Roncalli is in her mid-30s, lives with her Grandmother, and makes shoes for a living. Within her family, she has the identity of being the funny one who uses humor to deal with the myriad of things life throws at her. Although Valentine has the role as the family comedian, don’t go into Very Valentine expecting a hilarious romp. Rather, expect to see plenty of family interactions as well as a dash of romance.
The premise of Very Valentine by Adriana Trigiani is that the family shoe company is failing. People no longer care to spend extra money on custom-made shoes. Valentine, company apprentice/partner, must find a way to turn the company around before her lame-o brother can sell off the property which is worth some big money. Along the way, Valentine eats great food, experiences love, heart ache, and must make some excruciating choices with her priorities.
I actually really enjoyed Trigiani’s writing style. I think she does interactions with family members well. I will admit to seeing reviews on goodreads complain about the amount of detail she uses, but to me, I found that enhanced the story. For example, she would describe what this character, Roman — a chef who is Valentine’s love interest– has cooked and I would feel myself salivate. I also feel that I learned a bit about shoe-making, without those details, I would have been in the dark as to how much work really does go into a custom shoe.
As for Valentine’s family, they are stereotypical Italians. They are loud, dramatic, and eat excellent food. They also tend to be fiercely loyal and quite close to each other. It was awesome getting a glimpse of them at events like weddings, and family dinners. To me, it was easy to picture how much they loved each other. It’s nice seeing a supportive family in fiction – instead of one rife with problems.
The romance added a nice dimension, but I felt it to be a bit disappointing. I did really like Roman at first, but then some of his actions led me to wonder what exactly Valentine was thinking by dating him. I mean, she could do better. I guess with Roman, I didn’t feel that second-hand sizzle. No worries though, because Trigiani did wrap it up very nicely.