Rococo by Adriana Trigiani
Format: Paperback, 320 pages
First line: I want you to imagine my house.
From the back cover: Bartolomeo di Crespi is the acclaimed interior decorator - not to mention the most eligible bachelor - in Our Lady of Fatima (OLOF), New Jersey. From the dazzling shores of the Garden State to the legendary fabric houses of New York City, from the prickly purveyors of fine art in London to the Mediterranean coast of Italy, Bartolomeo is on a mission to bring talent, sophistication, and his aesthetic vision to his hometown. So when the renovation of the local church is scheduled, he assumes there is only one man to oversee the job.
Recruiting an artist and a stained-glass artisan to help with the project - two handsome men who create romantic mayhem among Bartolomeo's sister, his erstwhile fiancee, and all the other lovelorn ladies of OLOF - Bartolomeo struggles to create art while remaining the steadfast linchpin of the volatile di Crespi clan. Together, Bartolomeo and his team will do more than blow the dust off the old Fatima frescoes - they will turn the town upside down, challenge the faithful, and restore hope where there once was none.
My thoughts: Oh, how I love Adriana Trigiani's books!!! Between her descriptive writing and amazing characters, I fall in love a little more with each book and Rococo was certainly no exception.
This is definitely a character-driven story and is told from Bartolomeo's point of view - "B" to friends and family. B is an interior decorator and has always wanted to renovate Our Lady Of Fatima, the church he has attended all his life. He finally gets the opportunity and in the process he learns a lot about himself, life, and family expectations.
Family is an important part of B's life and as the oldest male in his Italian-Catholic family, he takes his role seriously. He looks out for his nephews, takes care of his sister, and watches out for his cousin Christina. All the interactions that B has in the book with his sister, Toot, are hysterical. She is constantly using the wrong word and even though B corrects her all the time, she doesn't flinch - she just keeps on going with whatever it was she was saying. I also loved the recipes that were included throughout the book. Each one was strategically placed after being mentioned in the story and knowing how important food is to the Italians, it's almost as if these recipes are characters themselves.
B goes back and forth from Jersey to NYC and then over to Italy in hopes for inspiration in redesigning the church. Each place he visits was almost like being there with him - that's how vivid Adriana Trigiani is in her writing. I don't know much about interior decorating, but I could certainly appreciate all the designs he came up with, not only for the church, but for his other clients. Oh how I wish I could find someone like B to come decorate my 1913 craftsman style house!
This is the first book I've read by Adriana Trigiani that features a male character as the lead and I think she nailed it. I've now read just about everything by this author - I still have Queen of the Big Time to read and am hoping to get to that soon. She has done some great stand-alones and some great series...I can't wait to see what she does next!
Do you have an author that you just love - you've read all their books and enjoyed them all? If so, please share!!!