Thursday, February 9, 2012

Brava Valentine (audiobook) by Adriana Trigani

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

Genre: Women's fiction
Series: Valentine #2
Main Characters: Valentine & Gianluca
Release Date: February 2010
Publisher: HarperCollins
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: mild

Story Overview:
Adriana Trigiani's Very Valentine, an instant New York Times bestseller about the life of shoemaker Valentine Roncalli, was hailed by critics as "Sex and The City meets Moonstruck." (People)
As Brava, Valentine begins, Valentine learns that Alfred, her only brother and nemesis, has been named her partner at Angelini Shoes. Devastated, Valentine falls into the arms of Gianluca, a sexy Tuscan tanner. Despite their passion for one another, a long-distance relationship seems impossible.
As Valentine turns away from romance and devotes herself to her work, Bret Fitzpatrick, her first love and former fiancée, encourages Valentine to exploit her full potential as a designer with a plan that will bring her singular creations to the world. A once-in-a-lifetime business opportunity takes Valentine to Buenos Aires, where she finds a long-buried secret. Once unearthed, the truth rocks the Roncallis and Valentine is determined to hold her family together. More so, she longs to create one of her own, but is torn between a past love that nurtured her, and a new one that promises to sustain her.
Brava, Valentine is Trigiani's best novel yet, delivering a hilarious and poignant mix of colorful worlds and unforgettable characters as only she can create them.

My Review:
A- mild
This is the second book in a trilogy. I listened to the first, Very Valentine, on my roadtrip to Readers 'n Ritas last November. I have been planning to listen to this one ever since and when I finally got my audible account set up, I grabbed it. *sigh* Now what to say about this book...I really, really enjoy this series. I like the family. I like the art of making shoes. I like Valentine, even when I am cursing her doubts and emo moments. I just really like the way that the books are written.

At the heart of these books is Valentine, a 35 yo single shoemaker. She lives and works in NYC at the Angelino Shoe Company, which has been the family custom-made shoe business for over 100 years. Valentine is just trying to get by and find her place and happiness in the world. She is the designer for the company.

At the beginning of this book, Valentine's grandmother (and the proprietess of the shoe company) is getting married and moving to Italy. She leaves Valentine in charge of the company along with her brother Alfred, who she does not get along all. Honestly, I think that their story line was my favorite in the book. I loved watching that relationship develop and grow throughout this story. Both Alfred and Valentine learn huge things about each other in this book that leads them to respect what the other has done and accomplished.

Throughout this book is also the romance with Gianluca. I have such seesawing emotions about their relationship. In book #1, I loved Roman and I've had a hard time letting go of that. Gianluca is Italian and lives in Italy where he runs the family tannery. He is also 18 years older than Valentine. Those two things are such huge roadblocks for me...although, god, he is romantic and sweet and he understands Valentine when she doesn't even understand herself. The only time he was not the perfect guy was in Buenos Aires...his reaction there just didn't fit the character that I feel like he has been throughout the rest of the book.

Then there are all the periphery characters in this book that I love. There is Gabriel, Valentine's gay best friend, who moves in with her. I loved the perspective that he added to the events in the book. He is such a sweetheart. Valentine and Gabriel absolutely make the best married couple....if only...hehe! Then there is Bret, Valentine's ex-boyfriend and still-friend, who is there advising and helping the shoe company. There are hints of what may be to come in the 3rd book and I just don't know...

There was a LOT about marriage in this book. The book starts with the wedding between Teordora (Valentine's grandmother) and Dominic in Italy. Throughout the book, there are several marriages that are facing difficulties, so Valentine muses a lot about marriage and how people make it work. Then the book ends along the same theme...going full circle. I loved how that worked. I also loved the imagery of the drama that comes through as Valentine makes the shoes. She uses her artistry to explain the drama in her life. I really like that!

This book was fabulous but I will admit, I stopped the audio and put it aside with only 15 minutes left on it because I was so sure that it was going to end with a cliffhanger and was cursing it (the third book isn't out yet.) Luckily, I picked it up again and did listen to that last 15 minutes and although it ended fabulously, I still think that cliffhanger is there and I don't even know how I want it to turn out

1 comment:

Felicia Sparks said...

Love Adriana Trigiani books in audio form! They are just made for that format!