Saturday, August 21, 2010

Review of Brava, Valentine

Brava, Valentine by Adriana Trigiani
Pages:  352 
Genre: Adult Fiction
Pub. Date: February 9, 2010
My Rating:

Goodreads says, "As Brava, Valentine begins, snow falls like glitter over Tuscany at the wedding of her grandmother, Teodora, and longtime love, Dominic. Valentine's dreams are dashed when Gram announces that Alfred, "the prince," Valentine's only brother and nemesis, has been named her partner at Angelini Shoes. Devastated, Valentine falls into the arms of Gianluca, a sexy Tuscan tanner who made his romantic intentions known on the Isle of Capri. Despite their passion for one another and Gianluca's heartfelt letters, a long-distance relationship seems impossible.  As Valentine turns away from romance and devotes herself to her work, mentor and pattern cutter June Lawton guides her through her power struggle with Alfred, while best friend and confidante Gabriel Biondi moves into 166 Perry Street, transforming her home and point of view. Savvy financier Bret Fitzpatrick, Valentine's first love and former fiance who still carries a torch for her, encourages Valentine to exploit her full potential as a designer and a business woman with a plan that will bring her singular creations to the world."

At the opening of the novel, Valentine is with her family in Tuscany for the wedding of her grandmother, Teodora, to Dominic.  Everyone is having a hard time with this, especially Valentine, because she has to say goodbye to her grandmother, who was her roommate, her mentor, business partner, and best friend.  Teodora is staying in Italy with Dominic and handing over her house and her shoe company to Valentine, but the catch is that Alfred, Valentine's brother, will be helping Valentine run the financial aspect of the company.  Valentine is destroyed by this, because she hasn't gotten along with Alfred in years and is confused why her grandmother would suggest this.  Enter Gianluca, if you read Very Valentine you'll remember him, and she starts something back up with him while in Tuscany, but it quickly fizzles when she goes back to New York.  They try and pursue a long distance relationship, but Valentine is distracted by the demands of her new life and doesn't appreciate the art of letter writing.  She turns away from love to develop a new shoe line, run the company with her brother, and remodel her grandmother's house, of course with the help of her gay best friend, Gabriel.  Valentine misses Gianluca, but isn't sure how "to do it all."  For loyal fans of Adriana Trigiani, you won't have to worry, because Brava, Valentine doesn't disappoint.

Trigiani is one of my favorite adult authors.  I can always count on her to transport me to another world, whether it be Tuscany, Capri, or Buenos Aires.  Her characters are always traveling, which I love and her descriptions of the destinations are to die for.  She creates such a vivid world. I always want to spend the afternoon drinking red wine listening to Frank Sinatra after reading her novels.  Trigiani also has the power to make her readers laugh hysterically at Valentine's Italian family one minute and then cry over something the next minute.  Whenever I read her books, I am always sure to laugh out loud.  For example, her Aunt Feen's antics at the wedding of her sister, Teodora.  Priceless.  I think I can especially relate to a lot of this, because my mother and grandmother are 100% Italian. Trigiani knows how to write Italians like no other author, that's for sure!  

If you enjoyed Very Valentine, I'm sure you'll be dying to know what happens with Gianluca and Valentine.  Although this story focuses on Valentine's love interest, there's so much more to it.  I loved the relationship between June, the pattern cutter at the shoe company, and Valentine as well as her long time friendship with Gabriel.  Trigiani always knows how to write a fabulous love story, but never makes it too overpowering.  Valentine learns a lot about herself during this novel and really evolves.  The ending won't disappoint you!

Now I am desperate to get my hands on the third novel in this trilogy.  I am a sucker for happy endings so I am going to keep my fingers crossed that it all works out.  The last novel is entitled Ciao, Valentine and it comes out February 2011.  I also really want to read her first young adult novel, Viola in Reel Life, which is also part of a series and has already been published.  Things seem to be really exciting for Trigiani as of late.  One of her other novels, Big Stone Gap, is being made into a movie and Very Valentine will be on Lifetime!  For me, the most exciting news of all is Adriana Trigiani's Tours in Italy.  OMG.  I would love to go; I can already see me enjoying an espresso in Rome and a limoncello in Capri.  Ahhh, a girl can dream.

*Preview the first chapter of Brava, Valentine by listening to this fabulous audio recording


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