Very Valentine by Adriana Trigiani
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Pub. Date: February 2009
I have a confession to make. I’m a bit of a book snob. I have a tendency to reach for chunksters that deal with seriously heavy subject matter. It’s like exercise for my brain. However, when Jennifer over at Book Club Girl announced a Blog Talk show with Adriana Trigiani, I had to participate. First off, I love the shows that Book Club Girl hosts. Secondly, I figured I would step outside of my box a bit and try a book that I would never have picked up on my own.
I’m so glad I did.
Reading this book was like taking a vacation without leaving the comfort of my home. The story takes us to Greenwich Village where Valentine works as a cobbler, for a shoe company that she runs with her Gram. The workplace also happens to be her home as the building is situated with living space on top and even includes a beautiful rooftop garden. Trigiani takes much care to describe the environment to the reader. The smell of the leather, the oils used to keep them supple, etc. As I was reading about the shoe designs, I could SEE them in my mind as they were painted so vividly upon the page. I really enjoyed the descriptive detail.
Valentine, who is the only single sister left in a large Italian family, meets Roman Falconi. He’s a chef for an up and coming restaurant in a very trendy neighborhood. Much of their time together is spent in his restaurant. He shares his passion for cooking by preparing exquisite meals for them to enjoy together. Reading these sections was like indulging in a decadent meal but without the guilt! As good as it is though, Valentine begins to question if their relationship can make it.
At the same time, Gram reveals to Valentine that the business is not doing so well, and its fate suddenly falls on Valentine to save it. In an attempt to do so, Valentine and Gram decide to design a custom shoe to submit to a big department store in the hopes of revitalizing the brand. They head to Arezzo, located in the south-east end of Tuscany to search for the materials needed, and while there, Valentine learns of a secret that her Gram has been hiding for nearly a decade.
I don’t want to share too much more of the plot but I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I loved the “big family” aspect and that all the women were so strong yet vulnerable at the same time. As I was reading this book it reminded me of two movies: My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002) and Only You (1994). If you’ve seen these movies and enjoyed them, you will definitely enjoy Very Valentine.
Guess what? Very Valentine is the first book in a trilogy! I’m so looking forward to reading the other two novels as I really adored the characters and can’t wait to find out what Trigiani has planned for them. If you shy away from traditional chick lit, give this book a try. It’s much more than a boy-meets-girl type of story. I think you will enjoy it.
If you’d like to learn more about Adriana Trigiani, click here.
To listen to Book Club Girl’s Blog Talk show with Adriana Trigiani click here.