This book is a book that I always saw and wanted to read. When I found it at the thrift store for .25 cents. I thought I hit the jackpot. Then, I read the book.
The synopsis from goodreads:
“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”
My first problem came from probably not actually reading the full synopsis because it is long. Also because it is long it seems like it would have spoilers.
My espectation: The Shoemaker’s Wife would be an epic tale of a shoemaker building his empire. That it would be filled with his love of the craft of shoe making. Basically shoes would be what carpet making is for The Blood of Flowers by Anita Amirrezvani. I thought that it would be more historical fiction.
In reality: It started off good. I knew immediately it would not be a five or four star book but I liked it. At first I cared about the character and where the story was going. Then I hit the fifty or so percent mark and something happened that bothered me.The main characters forgot confessions and realizations. When I thought about it the story fell apart. The author said that The Shoemakers Wife is about her grandparents which makes me understand why the story went how it went. It fell apart and felt like it should have ended 200 pages early.Two hundred pages of the same thing over and over again. It wanted to be epic but was not. The romance was supposed to be epic but their romance became anticlimactic. Generally everything was not developed to me. One thing that was good but not good is the time jumps. If I did not like a certain time period it would end in a few chapters or pages. But towards the ending I wanted certain things to be focused on more. I became bitter the last 200 pages because it got boring. Then I really did not care what happened to the characters. I held on for a small piece of hope that it would redeem itself and it was only 200 pages left. It had so much potential. It failed.
Books that in my opinion did it better:
In epicness– The Street of A Thousand Blossoms by Gail Tsukiyama
In being long but good-Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry
Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
In loving a craft- The Blood of Flowers by Anita Amirrezvani