I have not read any of Adriana Trigiani's books before but I couldn't resist two things about this book:
1. It's cover (the one in the picture above - different to the US copy I think)
2. It's locations (New York and Italy)
I was thinking even if the book wasn't so great I would enjoy being transported to these places. Turns out that Very Valentine was a great book!
Valentine Roncalli is an Italian American woman in her mid-30's living in and working in Greenwich Village. Valentine lives and works with her grandmother in the family shoe company - Angelini Shoes - making wedding shoes for the women of New York since 1903. Valentine loves her work and has dreams of taking the business further - but the company is in financial trouble and may have to close its doors before Valentine gets her chance to move things forward.
There are of course the family and relationships sub plots as well but the real focus of this book for me was Valentine - and the choices she has made, and will make, in regards to her life and her future.
It was so refreshing to read a "chick lit" book that did not focus on the main female character in pursuit, or in the midst of, being a wife and/or mother at the expense of everything else in her life. Not that there is anything wrong with these pursuits - they are just not usually characters that I can connect to or care about as much. Valentine was a strong, independent woman - sure, she made some mistakes (don't we all?!) but I loved reading about her and her story. Apparently there is a sequel in the wind - can't wait to read it!