Adriana Trigiani returns with the final novel of her Valentine trilogy, starring the Italian-American shoemaker Valentine Roncalli. Sometimes hilarious (as when the extended family takes over the pages), sometimes too poignant to read without a tear or two, The Supreme Macaroni Company will inspire most readers to stay up all night if necessary to finish it.

On the eve of her marriage to tanner Gianluca, Valentine is concerned about their long-term prospects. Valentine’s family line sports “diabetes, heart disease, and dyspepsia,” not to mention “the onset of eye tics in the late thirties.” Bitterness is chronic and accompanied by cold sores and occasional jaundice. Not to mention “a glandular predisposition that prevents true happiness.”

After the wedding, Valentine struggles to balance her roles as an Italian man’s wife and an Italian-American woman. It becomes clear that differences abound between the two, and as she and Gianluca learn more about each other—and face business challenges—Valentine begins to wonder if she can be a success as a wife and as a shoe designer.

Trigiani has a long list of novels to her credit, including nonfiction and young adult fiction. She’s supremely capable when it comes to creating warm characters that readers will want to befriend, and communities that they’ll want to join. If The Supreme Macaroni Company is your first Trigiani, it probably won’t be your last.

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