Friday, December 27, 2013

Brava Valentine by Adriana Trigiani (Audiobook Review)

Brava Valentine by Adriana Trigiani
Harper Audio
Released: February 9, 2010
Narrator: Cassandra Campbell
Length: 11 hrs 24 mins

After reading Very Valentine a few years ago (read my review), I knew I wanted to read Brava Valentine, the second book in the trilogy. However, I never got around to it. But then Trigiani herself sends me the third book and I knew I just HAD to read the second before I dug into The Supreme Macaroni Company. So I borrowed the audiobook at the library. I loved this second book!

Brava Valentine continues the story of Valentine and her Italian-American family. Teodora, the grandmother, is now newly married and has left the Angelini Shoe Company to Valentine and her brother. Valentine, who does not get along with her brother isn’t happy about this but several life lessons are learned on both their parts as they work to expand the company. Gianluca is back in the picture and Valentine has to decide if she wants to pursue a relationship or not. And then, there is the surprising discovery of relatives from her grandfather’s side that grew apart years ago because of a family rift.

This book had it all: family drama, friendships, romance and self-discovery. Once again, Trigiani had me roaring with laughter at the beginning of this novel with her reintroduction to Valentine’s family. The beginning of her first book had the same effect on me. Trigiani explores family faults, quirks and relationships so well. Every family, of course, has crazy moments and situations, and I can certainly relate to Italian families and their drama. Valentine misses her grandmother who now lives in Italy, and she must deal with serious family issues. She is independent and smart but also kind and devoted to her family and friends.

I liked how Valentine grew as a character in this book. She knows how to make good friends and keep them, but she has trouble with the love department. Gianluca is older than Valentine, a mature man who is in love with Valentine but who allows her to discover what she wants. He was so swoon worthy! Now that brings me to Cassandra Campbell, the narrator of this book. She was awesome! She was able to do all the different voices of both men and women, the distinct New York accent and of course, the Italian accent that was so sexy on Gianluca. I also loved the Italian phrases throughout the story, and Campbell pronounced them well.

I’m so glad I decided to listen to this book because it really brought the characters alive for me. Now I’m ready to delve into the third book to see how it all continues and comes to an end. Trigiani truly knows how to create interesting, flawed, and honest characters we come to care about. I didn’t feel this so much in the first book, even though I liked it, so I was very pleased this story gripped me more. I can’t wait to see how Valentine handles the upcoming challenges in her life with the next book!

Note: This book is rated P = Profanity for some mild religious expletives.

Reviewed by Laura

Disclosure: I borrowed this audiobook from the library and was not told how to rate or review this product.

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