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Monday, November 11, 2013

As Much as I Adore the Author, I Just Don't Love the Series ...

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

(Note:  While this review will not contain spoilers for The Supreme Macaroni Company, it may inadvertently spoil plot surprises from earlier novels in the Valentine trilogy.  As always, I recommend reading books in a series in order.)

Despite her reservations about the union and an ill-timed kiss with an old friend, 35-year-old Valentine Roncalli is set to marry Italian tanner Gianluca Vechiarelli on February 14.  In six weeks!  Between now and then, Valentine hopes they can straighten out a few major tangles.  Where to live, for instance.  Valentine can't imagine leaving Greenwich Village, where her family set up its now famous shoe company over 100 years ago.  But Gianluca hates the city, much preferring the gentle Italian countryside.  Valentine wants children; Gianluca already has a grown daughter.  Even after she's married, possibly with kids, Valentine will need to work at a frantic pace to keep the Angelini Shoe Company solvent; Gianluca wants a traditional Italian wife, one who has time for him.  Valentine's solution?  Ignore the problems.  The happy couple can work out all the snarls after the marriage.  Right?

Trouble begins even before the couple's honeymoon in the Big Easy finishes.  It seems as if they don't agree on anything!  Valentine's already considering an annulment.  The pair work things out, but the tension between them doesn't fully dissipate, especially when some surprise twists and turns force them to face their worries, fears and stresses head-on.  Is their marriage strong enough to withstand it all?  Or was their tumultuous union doomed from the beginning?  

As much as I adored Adriana Trigiani's Big Stone Gap series, I've had trouble getting into this newer series.  For one thing, Valentine's troublesome as a protagonist—her brash personality, fickle nature, and selfish choices often make her difficult to love.  Indeed, I've often wondered why the story's cast adores her so.  Also, the books in this series seem to get too bogged down in detail, making the plots sag.  As for a central conflict that keeps the tale on track, always steering it toward an exciting conclusion, The Supreme Macaroni Company doesn't really have one.  It's more episodic, the only real question being if Valentine and Gianluca will stay married.  In short, it's a little dull.  Even the melodramatic finale doesn't have quite the impact it should.  On the bright side, Trigiani knows how to write about families in a way that's warm, funny and always authentic.  And, if you're a fan of what I call the Trigiani Trifecta (Italian families, Italian food, and New York fashion), you'll find plenty of it here.  I just wish I enjoyed this series more.  Ah, well.

(Readalikes:  Very Valentine and Brava, Valentina by Adriana Trigiani; also her Big Stone Gap series [Big Stone Gap; Big Cherry Holler; Milk Glass Moon; Home to Big Stone Gap])


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for language (no F-bombs) and sexual innuendo/content
To the FTC, with love:  I received a finished copy of The Supreme Macaroni Company from the generous folks at Harper Collins via those at TLC Book Tours.  Thank you!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this book for the tour.


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