Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Very Valentine AudioBook by Adriana Trigiani

Title:  Very Valentine
Author: Adriana Trigiani
My Rating: A- 
Narrator: Cassandra Campbell

Genre: Women's fiction
Series: Valentine #1
Main Characters: Valentine & Roman
Release Date: February 2009
ISBN: audiobook
Publisher: HarperCollins
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: mild

Story Overview:
Meet the Roncalli and Angelini families, a vibrant cast of colorful characters who navigate tricky family dynamics with hilarity and brio, from magical Manhattan to the picturesque hills of bella Italia. Very Valentine is the first novel in a trilogy and is sure to be the new favorite of Trigiani's millions of fans around the world.
In this luscious, contemporary family saga, the Angelini Shoe Company, makers of exquisite wedding shoes since 1903, is one of the last family-owned businesses in Greenwich Village. The company is on the verge of financial collapse. It falls to thirty-three-year-old Valentine Roncalli, the talented and determined apprentice to her grandmother, the master artisan Teodora Angelini, to bring the family's old-world craftsmanship into the twenty-first century and save the company from ruin.
While juggling a budding romance with dashing chef Roman Falconi, her duty to her family, and a design challenge presented by a prestigious department store, Valentine returns to Italy with her grandmother to learn new techniques and seek one-of-a-kind materials for building a pair of glorious shoes to beat their rivals. There, in Tuscany, Naples, and on the Isle of Capri, a family secret is revealed as Valentine discovers her artistic voice and much more, turning her life and the family business upside down in ways she never expected. Very Valentine is a sumptuous treat, a journey of dreams fulfilled, a celebration of love and loss filled with Trigiani's trademark heart and humor.

My Review:
This is a book that I listened to on audio and I truly enjoyed the book, but I will be honest, I don't think that I would have enjoyed the book nearly as much if I had sat down and read it. There is a lot of this book that is spent inside the heroine, Valentine's, head musing about what is going on in her world, in her life, and in her heart. When I am reading, I enjoy action, not so much description and support text. But listening to the book being read aloud, I was able to enjoy the imagery and emotions in a way that I think would have been lost on me if I had been reading the book. It's an absolutely beautiful book to listen to.

This book is about Valentine. Valentine is the outcast in her family. The only unmarried child, the one who decided 4 years ago to give up her career to apprentice under her grandmother at the family custom shoe shop which had been in business for over 100 years. The book is a journey of self-discovery for Valentine as she gets in touch with her inner artist and just exactly who she is and it is not a simple straightforward journey. There were some twists that I didn't expect and revelations that I didn't see coming. 

This is a book that takes place in the busy crazy city life of Manhattan in NYC to the beautiful, peaceful, reflective countryside of Italy. Valentine runs the entire gamut of emotion throughout the book, just like the variety in the scenery. She is always insightful and reflective and completely honest about where she is at in her feelings...good or bad. I liked the honesty to her character. Quite honestly, I really just truly enjoyed her character. She is an artist, but in the beginning, she doesn't even truly understand that is what she is. As readers, we get to go along with her journey of self-discovery as she learns to tap into her inner artist. I absolutely adored that part of the story, even though getting in touch with her inner artist costs her other aspects of her life that I think I mourned more than she did.

There is a romantic story line to the story, but again, this is just another aspect of Valentine's journey of self-discovery. She is involved with Roman, an extremely busy chef who runs his own very small and successful Manhattan restaurant. Between the two of them, they have crazy hours working, with very little time for each other. On the surface, Roman is absolutely the perfect guy and their passion is incredible, but they are both artists with crazy hours. There is a lot of time spent in Valentine's psyche as she decides where she wants to put her passions. There is no denying that they love each other, but is that love enough for a successful relationship when they hardly ever see each other?

Another amazing character to this story is Valentine's grandmother, trainer, and roommate, Teodora. Her insight into Valentine's life and her own affairs is refreshing and honest. There are many moments and comments that come through Teodora that are so insightful and beautiful. I just truly enjoyed her character and the depth that she added to the story. 

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