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4.1 out of 5 stars21
4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 4 March 2006
Trigiani has once again outdone herself, this woman cannot put pen to paper without it resulting in a modern day literary masterpiece.
Immerse yourself in the life of B Crespi, an interior decorator in the small town of Our Lady Of Fatima, whos mission in life is to bring beauty into the lives and homes of his community. The novel follows his fight with the local parish priest (who has a scarlet secret) to acquire the job of renovating the local church, the crazy antics of his neurotic sister who decides to embark on an affair with her married ex-husband after the bitter divorce twelve years previous, "Because that's love, baby", and the overbearing, rich old doll of the community who spent the last twenty years trying to marry her daugher off to B before the daughter elopes with Pedro, the stained glass-window guy.
I curled up in bed with an extra blanket and read this novel cover to cover, only stoping to get food and imagine how gorgeous Rufus is (you'll know what I'm talking about when you read the description). I strongly advise you to do the same with this book.
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on 27 May 2010
This was my first Trigiani, and I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for more of her books. It tells the story of one Bartolomeo di Crespi, interior designer extraordinaire of coastal New Jersey. In between brief flirtations with beautiful women of the design world and dealing with the dramas of his boisterous Italian-American extended family, Bartolomeo manages to secure the job he has always dreamed about: the renovation of his beloved local church, Our Lady of Fatima. However, it soon becomes apparent that there will be huge obstacles to overcome in the quest to turn this old Gothic building into a heavenly haven, and Bartolomeo must bring together all the people he loves and learn a few lessons along the way in order to fulfil his dream.

The novel is, quite simply, delicious. It drips with colour and texture, fabrics and furniture, and our charismatic narrator's knowledge and passion for his work infuses every page. The characters are larger than life, and the dialogue within the feisty family just sparkles. I looked forward to returning to the book each time I had to set it aside, and thoroughly enjoyed savouring each and every moment I was reading it. I can't wait to see what else Trigiani has to offer!
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Do you know how sometimes you buy a book because you have loved other books that the author has written, and you save it up ready to be savoured and enjoyed at your leisure? That was how it was with me and this book by Adriana Trigiani whose "Big Stone Gap" trilogy I have read a couple of times and thoroughly enjoyed. Unfortunately this book didn't quite manage to live up to the anticipation I had before reading it.

Like Trigiani's other books this book is set in a firmly Italian family living in America background. The story takes place in 1970's New Jersey and is set in the world of interior designing, certainly an eclectic one at that time. Unlike other books the hero is a man, "B" or Bartolomeo, who is the interior designer to the town whose dream is to give his hometown church the makeover of its life. Unfortunately, this is where, for me, the problem lies. Whilst reading this book I never quite got past the fact that the main character was a very unconvincing man indeed, the way he interacted with other characters was positively girlie, and it was pretty hard to believe, stereotypes aside, in a heterosexual male with quite as much insight into home decoration and the type of clothes that best suit women as B had.

The story was diverting enough, though suffered somewhat for me on rather lengthy descriptions of the interior design of the settings at every given moment, starting on the first few pages with the description of B's house. This all certainly seemed well researched, but was at times a little tedious. Scenes with B's Italian family worked better, whilst describing the extended Italian community and complex relationship the author is on more solid ground. I enjoyed the descriptions of family get-togethers and Toot, his sister was a likeable and believable divorcee finding herself 13 years after the divorce. Capri, B's fiancee of sorts (her mother decided at an early age that they should marry) is also a perfectly pleasant character, but B's relationships with women never truly convince for the reasons that I gave at the start - ergo he is a less than convincing man. There is at least one very cringey sex scene that I could have happily done without reading.

That apart the twists and turns and hidden politics of the Church renovation did keep me mildly entertained, there is some interest from characters such as Pedro, a stained glass specialist, and Rufus, a church specialist who enter the fray, and B's interactions with Eydie an international designer. This sees the story shift to New York via an Italian trip and keeps things going along fairly steadily, it is all well written enough and the recipes that are interjected at points are a nice touch, but it certainly isn't a page turner.

I did finish the book, but I didn't really enjoy it like I have done some of her other books, such as "Lucia Lucia", if this had been the only book of Trigiani's I had read I would have been probably unlikely to read another. I will however read her latest two books about Valentine at some point, I have concluded that probably this author is at her best when writing about strong and interesting female characters, this novel didn't quite do it for me. I did feel a bit let down by this book and personally would recommend reading another title by this author in preference to this.

