This week’s choice is a romantic saga sweeping from the Italian Alps in the early 20th century to bustling New York City

The Shoemaker's Wife by Adriana Trigiani coverThe Shoemaker’s Wife by Adriana Trigiani

(£7.99, Simon & Schuster)

Based on the true story of the author’s grandmother, Lucia, this romance sweeps you away with its evocative descriptions of times and places. Born in the Italian Alps, young Ciro and Enza are destined for very different futures. Abandoned by their mother in a fit of grief, Ciro and brother Eduardo are left to grow up in a convent where their happy childhood is shattered by an incident involving the local priest. Cast out by society, Ciro is sent as a shoemaker’s apprentice to America, where he is reunited with old friend Enza. But fate intervenes to keep the couple apart once again after Ciro volunteers to serve in the war…

JUDY SAYS: ‘I love Adriana Trigiani’s books. They’re full of Italian exuberance, detailing with charming warmth the family stories of northern Italians who emigrated to the USA in the early 20th century, and, with much hardship, forged successful lives there. It’s crammed with love, disappointment, warmth, and seasoned with delicious Italian food.  It’s a beguiling mixture.’

RICHARD SAYS: ‘This epic book tells the story of the immigrants who overcame huge obstacles in their new, chosen land to make it the extraordinary success it is today. These brave, determined people built America into the land of the free. And Ciro, the little boy abandoned by his mother in a convent, is typical of how these unlikely heroes courageously took destiny into their own hands. This is a sweeping saga, capturing the sacrifices the immigrants made and the fulfilment they found. But above all, it shows the bittersweet love and longing for their Italian homeland.’

OUR READER SAYS: ‘The book is as much a love affair with the Italian Alps and bustling New York as it is a love story between Ciro and Enza. The author’s vivid descriptions and strong characters truly take you into a world gone by, and knowing she was inspired by her own family history makes it all even more heart-warming. Now I want to go and investigate my own family tree and discover the love stories that may be hidden there!’

Caroline French, 33, Wiltshire


HAVE YOUR SAY! Read this book? Join in with the Richard and Judy Book Club online or if you’ve read the book, why not post your review below? Happy reading!


If you like this, try these…

Lucia, Lucia by Adriana Trigiani coverLucia, Lucia by Adriana Trigiani (£6.99, Simon and Schuster)

A story of the daughter of an Italian immigrant family in 1950s New York and her battle to balance love and career




Chocolat by Joanne Harris coverChocolat by Joanne Harris (£7.99, Black Swan)

A tale of an exotic stranger who arrives in a small French village and opens a chocolate boutique directly opposite the church, much to the horror of the local priest




The House by the Sea by Santa Montefiore coverThe House by the Sea by Santa Montefiore (£7.99, Simon and Schuster)

From the Italian countryside to the English coast, this is a wonderful novel about love, forgiveness, and family secrets