I was very excited to read this book. At first glance I was super excited about the cover... the COVER, people! Just LOOK at it! As many of you, my lovely readers know, I am a sucker for a great cover. In fact, I have an embarrassingly large amount of books lining my shelves that I bought simply because the cover was a stunner.
Like this one.
Granted, I borrowed it, but same diff.
This story is written by a woman who not only is a bestselling author already, but she writes for TV and is also a director of film. This you can see in her writing, which is very visual, and absolutely reads like a film being run and fed directly into your mind. I loved it for that reason alone.
It is a love story. It is a girl meets boy, loses boy, meets friend, moves to the US kind of story. I love love stories where two people meet and due to their circumstances they cannot be together. Then they get separated and pine for one another over the years until the meet again... you get my drift. Unrequited love... one of the best kind to read about! One of the best examples of this kind of story is The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons, which I almost lost my mind over a few years back.
It starts out all fine and dandy. In fact, the first 1/3 of the book is AWESOME! Let me explain.....
We meet Enza and Ciro. Two teenagers growing up on a hillside in delicious Italy at the turn of the 20th century. But first we get a little back story of Ciro, which is heartbreaking when his mother has to abandon him and his brother at a convent in this little hillside village in Italy. In fact, this will come handy in later as Ciro pines so deeply for his mother throughout the book, that your heart just breaks at his mere mention of her!
Enza is a strapping and strong girl and her and Ciro meet as teenagers. She has just experienced a tragedy and Ciro and her are drawn to one another, and suddenly Ciro, a rabid playboy, is completely overwhelmed by his feelings for this girl he just met.
And here is where Adriana lost me totally.
Ciro and Enza begin "stepping out" as they called it in those days, and finally they exchange a kiss. Which, apparently, knocks Ciro's socks off. Enza falls in love instantly, and it appears that Ciro has finally found the love of his life.
What happens next is so weirdly disjointed that I just could not get past it for the rest of the entire novel.
Immediately after this, Ciro returns to the church and discovers some strumpet in the arms of the local priest, and the priest decides that he must be banished from the village. This part is not strange, in fact a great little plot twist. Here comes the part I just didn't get. So, the nuns cook up a plan for Ciro to go to America and stay with relatives. And here's what I immediately think...."Oh, he's going to be so torn because he finally found Enza the love of his life! How awesome! This is going to be so great to read, he'll try to see her before he goes, he'll be devastated..." Think Les Misarables when right after Marius and Cosette meet and Jean tells her they have to leave, what does she do? SHE FREAKS OUT! She writes Marius a note, and then the whole carriage ride she is super sad and all piney wishing she could stay with Marius...
Do you know what I'm saying here?
Not only does Ciro not seem to give an Italian rats ass about Enza, he NEVER EVEN MENTIONS HER ONCE. Nor does the author even put her in his thoughts, at all. It is bizarre. In fact, the pining he does for his mother, which makes total sense btw, he should have been doing some of that for Enza for me to even remotely believe his chasing after her when they meet up again in NYC. But he so didn't. Not even once. Once he had been in NY for quite awhile, he kind of had a random flash of "some girl" he had shared a kiss with back in the homeland.
And from that point on I just could not possibly believe their undying love story for one second.
Especially later when they accidentally meet up again in America and eventually end up together in this long lost love affair.
And the whole last 1/2 of the book is quite boring, it is just a story about a woman working as a seamstress in the Opera in New York, while Ciro is trying to make it as a shoemaker in the same city. That's it. That's all.
So by the end, I was like.... that's it??
Very very disappointing.