Friday, April 9, 2010

Review #56 and #57: Very Valentine and Brava, Valentine by Adriana Trigiani

Title: Very Valentine and Brava, Valentine
Author: Adriana Trigiani
Publisher: Harper Collins
Genre: Fiction
Format: Review Copies for TLC Book Tours
ISBN: 978-0-06-125706-3/978-0-06-125707-0
Price/Pages: $14.99/367: $25.99/352
Release Date: VV out in paperback, BV out in hardcover

Sneak peak of Very Valentine

My Review and Description:

I almost said no to reviewing these books due to having a TBR mountain that currently surrounds my house. But I consulted my pal Cheryl and she read Very Valentine while I was deciding and said I would love it! And boy, was she right. I don't even think love is a strong enough word for how these two books made me feel.

Adriana Trigiani is a well known author in the world of bookselling. I've shelved her through the years, I've seen book groups buy her up, and I've seen her hit the bestseller charts. Has any of this compelled me to read her sooner? No and that makes me a moron.

But late is better than never!

I loved these books for three very specific reasons. But first I will give you a little description of them. The books are told from the perspective of Valentine Roncalli. She is a single, thirty something Italian American woman living in New York's Greenwich Village. She also is an apprentice to her grandmother at the Angelini Shoe Company, a family shoe making business started back in 1903. They live and work in the same old building down in the village that has been the home of her Grandmother for over 50 years.

Along with Valentine and Tedora, her 84 year old Grandmother, is the extended family; her married sisters, her anal brother, her "fabulous" mother and her dead pan father. Along with a charming gay man as her best friend and a new hunky chef as her love interest, Valentine's life is far from boring. But trouble settles in when the family business is faced with debt they can not pay, tensions between Valentine and her brother escalate, health scares arise and love seems to be too complicated to juggle when you are independent and career minded.

Here are the reasons I loved these books:

1. Valentine and her Grandma Tedora
Though my friend Cheryl warned be before hand that this was a story of a close relationship between a Granddaughter and a Grandma, I jumped in anyway. It turned out to be really good therapy for me to remember the good times I had with my own Grandma. (For those of you new to my blog, my 94 year old Grandma passed away in early February and we were very close). Tedora and Valentine had a wonderful relationship. Tedora taught Valentine everything she knew about the shoe making business. They lived together, shared together, and worked hard together. And Tedora was a spit fire and I loved that!

2. Greenwich Village and Little Italy
I am a huge fan of New York City and have visited many times. I am SO excited to go to BEA and the Book Blogger Convention in May that I am having NYC dreams all the time. These books, especially the first one, really set up the scene really well. Trigiani's description of the city and the neighborhoods and the feel of NYC really came through. You could envision yourself there while reading.

3. The Fashion and Food
So I don't know Dolce from Gabbana or hell, The Gap from Old Navy but I LOVE to read about fashion. It just makes it all seem so important. Instead of saying I wearing a striped purple shirt, I could say I am wearing a Route 66 blouse with vertical flare. Cool, huh?
Trigiani really pays attention to the art of fashion, starting and focusing mostly on shoes (because the family business) but also extending to what each character wears. That extra attention to detail added beautifully to each character and gave you a better visual of them.
And the food, well, NYC is a hotbed of awesome food. Valentine begins a relationship with a chef and their dinners are laid out for us with such detail, i almost licked the book.
Also, you get to be a fly on the wall of a very traditional Italian American family and the simplest of snacks they munch on equal delicacy in my eyes.

Combine all three of these and you get perfection, in my opinion. These books came at such the perfect time for me, I simply sunk myself in. I got the warmth of a caring Grandma, the edge of a ambitious yet struggling 30something woman (hello? familiar...), the crazy I-can't-take-them-out-in-public family and New York, New York (cue Frank Sinatra).
You can't go wrong with these books. Set to be a triology, Adriana Trigiani has hit gold and I will tell everyone I know that this is my new go to recommend. !

Check out the above links for more info. If for some crazy reason they don't work, check out Adriana's website here.

Rating: 6 stars/ 6 stars!
I think my review says it all. They knocked my socks off! A definite recommend and ones that I will own and keep and pass around until they are worn and falling apart.

Happy Reading to you all and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

ps. Oh and it comes with recipes. Hello? You can't go wrong!


Julie@My5monkeys said...

must add to the reading pile and I love books when you remember those special people in your life. I love to read about fashio too.

Cheryl said...

so glad you loved these! and I'm always happy to preview a chick lit for you.

Tales of Whimsy said...

Recipes always make a book better for me :D

WonderBunny said...

Great review. I have something on my kindle by this author but haven't gotten to reading it yet (I have one of those apartment filling tbr collections plus I have a kindle too). I might need to read the book I have sooner rather the later though, thanks for letting me know you loved this author.

Teresa said...

These are on my TBR list. Great review.

Stacy at The Novel Life said...

sounds totally awesome!!!!
and i love the idea of recipes, yummy, yummy, yummy!!!

Jenny said...

You and I already talked about it but I think I will have to pick up this book again! And I'm so glad someone else is as excited as me about NYC!!

Christine said...

Yet another wonderfully written review, Michelle! I would have never paid much mind to these books if you had not pointed them out to me with such verve in your reviews. I'll be looking for them for sure.

I'm so glad the stories comforted you with thoughts of your grandma. That's so sweet. xo

Michelle (Red Headed Book Child) said...

Thanks everyone for commenting. I hope you all get a chance to pick Adriana up at some point and when you do, let me know what you think!

Christine, I really did and still do have such a sweet warm feeling now when I think of these books and it really is because of my Grams. I like that. :)

Kristin said...

Great review...I already read both of these and loved them. Now I want to go back and read some of her older stuff.

By the way - love the new layout!