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4.3 out of 5 stars45
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 2 March 2010
One of the interesting and original things about this book is that one of the primary characters is a 79 year old career woman. Teodora was one of my favourite characters and I would love to read a book about her earlier life. There are also a number of humorous moments - I particularly liked Valentine's Dad. This is an enjoyable and well written story - my only major complaint is the endless detailed descriptions of what people are wearing(other than shoes.)Personally I was more interested in the plot and the characters and all the description got in the way of this.I loved the Big Stone Gap series and unfortunately this one is not quite as good. Saying that I do look forward to seeing how the story continues in the next installment.
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on 27 May 2009
Very Valentine is about Valentine Roncalli, a 33 going on 34 year old single woman living in NY. After abandoning a long term boyfriend and career as a teacher, she decided to move in with her grandmother and help run the family custom shoe making business (open since 1902!). The store creates custom fit, beautiful shoes of pure Italian materials for brides. Although they sell easily, the business doesn't bring in enough money and, ultimately, Gram and Valentine must decide what to do. During this, Valentine meets Roman, a tall, dark, and handsome divorced Italian chef. While she tries to figure out her business problems, things start to prosper with Roman.

The book takes you from the streets of Greenwich Village to the mountains in Tuscany, Italy. As you, the reader, learn about tailored shoes and Italian meals, you watch Valentine discover herself through mistakes, drive, and, ultimately, passion. And along the way you keep up with, and care about, her ragtag, very large Italian family. You saw the family from two angles, the side they show the public, and the private side only those close know about. I liked the contrast.

Admittedly, it took me a few pages to get into the book, but once I got to know Valentine, I was hooked. Her family was so lifelike, they felt like my own (and I do have a large, loud, Italian family). Her problems were so relatable, I wanted to discuss them with her. And her trip to Italy was so amazing, I wanted to be there with her.

The book, the first in a trilogy, was overall very entertaining. There are some loose ends, but there should be, because without them there would be no sequel. It's a quick, fun read that isn't simply chick lit nor romance. It delves into deeper levels and I think, in the end, that's why I enjoyed it so much. Trigiani has a way with describing people and places so well that it's like you've been there, or know them. It made me really miss Italy. And even New York.
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on 2 August 2010
I adore Trigiani's novels but for some reason this took me a little longer to get into than I usually do with her books. I think the first few chapters were a little slow actually, but by the time I was a third of the way into it I was eager to read more about American-Italian shoe designer Valentine, her wacky family and her love life.

The premise of the book is pretty simple but effective: Valentine is a partner in her grandmother's customised wedding shoe business, which isn't exactly booming. Cue this with further financial troubles, family illnesses and the invitation to customise the perfect wedding shoe with the promise of saving the business-- and Valentine most certainly has her work cut out for her. Intermingled with this is romance with a hunky chef and the trip of a lifetime to beautiful Capri, but will things work out?

A must-read for fans of Trigiani and anyone who is a sucker for a good romance, though admittedly I was left a bit disappointed by the ending, which is why I've deducted half a star! Nevertheless though, the ending most certainly paves the way to the sequel, of which I am looking forward to reading. I always think Trigiani's books will make fantastic films and this is no exception.
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on 30 March 2010
This again was a great read,Having read all the Trigiani books I was not dissapointed at all.I ccould smell the leather of all the shoes and really felt I was in Italy.Looking forward to the next one.
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on 18 September 2015
Don’t let the cover (though it is lovely!) fool you! I’ve just finished this and have given 5 stars because I absolutely loved it, but not because the book is perfect. This is the story of Valentine Roncalli, a single 33 (nearly 34) year old Italian-American, her life in Greenwich Village, her job working as an apprentice to her grandmother who makes custom-made wedding shoes in the 100-year old family business, and her work-life balance, and how she navigates all the various elements - her family, her job and her boyfriend. She has a wonderfully wacky family, but she is the only single woman in it – not an ideal status for an Italian girl.

The book opens at her younger sister’s wedding and this chapter is extremely funny and very character-driven; an ideal sitcom scenario. This sets the scene for the family thinking – all women should be married by a certain age, all women should accept the fact that men will have affairs, and raise their daughters to turn a blind eye, get over what makes you unhappy or whatever. I did not like the “typical Italians” as an excuse for bad behaviour. For example, Valentine’s mother Mike describes what she did when she found out her husband cheated in 1986, including going to see Flashdance at the cinema three times in a week. I was surprised that a three year old film was shown as often as that? A bit of more detailed research would have avoided a mistake like this. Still, it’s the principle that matters, isn’t it??

