Adriana Trigiani’s “The Shoemaker’s Wife” is a must read if you enjoy historical fiction. The book was 20 years in the making and what a book it is.
The book spans two continents, four decades, two world wars, and two families whose chance meeting on a mountaintop in the Alps sets the pace for the adventures and misadventures of the main characters. It follows the Lazzari and Ravanelli families, most specifically Ciro Lazzari and Vincenza (Enza) Ravanelli from childhood through adulthood. The day to day life is enriched with the colorful and detailed descriptions of home, work and life for Ciro and Enza. The newly married couple strike out on their own to the Upper Midwest of America to the town where Ciro’s father lost his life. In the end, father provided for son in a most fitting way.
My father was a shoemaker for 30 years, so the title intrigued me immediately. Not to mention, Adriana Trigiani has become one of my favorite authors, also.
Terri Blackstock does an excellent job of weaving a tangled web of clues for the reader to use in figuring out who framed Jay in his soon-to-be ex-wife’s murder. Jay’s three sisters and ex-cop guy-friend form a motley crew who take in all the clues and head in a totally different direction than the police. Can they figure it out in time to save Jay’s five-year-old son? This book was a page turner. I would say more, but I don’t want to ruin anything!! Enjoy!
Milk Glass Moon, third in the Big Stone Gap series, continues the life story of Ave Maria Mullilgan MacChesney. Her family and friends grow up, experience heartache and crisis, and fall in love. Mother and daughter, Ave Maria and Etta, move to a new level in their relationship, one of love and leaving. The characters continue to be as ordinary as they come, making you think you could look within your own circle of friends and see some just like them. Trigiani brings these characters alive with down home humor and everyday happenings written with that southern tone that sets the mood for a good read, once again.
This second book in the Big Stone Gap series focuses on Ave Maria Mulligan’s life after several years of marriage to Jack MacChesney, two children, and a shift in their relationship. A trip to Italy, the “old country”, brings her face to face with who she is and who she wants to be. The characters are endearing; some odd, some ambitious, some just like friends we all have. Their experiences are normal, although Trigiani writes as if they are special and unique. Five stars, again.
Ave Maria Mulligan, the self-proclaimed town spinster of Big Stone Gap, is the town pharmacist, part of the Rescue Squad, and director of the town’s outdoor drama. She discovers a family secret after her mother passes away and life changes for her forever. She has much to learn about her family and herself. And, for most of us, it’s never too late for that.
You’ll love how Trigiani intertwines the ancient art of face reading into her book and weaves the characters lives together. This is a delightful read. I’ve read the series (four in all) and couldn’t wait to get the next one in my hands to see where these characters were going. Five stars.
I sincerely wish someone had suggested Adriana Trigiani to me before I just happened to stumble upon her at Missouri River Regional Library. I am truly transported to the place and era for which she is writing and it’s so refreshing to escape the toils of the world we live in today with characters such as these.
When a horrifying attack leaves one of the four members of the Women’s Murder Club struggling for her life, the others fight to keep a madman behind bars before anyone else is hurt. And Lindsay Boxer and her new partner in the San Francisco police department run flat-out to stop a series of kidnappings that has electrified the city: children are being plucked off the streets together with their nannies– but the kidnappers aren’t demanding ransom.
I like these books, even though they aren’t particularly deep, they are fun.
The two volumes of this book are a fascinating and highly enjoyable read for anyone interested in the interactions between various pulp, mystery, adventure, and science fiction characters with real people throughout history. The premise of this book is inspired by SF writer Philip José Farmer’s “Wold Newton” concept which he developed in the 1970s: a “radioactive” meteorite crashed near Wold Newton, England in 1795 and affected several carriages full of people who were passing by. Their descendants became highly intelligent and powerful heroes (or villains) such as Sherlock Holmes, Professor Moriarty, Dr. Fu Manchu, Doc Savage, Lord Greystoke (aka Tarzan), and many more. Farmer wrote popular and detailed biographies of Tarzan and Doc Savage in which he detailed the family trees of many “Wold Newton Family” characters. Over time, the concept has been expanded and continued by others into the Crossover Universe. Win Scott Eckert has done a fantastic job of compiling references to literary heroes who have met each other (or “crossed over”) and had adventures together, and thus co-exist in the same fictional universe. Volume 1 covers the dawn of time up through 1939, and Volume 2 covers 1940 into the far future. Reading these two books is a fun and highly addictive experience!
