The Queen of the Big Time Author:Adriana Trigiani Known and loved around the world for her sweeping Big Stone Gap trilogy and the instant New York Times bestseller Lucia, Lucia, Adriana Trigiani returns to the charm and drama of small-town life with Queens of the Big Time. This heartfelt story of the limits and power of love chronicles the remarkable lives of the Castellucas, an Italian-America... more »n family, over the course of three generations.
In the late 1800s, the residents of a small village in the Bari region of Italy, on the shores of the Adriatic Sea, made a mass migration to the promised land of America. They settled in Roseto, Pennsylvania, and re-created their former lives in their new home?down to the very last detail of who lived next door to whom. The village?s annual celebration of Our Lady of Mount Carmel?or ?the Big Time,? as the occasion is called by the young women who compete to be the pageant?s Queen?is the centerpiece of Roseto?s colorful old-world tradition.
The industrious Castellucas farm the land outside Roseto. Nella, the middle daughter of five, aspires to a genteel life ?in town,? far from the rigors of farm life, which have taken a toll on her mother and forced her father to take extra work in the slate quarries to make ends meet. But Nella?s dreams of making her own fortune shift when she meets Renato Lanzara, the son of a prominent Roseto family. Renato is a worldly, handsome, devil-may-care poet who has a way with words that makes him irresistible. Their friendship ignites into a fiery romance that Nella is certain will lead to marriage. But Nella is not alone in her pursuit: every girl in town seems to want Renato. When he disappears without explanation, Nella is left with a shattered heart. Four years later, Renato?s sudden return to Roseto the night before Nella?s wedding to the steadfast Franco Zollerano leaves her and the Castelluca family shaken. For although Renato has chosen a path very different from Nella?s, they are fated to live and work in Roseto, where the past hangs over them like a brewing storm.
An epic of small-town life, etched in glorious detail in the trademark Trigiani style, The Queen of the Big Time is the story of a determined, passionate woman who can never forget her first love.« less
Ms. Trigiani's books are some of my favorites, and this is no exception. Queen of the Big Time is set from 1910-1971, following the life of Nella and her Italian family in a rural area in Pennsylvania.
Right away the reader is drawn into the story and involved with the characters. You can't always tell what may happen next.
I recommend this one to Adriana fans!
Because I grew up Italian, this book had special meaning for me. It gave me a picture of what my grandparents and aunts and uncles might have experienced growing up in Pennsylvania. Trigiani has blended the early American '20s with the immigrant experience in a perfect way. The characters are memorable. Her style of writing by telling the story from the different points of view of each character add to the total verisimilitude. Anyone, Italian or not, will enjoy the book. Trigiani's subtle sense of humor adds to the reading experience.