This is my second read of Adriana Trigiani and I really liked this book. Set in the 1950's in cosmopolitan New York in an atmosphere of much love, family and strict ethics this is a story about Lucia in particular and the Sartori family with the Italian immigrant population and the new designers of New York's fashion scene in general.
An old fashioned story of how hard work always pays, love being the secret of harmony in life and a very clever con man who gets away with jilting the heroine of our story forms the basis of the novel. The human feelings of passion, betrayal, sorrow are also portrayed so well in this story. Lucia's story is interesting from beginning to end. Starting with being the only girl in a family of four boys in a strongly protective environment of an Italian family to her becoming a career girl who has no intention of ever giving up her job, from being an obedient daughter to her parents and then going against the wishes of her father in her choice of partner are part of the story.
The story highlights contrasts and similarities. Jewish and Italian immigrants facing the same prejudices, the fact that traditions were being strictly followed not just in the matter of food but also in matters of religion, respect to elders and inheritance to property. How the ethos of hard work, of the family sticking together in times of good and bad, the extended family's importance and how each community tried to stick to their own are also interestingly shown.
I also liked to see Lucia growing up - from an obedient daughter to making up her own mind on what she wanted to do with her life, irrespective of what those around her thought of her. Her sacrifice of her career to look after her ill mother was heart breaking but this was a case of Hobson's choice as far as Lucia was concerned. How Lucia emerges not embittered at how life turned out for her was also a very nice feature of the book. In her 70s Lucia was still a light hearted, loving woman not angry at the way her life turned out to be.
This was a book which got positive reviews on both Bermudaonion as well as She is too fond of books and I am so glad I got the opportunity of reading this book.