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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another fantastic page turner, 7 April 2005
This review is from: Queen of the Big Time (Paperback)
Following in the same vein as the enthralling 'Lucia, Lucia', this book follows the loves, the losses and the ever twisting fate of Nella Castelluca. Adriana Tragiani paints such vivid imagery with her words, so much so I really couldn't bare to put the book down. At times the story was heart warming and funny but also poignant and sad. I always felt great empathy with the lead character as the book meandered through the years of her life. If you enjoyed 'Lucia, Lucia' you will most certainly enjoy this book, at times it was a tad predictable but all the same, a wholly fabulous read.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A winner, 25 Oct. 2004
By 
Sandford "Sandy" (Kent, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Queen of the Big Time (Paperback)
A thoroughly enjoyable book, in my opinion as good as Adriana Trigiani's previous best-seller "Lucia, Lucia". I felt quickly drawn into the strong relationships of the Castelluca family, guided by the voice of the main character, Nella Castelluca. I love Adriana Trigiani's style of writing which flows so beautifully and is a delight to read. I had a real sense of young Nella's determination and wishes for her future, who, from the age of 14, has a clear focus on securing herself an education against all the odds facing her in the Pennsylvania of 1920's America. Nella lives with her parents and four sisters on a farm in Delabole, an isolated community 3 miles from the nearest town Roseto. She is drawn to the relatively cosmopolitan atmosphere of the town, enticing her away from the suffocation of her family's rural way of life.
Nella comments early, that her hunger for books lead her to a repeat reading of Jayne Eyre. I wondered how much she might have identified herself with Bronte's character. The part in the book where Nella agrees to be her elder sister Assunta's skivvy in "payment" for accompanying her on the 3 mile walk to school, shows her steely resolve and determination. The impression is, that Nella would indeed have endured much more to achieve what she wanted.
We experience Nella's first romantic involvement, her first "crush", with Renato, who is 7 years older than her. The episode where she finds herself unavoidably alone with Renato, and her "first ever kiss", is well written by Adriana Trigiani, bringing out not just the emotional maturity of Nella, but also her vulnerabilities and strengths. To cope in her stoic way with future personal and family crises, Nella will need to draw on these personal attributes. Nella is no wilting violet, and can hold her own with anyone, which is demonstrated in how she deals with the trials and tribulations that she has to confront throughout the book. As she states to a neighbour, Isador, in a confrontational episode, "If I have something to say, I say it" - what you see is what you get with this young lady.
The book is divided into 2 sections, firstly 1924-1927, and then picking up again when Nella is coming up for her 21st birthday, (the period 1931-1971). There are certainly some surprises in this section, one particularly which the reader is unlikely to foresee, but the shock of it would come over well on the big screen! - (tease over).
Although the years roll past rather quickly during the second section, particularly with a rather fleeting reference to the years of WW2, the structure of the text holds well, continuing to add depth to the main theme of Nella's life. Suffice it to say, that as a rather impoverished on-looker at the carnival in Roseto, when Renato steals that first kiss, Nella and her extended family play a much more accomplished and fulfilling role in the life of the town. Tragedies do occur, and a visit abroad is a painful one for Nella, as she is forced to re-evaluate her life, and how her dreams have got subsumed over the passing years to the practicalities of work and day-to-day existence - "....the past hangs over us like a low ceiling in a dark room". During this sojourn, Trigiani does over-do the use of coincidence, but I will allow her a concession for this in terms of resolving a major theme of the book, (but no hints as to what!). Suffice it to say, "What goes round comes round" for Nella. The author manages to bring all the strands of the book together at the end, and there is a real sense of a beginning and ending with this family saga.
Oh! And I dare anyone not to have at least a lump in their throat at the ending!!!
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another hit from Adriana Trigiani, 13 Aug. 2005
By 
Lucy Reynolds "Lucy" (West Midlands, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Queen of the Big Time (Paperback)
Adriana Trigiani has the ability to put the reader into the main character's shoes from the first line of the first page.
She possesses both the eloquence to describe life in a time that the reader can never have possibly experienced (unless the reader is 110, of course!), and the knack of making us feel the precise emotions that her characters feel.
The Queen of the Big Time is possibly the best Trigiani novel that I have read. It is both a life story and a love story which contains many twists and turns, encapturing the reader within the family of the Castelluca's.
