Adriana Trigiani describes the haunting beauty of the Italian Alps so well you can smell the crisp mountain air and hear the ringing of the chapel bells. Here in these humble mountain towns prior to WWI we meet Enza, a practical oldest daughter, and Ciro, a strapping mountain boy. They briefly meet as teenagers, despite growing up in villages just a few miles apart. Due to forces beyond their control both teens end up traveling to America separately. Ciro, as his only chance of escaping a vindictive priest and Enza to save her family’s future. But neither know the other has left for America.
Ciro masters shoemaking and Enza takes a factory job in Hoboken when they again are briefly reunited. But Ciro has volunteered to serve in World War I and Enza is determined to forge a life of her own, begins a career as a seamstress at the Metropolitan Opera House at the time of the great tenor, Enrico Caruso.
Will they ever find love and success? Is true love with each other or someone else and what does it mean to succeed? All these questions are answered in this historical epic that sweeps you from the Italian mountain peaks, to bustling New York City to the mountains of Minnesota in the early 1900s.