I don’t know any author who is so very beautifully descriptive and detailed as Adriana Trigiani. She managed to bring to mind New York and Italy into my mind so vividly with fantastic use of descriptions, colour, simile, metaphor and oh-so-much detail. New York became a key character in the book; I have never been there, but I felt as if I had after reading this, as so much vibrancy is captured. I felt I was trying on the shoes, eating the food, smelling the cooking and the lemons, hearing the traffic, seeing the lights. This amount of detail really draws you into the story so you identify with the places in it and they become another character.

The book spans just over a year in Valentine’s life, and is far above the usual chick-lit standard. I was dizzy with the amount of action, but this wasn’t particularly fast-moving, owing to the standard of writing, dialogue and description. In this time she has to think creatively in order to save the shoe company from going under financially (and from her shark-like brother), deal with family illnesses, pressures and in-fighting, and find a man. This she does - she meets a boyfriend (in a rather unique fashion!) but the path of true love indeed does not run smooth. I liked how this element was treated in an original and different way to the usual chick-lit and the ending was, for me, very satisfying – though some of the Italian men were very caricature. What does a girl really want out of life? You’d be surprised.

One of the highlights for me was Gram – Valentine’s 80 year old grandmother. She was an amazing character and proves that it is never too late to make a new beginning. A lively look at Italian-American life in a typical family.

I’ve got a Trisha Ashley book to read next – Chocolate, Shoes and Wedding Blues – on a similar theme but I imagine treated in a very different way. It will be interesting to compare, whilst I wait for the sequel to arrive!
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on 9 July 2009
Good read. Just read there on holiday in Italy.Have read all her books and would recommend it: a little of everything: romance, culture etc.
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This doesn't quite match up to the charm of Lucia, Lucia, but it's a lovely book and one which I really enjoyed. I found it a book that needed to be savoured. It got off to a little bit of a slow start but I then got into the story of Valentine Roncalli, a shoemaker apprenticed to her grandmother, Teadora, in New York City. To try and save the business they enter a competition to have their shoes featured in the window of Bergdorfs. This is also about Valentine's love life and there is a magical buying trip to Italy, taking in the beautiful Isle of Capri.

It's a charming read, I loved Valentine and her grandmother, and rooted for them to succeed and for Valentine to find true love. As it's the first of a trilogy I know there is a lot more of their stories to come which is great. Adriana Trigiani has a lovely way with words and my only criticism would be that there are a lot of Americanisms which don't mean much to me, but which I can manage to make sense of. Really lovely story.
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on 13 June 2011
i loved this book, i couldnt put it down and the threat of having to get up at 3am for work didnt work either as i just had to keep reading. valentine is an italian american who works for her grandmother in the family business of making custom wedding shoes. The business is doing badly so she has to come up with a way to save the company and herself from the threats from her older brother to sell the business and the home she lives in. meanwhile she has met the luscious roman the chef who makes her all hot and sweaty. the book takes place over the course of a year and ends with a magical trip to italy, visiting tuscany and capri. the desciptions of the scenery and architecture etc etc are fabulous as you can picture it. great story and the italian american angle is great as there is lots of humour in it. if you liked this one i would also recommend julia london's books as they have a simliar plot idea and are set in Paris
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on 28 October 2013
If you love romantic comedy this is the book for you. It is beautifully written and with great humour and heartfelt moments. It paints a real picture of italian american family life in New York. Cant wait to read the sequel Encore Valentine.
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on 4 May 2009
A new book from Adriana Trigiani - what a great treat for a Bank Holiday weekend! It's not often that I will put everything aside to read a book over 2 days but I'm so glad I did.

Readers of previous books by Adriana Trigiani will not be disappointed. It has the same warmth and beautifully crafted characters as Rococo and Lucia Lucia.

This is the first of a trilogy about a New York Italian/American family and tells the story of Valentine the unmarried sister who is apprenticed to her grandmother's family shoe business. Romance, laughter, tears, travel, food and shoes. Heaven!!!!
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