Big Stone Gap – Adriana Trigiani
Big Stone Gap is the story of young Ave Maria, the recently orphaned daughter of Italian immigrants to the mountain town of Big Stone Gap, USA. An avid book reader, Ave Maria is the sort of person who is quiet and likes keeping her personal affairs to herself. However, when she has her mother’s will read by the town lawyer, her family affairs soon become the talking matter of the small town she resides in. To add to her distress, she receives two wedding proposals one after the another.
Interesting storyline? Yes. Did I like the book? I’m sorry to say, no. The heroine seemed way too confused for her age, and I kept wishing she would open her eyes and see what was right in front of her. The book does have its few moments of humour, but the story seems to ramble on and on endlessly. I know the book has received good reviews from many, but it didn’t keep my attention captured. Not something I’d recommend.
Lucia, Lucia – Adriana Trigiani
I seem to be reading a lot of Adriana Trigiani, yes! Lucia, Lucia, set in the 1950s, is all about Lucia Sartori, the daughter of an Italian couple who have been living in the USA for long. Born into a traditional, protective family in the midst of four brothers, the beautiful Lucia works as a seamstress in the Custom Department in one of the most famous clothing stores in town. Rebellious, hardworking, intelligent and talented, Lucia is a lover of beautiful dresses, jewellery and all the good things in life. She creates waves in her family when she announces her intention to continue working and stay financially independent after her marriage to her childhood sweetheart, Dante. What happens after that? I leave it to you to find out!
I LOVED this book. There is Italian charm, drama, romance, old-world beauty, tragedy, food – everything that you would want in a book. Thankfully, the heroine is not a bimbo, and someone who believes in standing on her own two feet, without needing a male to protect her all the time, contrary to what was in vogue back then. I loved the way the author has written this book, beginning at the end and then having the heroine narrate her story in flashback, chapter by chapter. It is an easy read, something you can finish off within a day or two. It is entertaining enough to make you turn one page after the other.
Mrs. Harris Goes To Paris – Paul Gallico
Mrs. Harris is a little old cleaner who works in a number of houses in an upmarket London suburb. The sweet-natured and kind-hearted Mrs. Harris falls in love with a Dior dress that she comes across in a rich woman’s house that she works in, and wants one for herself, though she has no real use for it. The fact that a Dior dress will cost her her life’s savings does not daunt her. She manages to save just enough to buy a dress, flight tickets to and from Paris, and one day’s stay there. Mrs. Harris Goes To Paris is all about what happens to the cleaning lady after she lands in Paris.
It is a light, fun read, a piece of fluff in fact. The instances in the book are something out of a fairytale, which do not happen in real life, but they will have you smiling and nodding along just the same. Irrespective of the kind of life you lead, Mrs. Harris’s adventures in Paris, the lives she touches there, and her dilemmas are something you will be able to relate with.
Mrs. Harris Goes To New York – Paul Gallico
This is the sequel to Mrs. Harris Goes To Paris, the story of Mrs. Harris’s adventures in New York along with her fast friend, Mrs. Butterfield. She comes across an interesting set of people in New York as well, just as she did in Paris, and touches many lives once again.
This book, too, like its prequel, is pure fluff, a fairytale. Don’t expect a very realistic story, but do expect to smile at Mrs. Harris’s adventures. You will, undoubtedly. This is a book you should read when you are tired of real life, and need something old-fashioned to warm up your soul.