I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher.
There is something especially compelling about the immigrant experience in the United States. As an adopted child, I don't really know where I come from or the story of my birth family. I do love reading family histories, though. In THE SHOEMAKER'S WIFE, Adriana Trigiani tells the tale of two individuals whose fates are joined as they carve out new lives for themselves in America. Ciro's mother left him along with his older brother at a small convent in the Italian Alps when they were boys. When, as a teenager, Ciro sees something he shouldn't, he is forced to leave his adopted home in the convent and make a new life for himself in the United States as an apprentice shoemaker. Enza is the eldest daughter of a poor family in a town not far from Ciro's. When her family faces financial hardship, she and her father must journey to America to earn money to support the family. Before the two young people leave for America, they share a brief but profound encounter that will bind them together forever. The two are finally reunited years later but it appears Fate will continue to keep them apart.
While this is most definitely a love story, it is also a compelling tale about the immigrant experience in the early 1900's. The story started off very slowly for me and did not really pick up until both individuals reached America. At that point, it was hard to put down. It was very easy to be drawn into the experiences of the two young people. It is a story of love and fate and family that can often feel sweeping in its scope. A wonderful and sentimental read.
BOTTOM LINE: Recommended. This is definitely a sweet "feel good" read. Fans of love stories will be particularly charmed.