Very Valentine

Very Valentine ****

by Adriana Trigiani

An Edible Book Review inspired by Jain at Food for Thought, a delicious blog for readers with an appetite for the written word.

“Meet the Roncalli and Angelini families, a vibrant cast of colorful characters who navigate tricky family dynamics with hilarity and brio, from magical Manhattan to the picturesque hills of bella Italia. Very Valentine is the first novel in a trilogy and is sure to be the new favorite of Trigiani’s millions of fans around the world.”

“In this luscious, contemporary family saga, the Angelini Shoe Company, makers of exquisite wedding shoes since 1903, is one of the last family-owned businesses in Greenwich Village. The company is on the verge of financial collapse. It falls to thirty-three-year-old Valentine Roncalli, the talented and determined apprentice to her grandmother, the master artisan Teodora Angelini, to bring the family’s old-world craftsmanship into the twenty-first century and save the company from ruin.”

“While juggling a budding romance with dashing chef Roman Falconi, her duty to her family, and a design challenge presented by a prestigious department store, Valentine returns to Italy with her grandmother to learn new techniques and seek one-of-a-kind materials for building a pair of glorious shoes to beat their rivals. There, in Tuscany, Naples, and on the Isle of Capri, a family secret is revealed as Valentine discovers her artistic voice and much more, turning her life and the family business upside down in ways she never expected.   

This was a fun, quick read, the first book of a trilogy (you can also read book number two which is out now).

You have to love a character described as: “I’m not the pretty sister. I’m not the smart sister either. I am the funny one.”


It was also fun & timely as a theme of a tablescape, using my components from a Christmas table, adding in some shoes, chocolate, rose petals, Valentine votives & some new napkin rings.


“We’ve changed though, the Young Italian Americans. As my generation marries outside our group, our children don’t look as Italian as we do, our Roman noses shorten, the Neapolitan jaws soften, the jet black hair fades to brown, and often directly to blond. We assimilate, thanks to the occasional Irish husband and Clairol. As the muse of southern Italian women, Donatella Versace, went platinum blond, so went the Brooklyn girls. But there are still a few of us left, the old-fashioned paisanas who wait for curly hair to come back in style, can our own tomatoes, and eat Sunday dinner together after church. We find joy in th same things our grandparents did, a night out over a plate of homemade pasta, hot bread, and sweet wine, which ends with a conversation over cannolis at Ferrara’s.”

“We are very proud of the components we use to make shoes. Gram travels to Italy every year to buy supplies. When you cook, it’s all about quality ingredients, and the same is true for making shoes. Sumptuous fabrics, fine leathers, and hand-tooled embellishments make all the difference and define our brand. Loyalty plays into Gram’s work ethic also. She buys our leather and suede from the Vechialrelli family of Arezzo, Italy, the descendants of the same tanner my great-grandfather used.”

Food is abundant in this book, which no doubt will continue in this delicious trilogy. . . delicate crab cakes, tiny potatoes with buttons of sour cream and caviar, clams casino, baby lamb chops, roast pork. . .


The requisite bowls of pasta, manicotti, ravioli & lasagna. .  . which according to Valentine’s mother’s rule of etiquette, dictates that it must be presented whole, like a welcome home gift~ not with a square missing as to be seen as a leftover :-)

Wine is flowing, olive oil is drizzling, bread is baking. . .

Scents of butter, sage, & warm burgundy wine are just a few that waft from these pages. . .

Instead of cooking any of a dozen meals, I took liberties with this description of Valentine’s father in the book for Food for Thought:

“This is a man who would sprinkle grated cheese on cake if he could.”

So I am serving a cheesecake sampler, with a well-heeled server in honor of the Angelini Shoe Company (and my husband’s birthday :-)

“Very Valentine is a sumptuous treat, a journey of dreams fulfilled, a celebration of love and loss filled with Trigiani’s trademark heart and humor.”   

