Based on the lives of the author's grandparents, Ciro and Enza live in the Italian mountains at the turn of the twentieth century.
They’ve already experienced great loss when they meet as teenagers, and their friendship seems to offer a new hope for the future. But their troubles continue and, independently, they are both forced to leave home and to start a new life in America. Thinking they have lost each other for ever, Ciro finds work making shoes while Enza takes a factory job and becomes a seamstress. But living in the same city, it’s not long before their paths cross.
This is an old-fashioned charming love story. It’s a family saga which extols the virtues of loyalty and devotion, and the value of friendship. It is a tale of being far from home, living out the American dream, and hard work winning through. Its characters show how to stand firm in the face of adversity and always have hope. The Shoemaker's Wife is feel-good, inspiring and uplifting, and is a good escapist read. It is difficult to resist turning the pages, as the events and difficulties facing these characters seem relentless. But the story doesn’t feel contrived and this may be due to the fact that it’s based on real life.