When Chi Chi Donatelli gave famous crooner Saverio Armandonada a manicure on a 1930s New Jersey beach, little did she know that the swanky singer would change her life.
After his childhood sweetheart married another man, Saverio left the security of his job on the factory line in Detroit, earning his father’s disapproval but opening wide the door to success as a big-band singer. Along his way to stardom, Saverio changed his name to Tony Arma and discovered a talent for romancing—but never marrying—the ladies. But once he meets Chi Chi, his bachelor days are numbered. From a large, boisterous Italian family, Chi Chi is eager to have a life like Tony’s, with the freedom to sing and travel the country. She wants no part of marriage with its shackles. Soon Chi Chi and Tony are touring together, eventually developing a profitable shtick, with Chi Chi writing bestselling songs and Tony serenading them to dreamy audiences. It’s only a matter of time before Tony proposes. After all, unlike his other girls, Chi Chi offers Tony not only beauty and charm, but also the stability of a home. The lovers’ work in the entertainment industry gives way to a marriage blessed with babies yet held apart by war. Once reunited, Chi Chi’s independence and Tony’s philandering further fracture their marriage. But as Tony’s path wends from woman to woman, Chi Chi forges a new life on her own terms. A mistress of the sweeping family saga, bestselling author Trigiani (Kiss Carlo, 2017, etc.) sets Chi Chi and Tony’s lifelong love affair against the grand stage of World War II through the postwar boom years and the women’s liberation movement, tracing a society catching up with Chi Chi’s determination to control her own financial and personal freedom.
A heartfelt tale of love too stubborn to surrender to human frailties.