Napkins & Napkin Rings/ Pier 1

Glass Shoes & Handbags/ Hobby Lobby

Well Heeled Server & Velvet Shoes/ Home Goods

The winner of my giveaway  by Random Number Generator is Slyvia at Slyvia’s Simple Life~

email me, Slyvia and I’m make arrangements to get your gift cards to you!

Thank you for your visit & to my hostesses:

  31 comments for “Very Valentine

  1. Pondside
    February 2, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    I just know I’d love this one – and I’m reading to my heart’s content as TGD heals, so I’ll look for it. Thanks for the wonderful read.

  2. Can't Believe We Ate...
    February 2, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    How elegant! What a lucky husband…what a fun book! I’m adding it to my wish-list!

  3. Pat
    February 2, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    Happy birthday to your husband, Mary! Your valentine table is exquisite.
    How can I resist reading this book since it gives a shout out to my home town of Brooklyn? :) Oh, those cannolis at Ferrara’s are so good!

  4. February 2, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    Dear Mary , my heart is pounding with joy and excitement…you brought me to tears …and .. NOW I don’t even know how to e-mail you / I can’t see your e-mail anywhere……!!!

  5. February 2, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    omg, this book is not something i should be reading with all this lush food! and of course your table and chocolates are pretty darn tempting~ look at your wine bottle even, dang let the good times roll in the south!

    i look at your chocolate longingly, knowing one taste will be the death of me… i could never stop. thank goodness i love roses too, let me just breath those in :) but that cheesecake … so many flavors, so compact, so perfect or my tongue… happy bday to your husband, tell him to gorge for me!

    its a miracle i wasn’t electrocuted licking the screen, SHAME ON YOU TEMPTING ME!

    oh that was delightful, i think i need a shower now…

    thanks for the nonstop beauty, brains and bites!

  6. February 2, 2011 at 3:41 pm

    Fabulous! Your table is exquisite! Such imagination! Loved every single detail and was astounded at the label on the wine bottle! Details, details! Such beautiful details!
    The book (and #2) already on my To Read list!
    Thank you, Mary!

  7. February 2, 2011 at 4:17 pm

    You popped this one straight out of the ballpark!!! Wow! Everything is fabulous right down to the most minute detail (the slipper cake server and the Haute Red pinot noir!). That stemware is fabulous!!! I’ve been looking for something similar and am determined not to “settle” for less. It’s beautiful! Using the little glass handbag for flatware…genius! Go ahead, girl, with you bad self!!! :-) Thanks for stopping in my place earlier to check out my Bunco table. I’m staring out the window at the 12+ inches of snow that fell yesterday and wondering if my guests are going to show up tomorrow for our luncheon. That should be the least of my worries, but it’s not! :-) Have a great week, Mary! Talk to you soon!!!

  8. February 2, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    What a glorious review of this book…I have to read this one. The images just beautiful. I love this womens description in the book…I have an image of her in Capri with red shoes and lipstick and those dark hair locks.Love the glass slipper shoe on your tablescape. What an Italian romantic feeling!xx

  9. February 2, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    Oh how lovely…all of it. I am feeling ‘very valentine-y’ myself these days with my anniversary next week, too! Ah, February…
    Love, A

  10. February 2, 2011 at 8:29 pm

    Perfectly accomplished..Very very haute gamme.. Just right for the season.

  11. February 2, 2011 at 9:13 pm

    Simply gorgeous! Love the shoe server! Where did you find that? Thanks for visiting my blog for Food for Thought!

  12. February 2, 2011 at 9:51 pm

    What a gorgeous table. It is so elegant and romantic. I adore the shoes, both the glass and the paper. Very very fun and whimsical.Sounds like a fun book and of course the way you decorate for your books, they all are over the top, it always makes me want to eat – oops- I mean read them.

  13. February 2, 2011 at 9:55 pm

    The book sounds amusing, but your table is hot! Please don’t tell me you made the dessert which is making my mouth water.

