Kiss Carlo Book Review & Giveaway

Sometimes, I find that a book's cover leaves me no choice but to add the book to my reading list.  I wasn't sure if the book I am featuring this morning was a romance novel or a mystery or a biography--I just saw that cover and wanted to read it!  This morning, I am sharing my review of Kiss Carlo by Adriana Trigiani.  What did I think of this historical fiction novel?

Book Title: Kiss Carlo by Adriana Trigiani
Category: Adult Fiction, 560 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author or publisher for use in my review.  All opinions are my own.

About the Book

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.

My Review

I loved the setting development of Kiss Carlo.  I enjoy historical fiction--especially novels focusing on "real" life and family interractions.  I enjoyed the author's setting development as we moved from place to place.  Her words really do transport readers to the times and places of the novel. Readers will feel that they are in the homes and day to day lives of the characters.

Kiss Carlo required patience from me as a reader.  There are several characters to organize throughout this novel--and there were times that the dialogue and character development was a bit monotonous.  I enjoyed the setting--and felt that the storyline was entertaining--but, I found myself trying to skip sections or setting the book aside from time to time to keep moving through the novel.  I did not really develop any great attachment to any of the characters and the story moved rather slowly for my interest.  There were parts of the book that were quite funny and parts that kept the realistic feel of the time and place through the character scenes and interactions.  I found myself re-reading passages at times and coming back to the story over several days.  It was not a novel that really grabbed my interest nor was it one that I couldn't put down.

Would I recommend Kiss Carlo by Adriana Trigiani.  I think readers who really enjoy historical fiction will find value in the setting and the depictions of the family's lives and times.  The actual storyline is an entertaining one--but, the character development and pace of the novel is a little more dull and slow than I would prefer.  This is one of those books that the history lover and the reality based fiction fan in me enjoyed--but, I wish that I had grown more attached to the characters and their plights.

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Meet the Author

Photo Credit: Tim Stephenson
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.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Pinterest ~ Instagram

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