With all of the negative media attention the Middle East has gotten lately, it is sometimes hard to separate the good people from the evil. Zahra’s Paradise, although fictional, is a good way to bring what is happening over there back into perspective. This story served as a representation of what many Iranian families went through during the revolution and are going through now under a corrupted Islamic Republic. Most of the Middle East we see in the media is a bunch of angry extremists yelling and marching and burning the American flag. This story is an attempt to show Iranians are a compassionate people (no matter their religion, age, or sex) and have a strong desire to live in freedom. Their leaders are the ones who have turned religion into a cover for gaining wealth and power. Not everyone in Iran likes their country, not even Muslims as the book reveals, but they are forced to, or risk possible prison time or execution.
Basically, this heart-wrenching story is about a mother and her son (the narrator) who journey together throughout Tehran in search of Mehdi, their son and brother. Along the way, the reader is introduced to the horrors of Iran. From prisons to hospitals, morgues to cemeteries, the reader is reminded that what is shown on American news is unrelated to what Iranians go through every day. Most have no time to “hate America” or protest in the streets about the Western world. The book actually makes light of this generalization at some point. Many, as we do here in the US, are simply trying to live. What this book does is show that humanity lies even in the darkest corners of the world despite the way it is represented as a whole.
The two authors withholding their names (for very obvious reasons) kind of makes the fear Iranians live in every day that much more realistic for me. In the end of the book is a large list of people who have died under the Islamic Republic. Kinda goes to show that as far as the effects of war on a country go, we haven’t even seen the tip of the iceberg yet domestically.
I love the television show, The Walking Dead on AMC, so it stands to reason I would want to read the graphic novels too. This compendium covers the first eight novels into one economical book. This means you can sit in your chair, grab a beverage, read all night long then call in sick for work. The story follows Rick Grimes who awakens from a coma alone in a hospital to find the world ruled by the undead. Rick finds his family with a group of people and they embark on a journey for survival and trying to find a way to have as normal as a life possible in this hideous world. Even though the story involves zombies it is more human interaction and how people relate to one another in desperate times. I enjoyed it very much.
We all have secrets we keep to ourselves. Dr. David Henry lived with a secret all his life. When his wife gives birth to twins he discovers the girl has Down’s syndrome while the boy is normal. In the 60′s it was believed that any one with Down’s would have many medical problems and would be labeled retarded. So he gives his daughter to his assistant Caroline and tells her to take her to an institution. He then tells his wife their daughter has died. Caroline also has a secret. She keeps the baby and raises her as her own. It’s a bittersweet story about life and why we live the lives we choose to live. We have to except the choices we make.
Alternating between the time of the actual shooting in May and in September when Valerie goes back to school (the present), this book is about a school shooting, but mostly about a teenage girl and her struggle to understand herself. Valerie is just like any other outcast. She dresses in dark colors, wears heavy eyeliner, likes the opposite of what other students enjoy. However, she is also just like any other teenage high school student as well. She is madly in love with a guy who seems to share the same interests with her and get what she is going through. She likes to go to parties, hang out with friends, go to movies. The only problem Valerie has is, the guy she is, was in love with murdered around 6 of her classmates and permanently scarred dozens more. What’s worse, most blame her for the shooting, saying she played a crucial role in the horrible event, feeding her guilt about the whole situation.
This book makes you think about who you were at age 16, who you hated, who hated you, if you were made fun of, how it made you feel. Pretty much all the insecurities you experienced at that age are dredged up. This book made me understand how serious and out of control bullying can be and that sometimes, it’s not just the bullies that are wrong. Valerie, relentlessly picked on suffers from intense anger issues as a result of her being bullied. Coming up with a hate list, as a way to “deal with” her anger, she writes down anyone or anything in the book that ticks her off. Sadly, her self absorbing and selfish personality fails to understand the effect her anger has on her boyfriend, Nick, who takes the bully victim thing to a whole other level. It outlines Valerie’s hatred for herself after the shooting, her guilt and pain, and the realization that she has to be able to accept and forgive herself before others are willing to do so. Although everything ended up being sunshine and rainbows and she was accepted back into the fold just in time for graduation, the book was very good overall. Even though things may have not worked out so perfectly in the end for someone like Valerie if she really existed, this book would really connect with someone who has been bullied or has been a bully as a teen.
Not as good as “To Kill a Mockingbird”. Reading the backcover blurb kinda ruined it for me, providing too much negative foreshadowing. Also hard to identify with characters who turn away from the juicyness of learning and knowledge (let alone a chance at postmodernism).