Monday, June 26, 2017

Kiss Carlo by Adriana Trigiani (Review)

Book Details:

Title: Kiss Carlo by Adriana Trigiani
Publisher: Harper
Category: Adult Fiction, 544 pages
Genre: Women's Fiction, Historical Fiction
Published: June 20, 2017
Content Rating: G

Book Description:

From Adriana Trigiani, the beloved New York Times-bestselling author of The Shoemaker’s Wife, comes an exhilarating epic novel of love, loyalty, and creativity—the story of an Italian-American family on the cusp of change.

It’s 1949 and South Philadelphia bursts with opportunity during the post-war boom. The Palazzini Cab Company & Western Union Telegraph Office, owned and operated by Dominic Palazzini and his three sons, is flourishing: business is good, they’re surrounded by sympathetic wives and daughters-in-law, with grandchildren on the way. But a decades-long feud that split Dominic and his brother Mike and their once-close families sets the stage for a re-match.

Amidst the hoopla, the arrival of an urgent telegram from Italy upends the life of Nicky Castone (Dominic and his wife’s orphaned nephew) who lives and works with his Uncle Dom and his family. Nicky decides, at 30, that he wants more—more than just a job driving Car #4 and more than his longtime fiancée Peachy DePino, a bookkeeper, can offer. When he admits to his fiancée that he’s been secretly moonlighting at the local Shakespeare theater company, Nicky finds himself drawn to the stage, its colorful players and to the determined Calla Borelli, who inherited the enterprise from her father, Nicky must choose between the conventional life his family expects of him or chart a new course and risk losing everything he cherishes.

From the dreamy mountaintop village of Roseto Valfortore in Italy, to the vibrant streets of South Philly, to the close-knit enclave of Roseto, Pennsylvania, to New York City during the birth of the golden age of television, Kiss Carlo is a powerful, inter-generational story that celebrates the ties that bind, while staying true to oneself when all hope seems lost.

Told against the backdrop of some of Shakespeare’s greatest comedies, this novel brims with romance as long buried secrets are revealed, mistaken identities are unmasked, scores are settled, broken hearts are mended and true love reigns. Trigiani’s consummate storytelling skill and her trademark wit, along with a dazzling cast of characters will enthrall readers. Once again, the author has returned to her own family garden to create an unforgettable feast. Kiss Carlo is a jubilee, resplendent with hope, love, and the abiding power of la famiglia.

Purchase Links

My Review:
Reviewed by Laura Fabiani

Adriana Trigiani's latest novel is a feel-good Italian-American romp filled with wonderful drama and comedy, much like the Shakespearean plays that are referenced and part of the plot. I enjoyed reading it and was entertained throughout. Set in 1950s Philadelphia, it richly described the post-war era in an Italian-American borough.

Nicky Castone is an average guy, orphaned young and raised by his Aunt Jo and Uncle Dom. He works as a cab driver in the family business and moonlights at the local theater where he loves to help the actors perform Shakespearean plays. He has a fiancée of seven years but overall is not truly happy. When he risks everything by impersonating an important Italian person, he sets off a set of events that brings about big changes for him and his extended family.

I loved the scenes between the family members, how everybody is in everybody's business. Like Shakespeare's plays, the drama that unfolds is tempered with comedic relief that cracked me up. Yeah...Italians are crazy enough to pull some of the stunts portrayed in this book. (My hubby and I are both children of immigrant Italians who are loud and boisterous.) Nicky starts out as an anti-hero, flawed and lovable, whose great qualities are subtle and heartwarming. Even the secondary characters were memorable, like Hortense Mooney, the black woman who worked as a telegraph operator.

I found this book different from The Shoemaker's Wife, which I loved. That was more about the immigrant experience and was truly epic and moving. Kiss Carlo is more lighthearted and in line with Trigiani's Valentine trilogy and Lucia Lucia. So if you loved her storytelling in those books, you will love Kiss Carlo. It was a fun and entertaining story that would transmit well to cinema. Brava Adriana!

To read more reviews, please visit Adriana Trigiani's page on TLC Book Tours.

Disclosure: Thanks to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for sending me this book for review. I was not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.

About the Author:

Adriana Trigiani is the bestselling author of 17 books, which have been published in 36 countries around the world. She is a playwright, television writer/producer and filmmaker. She wrote and directed the film version of her novel Big Stone Gap, which was shot entirely on location in her Virginia hometown. She is co-founder of the Origin Project, an in-school writing program that serves more than a thousand students in Appalachia. She lives in Greenwich Village with her family.

Visit Adriana at her website:, like her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

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  1. I agree - this is more like her old style of books. I loved it!

  2. I enjoyed your review. I enjoyed The Shoemakers Wife. I'm going to add this to my ToRead list!

  3. Yes! I agree with your comparisons to her previous novels. A very enjoyable reading experience, for sure.

  4. Awesome review. Sounds great. Glad that you enjoyed it too. Thanks for sharing. :)

  5. As the daughter of an Italian-American family, so much of Trigiani's stories and characters resonate with me - they're like my family!

    Thanks for being a part of the tour.


Thank you for commenting! I appreciate your feedback.

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