Author: Adriana Trigiani
Narrator: Cassandra Campbell
Published: February 9, 2010
Genre: chick lit
Audiobook: 10 discs
Source: borrowed from the library
My Rating: 5 stars
Synopsis (from GoodReads): As "Brava, Valentine" begins, Valentine learns that Alfred, her only brother and nemesis, has been named her partner at Angelini Shoes. Devastated, Valentine falls into the arms of Gianluca, a sexy Tuscan tanner. Despite their passion for one another, a long-distance relationship seems impossible. As Valentine turns away from romance and devotes herself to her work, Bret Fitzpatrick, her first love and former fiancEe, encourages Valentine to exploit her full potential as a designer with a plan that will bring her singular creations to the world. A once-in-a-lifetime business opportunity takes Valentine to Buenos Aires, where she finds a long-buried secret. Once unearthed, the truth rocks the Roncallis and Valentine is determined to hold her family together. More so, she longs to create one of her own, but is torn between a past love that nurtured her, and a new one that promises to sustain her.
My Thoughts: I was nervous to listen to this book instead of reading it. I loved the first book in this trilogy and didn't know if that would translate into a good audiobook. Let me just say this: I believe this to be one of the greatest audiobooks that I will ever listen to. Now, I realize that that is a big statement to make. But everything about this audiobook was perfect. The story carries over from the first novel and puts you right into the action. Adriana Trigiani puts you into the story and has you nervous for Valentine as she embarks on her new business venture. Cassandra Campbell is a fantastic narrator and really made this audiobook great. She has a great voice and was able to differentiate between all of the different characters (between the large Italian-American family, the Italians, and South Americans, she had her work cut out for her). Even when there were many characters in a scene, she was able to change her voice enough so that you are able to tell who is speaking. She is fantastic and really made this audiobook what it is.
The story in this book continues with the first book but is progressing so that the plot isn't stagnant or dragging. Since Valentine is dealing with taking her handmade shoe business into the mass production market, you are able to see how Valentine handles business. I also loved the interaction with Valentine and her brother, Albert. Albert wasn't featured that much in the first book, but he more than makes up for it in this book. I felt like all the characters were adding something to the novel, making you think about something from a different view point or adding something to the conversation. I also loved Valentine and Gianluca's relationship. I loved how Trigiani handled it. Instead of making Valentine this person who is so easy to love, she allows you to she her faults. You are unsure if these two can make it work, but you are rooting for them to be together and for Valentine to make her business a success.
The entire reading experience was just amazing with this novel. The narrator was fantastic, the story engaging, the characters intriguing, creating one of the best novels that I have ever listened to. I cannot wait for the third book in this trilogy to be released, and you can bet that I will be listening to it!