Lucia, Lucia by Adriana Trigiani tells the story of Lucia Sartori, a smart twenty-five year old woman in 1950 who meets a mysterious man who intrigues her and pushes the limits of her honor to her family and her career. Lucia must choose between being married and giving up her home life with her parents and four brothers, or stay at her beloved career as a seamstress at the B. Altman department store in Manhattan.
Lucia, Lucia is set in the present but the story is told in 1950s New York on the cusp of cultural changes that will forever impact Lucia’s life as a seamstress at B. Altman’s department store. As a woman determined to use her talents in fashion to pursue a career, this is hardly the closing of a door in Lucia’s face as it is the opening of new opportunities for her, if and only if other commitments don’t take hold of her first. After meeting the supposedly perfect man and realizing that she actually can see herself living a fulfilling and happy life as a housewife, the dream comes crashing down on her with repercussions that will be felt throughout her entire family.
This book was Trigiani at her best. Although I had a not-great experience with the final book of the Valentine series, I love Trigiani’s descriptive writing and memorable, witty characters. I would give every book of hers post-Supreme Macaroni Company a chance based on how great those books of hers were the first time I read them.
If it seems like all of Trigiani’s books are about Italian families, it’s because they are. But that is where the similarities end. Each family’s storyline, whether they are the Sartori, the Angelini, or the Lazzarri or Ravanelli family, is unique enough from the other, making each story fulfilling on its own.
“I thank Mama, and she picks up her purse to go. As I follow her down the stairs, I can’t help but think how deep the ties in my family are. I wonder if outsiders would find it odd that I like to socialize with parents. Maybe there are families in which the laces are loose and there is room to consider your own feelings first. But my brothers and I weren’t raised that way. We are bound to one another. Maybe it’s an Italian trait, or maybe it’s the way things took form in our home, but there’s no way around it. This truth defines my life. And I’m not unhappy about it.”
-from Lucia, Lucia
The somewhat predictable (but surprisingly not) plot will keep you on the edge of your seat throughout the entire book and although the ending was not a happy one, it is satisfying for the story.