Once you begin reading this, you won't want to put it down.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Have a kleenex handy., 22 Feb. 2006
This review is from: Queen of the Big Time (Paperback)
I have loved Adriana Trigiani's books ever since the 'Big Stone Gap' Trilogy. 'Lucia, Lucia' had been my favourite book, that was until I had read 'Queen Of The Big Time'. This book will make you go through all the emotions and you better make sure you have a box of Kleenex handy.
Following Nella throughout her life you can really feel her hopes, loves, disappointments and even regrets as she reflects on her life. She is a very strong character and although you feel her dislike of her bullying sister Assunta, you also realise her frailties with her and begin to feel sorry for her as Nella does. I also loved the other characters too and how they entered and became part of Nella's life.
This book will stay with you long after finishing it. A really wonderful read.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Queen of the book time, 15 May 2005
By 
Mrs. Carrie Bylett "babygirl bookworm" (Sutton, Surrey United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Queen of the Big Time (Paperback)
A book that makes you feel part of the story. It's not very often that a book can make you laugh and cry from reading the same page. My only disapointment was that this will only be one book and it will not have a follow up like The Big Stone Gap.
Feel part of the magic and read this book- you will feel like a nice cream cake after reading!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Possibly the loveliest book i ever read!, 21 July 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: Queen of the Big Time (Paperback)
Adriana writes beautiful, beautiful books and this one was my favourite by far.
The story follows Nella throughout her life and you cannot help but feel you know her better than she knows herself by the end of the book, she feels like an old friend.
I read this book in one go and the tears streamed down my face for the last parts, i will never forget this book. It was touching and romantic but overwhelmingly honest. I love above all else how flawed Trigiani's characters are, the are real people and you regret their mistakes but are glad they made them as it makes them true to life.
Set aside a day and read this, you won't regret it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Fantastic, 31 Mar. 2005
This review is from: Queen of the Big Time (Paperback)
After Trigiani's trilogy of Big Stone Gap, Big Cherry Holler and Milk Glass Moon, I was hooked to this author. Lucia Lucia followed and was also great, but this book is by far her best. I couldnt put it down - I read it in one sitting. I laughed and I cried. I woulf thoroughy recommend this book to anyone. Fabulous!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully Written Family Story, 16 July 2010
By 
Jenna (Greater Manchester) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Queen of the Big Time (Paperback)
This is a truly memorable story, written to tug at the heart strings. The opening paragraph introduces the reader to a style of writing that is silky smooth, and flows along so well you just don't notice the passing of time.
Nella Castelluca is the middle daughter of five girls, whose enquiring mind and direct approach fuel her ambitious determination to succeed. The story revolves around her life and loves as she grows to womanhood in an Italian community in rural Pennsylvania, and then beyond that through the next two generations.
The author takes us deep into the mind and heart of this lovable character, exposing her weaknesses and mistakes, whilst at the same time recognising and honouring her strengths. It is in her relationships with those she loves that we see the real Nella, who learns a lot about love and faith as she goes through her life, grieving her losses and celebrating her triumphs.
The descriptions of the times and lifestyle are meticulous, and it is easy to get lost in the mental pictures and become a fly on the wall. I don't want to go into the story any deeper as it is so easy to write a spoiler when reviewing, but this is an emotional read with lots of smiles thrown in for good measure. This is the first book I have read from this very talented author. She has a distinctive voice that is far from run of the mill, and I look forward to reading more in the future.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Reading, 30 April 2007
This review is from: Queen of the Big Time (Paperback)
What a fantastic book, it gives such a good insight into life in the 20's, it really makes you want to b there with them. When I had to take a break from reading (nd believe me I didn't want to) I felt my mind wander back to the 20's with Mama, Papa, Nella, Elena, Assunta and of course Renato.

I've already read Lucia, Lucia which I found the best book I've read in a long time, and still is in my head after months of reading it.

As soon as I had read that book I went out to buy the rest of the books that Adriana had written.
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5.0 out of 5 stars beautiful, 21 Sept. 2008
By 
Lindymck (Falkirk, Scotland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Queen of the Big Time (Paperback)
a beautifully written story that makes you reach for the tissues (although i managed through about 300 pages without them)i couldnt put it down because it was so compelling and it just keeps you turning the pages. the character nella reminds me of my great aunt in a lot of characteristics. if you loved this i would recommend nicholas sparks novels, especially "the notebook, the wedding and a walk to remember.
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Queen of the Big Time
Queen of the Big Time by Adriana Trigiani (Paperback - 29 Jan. 2005)
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