Friday, June 30, 2017

Book Review - Kiss Carlo by Adriana Trigiani

Book Synopsis
It’s 1949 and South Philadelphia bursts with opportunity during the post-war boom. The Palazzini Cab Company & Western Union Telegraph Office, owned and operated by Dominic Palazzini and his three sons, is flourishing: business is good, they’re surrounded by sympathetic wives and daughters-in-law, with grandchildren on the way. But a decades-long feud that split Dominic and his brother Mike and their once-close families sets the stage for a re-match.

Amidst the hoopla, the arrival of an urgent telegram from Italy upends the life of Nicky Castone (Dominic and his wife’s orphaned nephew) who lives and works with his Uncle Dom and his family. Nicky decides, at 30, that he wants more—more than just a job driving Car #4 and more than his longtime fiancée Peachy DePino, a bookkeeper, can offer. When he admits to his fiancée that he’s been secretly moonlighting at the local Shakespeare theater company, Nicky finds himself drawn to the stage, its colorful players and to the determined Calla Borelli, who inherited the enterprise from her father, Nicky must choose between the conventional life his family expects of him or chart a new course and risk losing everything he cherishes.

From the dreamy mountaintop village of Roseto Valfortore in Italy, to the vibrant streets of South Philly, to the close-knit enclave of Roseto, Pennsylvania, to New York City during the birth of the golden age of television, Kiss Carlo is a powerful, inter-generational story that celebrates the ties that bind, while staying true to oneself when all hope seems lost.

Told against the backdrop of some of Shakespeare’s greatest comedies, this novel brims with romance as long buried secrets are revealed, mistaken identities are unmasked, scores are settled, broken hearts are mended and true love reigns. Trigiani’s consummate storytelling skill and her trademark wit, along with a dazzling cast of characters will enthrall readers. Once again, the author has returned to her own family garden to create an unforgettable feast. Kiss Carlo is a jubilee, resplendent with hope, love, and the abiding power of la famiglia.


Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

My Review
Kiss Carlo is a family saga set in an Italian-American family in Philadelphia.  At the heart of the saga is Nicky Castone.  Nicky decides he wants more than the family business and his fiancee of seven years, and for him something more means working with a local theater company ... where he has an interest in a woman named Calla Borelli.  His passion for acting eventually takes him to places he never expected.

I love Adriana Trigiani's novels.  They are so rich with memorable characters and beautiful, vivid descriptions ... and Kiss Carlo is no exception.  She is a true storyteller who spins vivid stories.  I find once I start one of her novels I just can't put it down.

Nicky is a wonderful character and I found his trajectory and search fascinating.  I loved reading about the world he entered as an actor.  I was really interested in theater as a young woman, and performed in some local plays, so this was all fascinating to me.

I enjoyed the warmth and wit of Kiss Carlo, as well as the themes of love and family and friendship.  The supporting characters are strong in this book.  I especially loved Hortense Mooney, an African American dispatcher who helps look out for Nicky.  She is part surrogate mother and part guardian angel. 

The historical details were rich and fascinating, and readers will get a glimpse at a fascinating time and place.  I recommend Kiss Carlo heartily for fans of historical fiction - and wonderful writing.  This warm-hearted, rewarding novel is a treat.

Author Bio
Adriana Trigiani is the bestselling author of 17 books, which have been published in 36 countries around the world. She is a playwright, television writer/producer and filmmaker. She wrote and directed the film version of her novel Big Stone Gap, which was shot entirely on location in her Virginia hometown. She is co-founder of the Origin Project, an in-school writing program that serves more than a thousand students in Appalachia. She lives in Greenwich Village with her family.

Visit Adriana at her website:, like her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

I received a copy of this book from HarperCollins and TLC Book Tours.


Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

Trigiani writes stories that remind me of my own Italian-American family - they're so fun and true to life!

Thanks for being a part of the tour.

trish said...

Friends have been raving about this author for a long time to me. I think it's finally time I sat down with one of her novels, and Kiss Carlo sounds like a good place to start!