Set in the Big Band era of the 1940s and World War II, this is the story of two talented working class kids who marry and become a successful singing act, until time, temptation, and the responsibilities of home and family derail their dreams.
Adriana Trigiani offers a charming look at midcentury Italian-American family life and a humorous glimpse into the travails of celebrity ... A few scenes drag (a tawdry hotel encounter with an old crush, a long-winded deathbed confession). But Tony’s Wife shows the rewards and regrets of a long life, and offers the lesson that 'happiness is all about accepting what’s enough.'
Though they eventually marry, this is not a conventional love story. Instead, it’s the tale of a Jersey Girl who rails against a society that expects her to be dependent on a man and the one man she loves but cannot depend on. Like Trigiani’s...best work, Tony’s Wife is an immersive experience, with well-rounded, warm characters, pre-WWII fashion, Jersey accents, and homemade pasta. Moving and delightful.
Tony's wife is a bit of a misnomer, as the strength of the book is Chi Chi's story, but Trigiani is the master of writing complex Italian families, full of characters who love and live with passionate (and sometimes fractured) hearts ... Trigiani delivers another solid historical saga, and her readers will be pleased. As in Laurie Lico Albanese's Stolen Beauty, Jane MacKenzie's Tapestry of War, and titles by Sarah Jio, readers will follow characters around the world and through the years with interest.