  14. February 2, 2011 at 10:24 pm

    This is a most sultry table. I love the red roses, the gold rimmed plates, the shoe with the red candy! Deep brown chocolates, the beaded placemats. I was swept away by your lovely table. The book sounds like a great read! Lovely desserts too!

  15. February 2, 2011 at 10:37 pm

    Loved the glass slipper and the metal slide cake server. What is the white china pattern? Very nice.

  16. February 2, 2011 at 11:29 pm

    What a winning combination red, white and chocolate makes! If the book is have as good as your tabletop interpretation — it’s good…..really, REALLY good!

  17. February 2, 2011 at 11:45 pm

    Loved this post! What perfect time for this book review and this table. Love all of the shoe references on the table. Your napkin rings are gorgeous – well, the table is gorgeous! And even a high heel cake server and a wine with a shoe label!! What fun! Sounds like a good read. love the rose petals in the hurricanes. laurie

  18. February 3, 2011 at 12:32 am

    You always have the NEATEST posts! I adore this. That glass slipper is so cute as it the other slipper. Love it all from the roses to the book! :-)

    And if you look up and notice that the torte has disappeared, you need look no further! ;-)

    Happy Tablescape Thursday…


    Sheila :-)

  19. February 3, 2011 at 1:20 am

    Mary, as someone above said, “Your knocked this one out of the ball park.” I’ve got to read this book. I’m ordering it immediately. I’m fond of trilogies!
    Your table is perfection with every detail ~ the wine label, the shoes, all the gorgeous roses, beautiful dishes, and a cheesecake sampler. Wow! I want to pull up a chair and toast both you and the birthday boy. Bravo!
    I’ll be back to visit this one again! ~ Sarah

  20. February 3, 2011 at 6:59 am

    Thanks for all your generous comments! The white china is Fitz & Floyd Classique D’Or.

  21. February 3, 2011 at 8:22 am

    Another great book recommendation! When will I ever get the chance to read all these books!

    I absolutely adore this tablescape. Something about the red just oozes romance and love :) And that cheesecake platter is to die for!

  22. February 3, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    Hi lovely lady, Your Tablescapes is so romance. I love the color Red also sweet lady. I hope you can come see my Tablescapes for my Romantic table with pink~~~ and I hope you and your family have a nice day and keep warm !!!

  23. February 3, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    Another great book review — and gorgeous table! The red and black with the elegant china and stemware reflect such romance! And now I’m STARVING. Oh, for a nice plate of pasta!

  24. February 3, 2011 at 11:16 pm

    oooh! Beautiful! I loev it all and especially the beaded placemats and the yummy cheesecake!

    Blessings & Aloha!
    Thank you so, so much for stopping by!

  25. February 4, 2011 at 12:19 am

    Beautiful post to go with a beautiful table…love the little glass slipper.

  26. February 4, 2011 at 1:42 am

    I’ve always thought that I would do a table with a tiny shoe at each place setting…perhaps with flowers in it. You’ve inspire me to pursue that once again. You have such a marvelous eye for design and for translating the theme of your book to your table….well done, perceptive reader. Thank you for sharing your lovely design. Cherry Kay

  27. Happier Than A Pig in Mud
    February 6, 2011 at 8:07 am

    What a beautiful table and Happy B-Day to your hubby! Lovin’ the pretty red wine glasses:@)

  28. February 7, 2011 at 9:28 pm

    Awesom table and it looks like a great book! Thanks for being a part of Seasonal Sundays.

    – The Tablescaper

  29. February 8, 2011 at 10:14 am

    Your table is fabulous and the glass slipper so unique. Enjoyed your post immensely.


  30. February 12, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    This table is absolutely stunning! So many wonderful ideas wrapped into one table. Very amazing and breathtaking.
    Thanks so much for adding this beauty to The Valentines Party.

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