(appears elsewhere in my name)
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on 28 October 2005
I have read all of Adriana Trigliani's books and have been a fan. I was really looking forward to reading Rococo.
Unfortuantly she really missed with this one. She spends too much time explainig the decor of the rooms the main character B has decorated, too much about the church. No story!The only character that has any impact is B's sister Toot.
In the last chapter she makes a stab at giving us a story...but its all too rushed!
Rococo is an easy read, nothing too taxing.
Hopefully Adriana Trigliani will back on form wtih her next book, but it seems Rococo is really missing a lot of the magic that made us all fall in love with her previous books.
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on 5 June 2006
This was an entertaining read from start to finish. If you think that a novel written about Bartolomeo's (known as B) dream to completely re-decorate the inside of his local church would be boring, you'd be completely wrong! In between the prose there are recipes for family cakes and dishes - I must remember to buy some marshmallows. B's family is made up of several wonderful characters which are easy to imagine. The writing is very descriptive and enables you to conjure up the domestic scenes. There's no long-winded introduction, it gets straight into the story. I read this in under 24 hours so it must be good! Oh, and if you're interested in interior decorating, B lists the paint colour numbers!
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on 24 August 2015
This is set in 1970. It’s told in the first person by an Italian American called Bartolomeo, known as B to his friends and family. B is an interior designer, and he’s good. His dream for many years has been to redesign the Catholic church which he has belonged to, and loved, since he was a small child...

The interesting part of the story, to me, was B’s relationship with his extended family. I found him a likeable person, dedicated to his job. He tells the story well, with a light touch; I liked seeing his role as father-figure to his nephews, and best friend to his emotional sister Toot.

I wondered where the story was going at first, but soon realised that the novel is more like a work of art, painting a picture of family life in a small village. I found it impossible to keep track of who was whom, and didn’t feel particularly attached to anyone, but then I know almost nothing about Italians living in the US.

The blurb on the back calls this book a ‘comic masterpiece’. However the only parts I thought amusing were Toot’s malapropisms, but as B keeps correcting her, they didn’t have much humour value. I was mildly amused, too, at some recipes with vast quantities of ingredients, listed as serving 48.

The least appealing part of the book is the regular descriptions of people’s houses which B has decorated; he goes into great deal about colour schemes and designs, most of which didn’t interest me in the slightest.

Still, it makes pleasant enough light reading; no violence or horror, no bad language, and no detailed sex scenes.
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on 1 August 2011
Most novels these days seem to revolve around a tragic circumstance or event taking place that is supposed to give meaning to the story. Not this one - just a happy-go-lucky novel about a very human guy who doesn't fit into modern stereotypes (the happy straight-ish bachelor) with a genuine devotion to beauty and an ultimate personal goal. As such, it stands out. Not highbrow but it made me feel good about life. Nice one to take on holiday or when you are feeling cynical about the day-to-day.
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on 27 August 2013
Having enjoyed most of her other books I was eager to start on this one, but wish I hadn't bothered. The central character has no human emotions that we can empathise with - writing in the first person was not a good choice. The plot is thin to put it politely and the lack of even basic research was embarrassing. Talking about smoking the whole way on a transatlantic flight! (Has she ever flown!) References to a romantic moonlight swim to the Blue Grotto in Capri are mind blowing - it's only accessible by boat and must be one of the least romantic places on earth as the entrance is very narrow and very dangerous. I can suspend disbelief if a novel is otherwise ccompelling - but the only thing this compelled me to do was watch paint dry for amusement.
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on 5 June 2006
Dear oh dear. I absolutely love Adriana Trigiani. After reading Big Stone Gap I devoured the rest of the trilogy and all her other books with relish. I was dying to read Rococo, simply because I had enjoyed all her other work so much. I even bought it in hardback. But sadly the story never even got started. The male protagonist was two dimensional and the peripheral characters (usually so colourful in Trigiani's novels) were dull, dull, dull. I continued to read expecting eventually to find the point to it all, but ultimately there wasn't one. What a shame.
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on 2 March 2012
another brillant book from trigiani. this time she turns her hands to interior decorating and enter bartholomeo di crespi. the year is 1970 and bartholomeo (or B as he prefers to be called) is desperate to revive his local church. he gets his whole family involved in his project and finds some local artistes to help create his vision. and his crazy italian family doesnt disappoint us in the drama department!
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