Sunday, April 19, 2015

Book Review: Lucia, Lucia by Adriana Trigiani

A 1950's Independent Woman

An Italian - American Story

Recently, I read The Shoemaker's Wife by this same author and really loved that book. This story shares many of the same central themes with that novel focusing on large Italian families living in Little Italy, dressmaking, returning to the Mother Country, and tradition. That is not to say that this book is a repeat of the other but I can see that these are important themes to this storyteller, and may be a point of reference that is personal in her own life.

This story opens in present day Greenwich Village but quickly becomes a narrative of Lucia Sartori, the older neighbor of a young aspiring playwright who get Lucia to open up about her past. Lucia quickly transports the reader to 1950's New York when she was a vibrant 25 year old woman trying to forge her own way in the world. While from a traditional Italian American family with an expectation for her to settle down, Lucia has found success as a dressmaker in an upscale department store and questions why she should get married and raise a family if it means giving up her career. Lucia is also looking for a fairy tale romance, rather than an arranged marriage, and dreams of a life full of more beauty and the finer things, like she creates for the patrons of the department store.

What seems like a plan in her youth, becomes entirely something else as real life gets in the way of dreams. As is often the case, those early decisions set a path that takes Lucia in a direction that she may not have really envisioned.

This is a good book and held my interest but I really liked The Shoemaker's Wife so much better. It is probably unfair to compare them but because of the similar central themes I can't help but put them side by side. In some ways, I found it harder to empathize with Lucia because she often seemed shallow and cared to much about nice things and I couldn't relate. However, she had spunk and cared about others and ultimately I wanted to see her happy.

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