This is a clean, sweeping saga of marriage, hard work, family, Italian Opera, friendship and love. The story begins in northern Italy and then immigrates to America in the early 20th century. The shoemaker’s wife is exemplary, a steadfastly strong but loving character, living true to her values and her heart, and the handsome, earnest shoemaker is a credit to the image of Italian men. The book spans both their lifetimes.
This novel is not facile, ornate, or profound, but is rendered straight-forwardly with authentic detail; its prose is a bit awkward and choppy at times, but it touches the reader in a gentle way that increases as the book progresses. It is long (468 pages), so I listened to the audio book version, where this family history came especially alive for me, complete with an Italian accent and all the names and places pronounced correctly. Not too many new books are so wholesome, faithful, or honest to real life. I recommend it and give it four stars.