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Very Valentine by Adriana Trigiani (final thoughts)

February 8, 2011

From the back cover:
The Angelini Shoe Company, one of the last family-owned businesses in Greenwich Village, has been making exquisite wedding shoes since 1903 but now teeters on the brink of financial collapse. To save their business from ruin, thirty-three-year-old Valentine Roncalli – apprentice to and granddaughter of master artisan Teodora Angelini – must bring the family’s old-world craftsmanship into the twenty-first century…

Going into Very Valentine I had already decided I was going to love it. Mostly because of all the rave reviews I’d seen of it, but also because Trigiani seems like such a big friend of bloggers. And I wanted to send that love right back.

Unfortunately, things didn’t start off too smoothly for Very Valentine and me.

It wasn’t any of the usual suspects: plot, characters, or even the romance, it was something that usually doesn’t bother me at all. Narrative mode. Generally I don’t mind first person present tense, but something about Very Valentine‘s narration grated on my nerves. Okay, it was just something, it was the abundance of the word ‘I’, particularly at the beginning of sentences. It made entire paragraphs, sometimes even pages, just sound like a list of actions. At times I wasn’t even paying attention to what was going on, just counting how many sentences started with I’s (fyi, two of the highest counts I got were 8/11 sentences in one paragraph and 7/7 in another).

But, let’s not dwell on the negative. Time to move on, because some kind of switch happened about two thirds of the way through the book. No, the narrative style didn’t change, but suddenly I found myself not noticing, completely engulfed by the story instead. Or I should say, engulfed by the sights, sounds, and smells of Italy. I could sympathize with Valentine throughout the book, her struggle between family loyalty and pursing her dreams. But it was Italy that won me over.

In the end, while I didn’t love the book, I liked it a lot more than I thought I would. Which is good, because I have #2 of the series sitting on my shelf.

My rating: 7.5/10

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11 Comments leave one →
  1. February 8, 2011 12:07 pm

    I have heard such wonderful things about this book, so it’s interesting to read a different perspective. I love all things Italy, so I will definitely be picking this one up – it will work nicely for the Italy in Reading Challenge that I’m participating in. Just finished The Passion of Artemisia and am needing something good to follow it up with :)

  2. February 8, 2011 12:24 pm

    Ooooo Italy whisked you away? How lovely!

  3. February 8, 2011 1:45 pm

    Me too! I want so much to love Trigiani’s books… but I just “like” them is all.

  4. February 8, 2011 5:22 pm

    I love this author…her Big Stone Gap series started my love affair with her!! I have this one to read soon!!

  5. February 8, 2011 6:12 pm

    This one does look interesting. I may check it out one day at the library. Great review.

  6. February 8, 2011 7:10 pm

    I read/reviewed the first 2 books of this series a little while ago. The first one was better in my opinion than the second, but maybe you’ll see it differently! That’s funny, I didn’t even noticed the abundance of ‘I,’ but there were a few other little things about Valentine that annoyed me.

  7. February 9, 2011 6:33 am

    I have another of her books on my shelf, think it might be the second one, and was planning (hoping) to get to it soon but now I’m going to be on the lookout for I. :-)

  8. February 17, 2011 10:21 pm

    It’s always interesting to read a review that’s not all praise! I’ve had it for a while now and it’s a shame I haven’t started it yet. The Italy part really intrigues me!

  9. February 20, 2011 2:18 pm

    Coffee and a Book Chick – You should definitely try it out. Lots and lots of other people have loved it.

    Juju – I seem to be reading all these book set in Italy lately. Maybe it’s a sign to pack my bags and buy a plane ticket ;)

    Debbie – I’m so glad I’m not the only one! I’m kind of curious about what I’ll think of her other books.

    Staci – Okay, I think I need to read the Big Stone Gap series. Thanks for the rec!

    Heather – Thanks! If you’re able to get a hold of it, I hope you enjoy it!

    Bailey – Hmmm now I’m wondering what little things did bother you about Valentine ;)

    Amy – I can’t say yet if the second one could be read on its own, but I’m a stickler for reading series in the right order. Which is why I bought this one after winning the second book in a contest ;)

    kay – I feel like I’m very much in the minority for not loving it. I’ll be interested in seeing what you think of it when you get to it.

  10. February 21, 2011 6:20 am

    I’ve read Viola in Reel Life and ever since, I’ve wanted to read more of Adriana’s work. I’m thinking I will probably like Very Valentine whenever I get a chance ti read it.

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  1. Snippet Thoughts: Good In Bed, Brava Valentine, I’ve Got Your Number, Please Forgive Me « alita.reads.

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