More like a big, sloppy wet kiss to Greenwich Village than anything as mundane and unromantic as a novel: Trigiani’s fourth (after Milk Glass Moon, 2002, etc.) starts off in extremely unpromising territory but thankfully doesn’t stick with it for long.
Narrator Kit is a flighty writer of universally rejected plays and an occasional journalist who lives in the Village and is given to mundane reflections on just how wonderful her neighborhood is. Fortunately, she doesn’t have much of a life, so when her neighbor—a charming, gracious old lady everyone calls Aunt Lu—invites her in for some tea and ends up telling Kit the story of her life, Kit has no good reason to say no. In the early 1950s, Lucia Sartori lived with her large Italian family in the Village, where her father and brother ran the beloved Groceria food market. Lucia herself, still in her 20s and considered the neighborhood beauty, worked in the custom clothing section in the grand B.Altman’s department store on Fifth Avenue and was engaged to the most promising bachelor around, Dante DeMartino. Spunky Lucia, though, breaks the engagement when she discovers that the DeMartinos expect her to leave work and live with them as a cleaning, cooking, baby-producing housewife. It isn’t long before Lucia gets snapped up by John Talbot, a rakishly handsome man-about-town who’s vaguely employed in the importing business (alarm bells clang in everyone’s head, except for that of the normally bright Lucia). Trigiani is mostly interested in Lucia’s relationships with her coworkers and family, only intermittently cutting back to her blossoming romance with John. But she knows how to deliver on basic desires: her story is filled-to-bursting with gorgeous clothes, sumptuous meals, beautiful weather, and the rhapsody of New York City. Where it runs into problems is with its humans: solidly depicted but never quite lifelike.
Silly but romantic stuff, written in a state of never-ending swoon.