by Sukey HowardOctober, 2004
All in the family
Smart, ambitious Nella Castelluca is the compelling, gutsy star of Adriana Trigiani's latest novel, The Queen of the Big Time, which Trigiani narrates in her warm, earthy voice. Nella is modeled on Trigiani's own paternal grandmother; her story is that of Italian immigrants making their way in the "land of opportunity." Nella had wanted to become a teacher, but in 1924 it wasn't easy for the middle daughter of a poor farming family to get an education. Instead, she went to work in the local blouse factory like so many other girls in the small Pennsylvania town of Rosetto. But, unlike the others, Nella ended up owning the factory. On the way to achieving the American dream, Nella had to juggle family, work, career and the search for true love maybe the hardest thing of all to find. Authentic and affecting, this top-notch Trigiani tale takes you inside an Italian-American family and inside a woman's heart.