Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Blog Tour & Review: Kiss Carlo by Adriana Trigiani (audio)

Title: Kiss Carlo
Author: Adriana Trigiani
Narrator: Edoardo Ballerini
Published: June 20, 2017, HarperAudio / HarperCollins
Length: 16 hours 2 minutes / 544 pages
Source: Audio - Personal copy via Audible / Hardcopy - Publisher via TLC Book Tours
From Adriana Trigiani, the beloved New York Times-bestselling author of The Shoemaker’s Wife, comes an exhilarating epic novel of love, loyalty, and creativitythe story of an Italian-American family on the cusp of change.

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.

My thoughts: Adriana Trigiani is one of my all-time favorite authors!!! I've met her numerous times and most recently just bumped into her at BookExpo - she's the most genuine person I've met in a long time and I love seeing her whenever I get the chance. I've read just about all her books and one of my most favorite books of hers is The Shoemaker's Wife...well, this latest one is right up there with that one. Kiss Carlo is fantastic!!! I loved it - from start to finish - and let me tell you, it's a chunkster of a book at 544 pages, and even a long audio book at just over 16 hours. But it's so worth it, let me tell you! 

So first off...even though I have 2 copies of this book - I received an advanced reader's copy of the book for being part of the book tour and then picked up a finished copy at BookExpo...I still decided to listen to the audio version. Not because I was daunted by the length of the book - oh no. I love reading Adriana's words - I get lost in her stories and find myself losing track of time. But when I saw who was narrating the audio - Edoardo Ballerini, I could not give up the opportunity to listen to him narrate this book. He is like a tall drink of cool water - I love listening to him. And I just knew he would be perfect for this book. More on him and the audio production down below.

So back to the book itself...I loved this story. I found myself totally swept up in this family saga right from the beginning. The book is set right after WWII in Philly and centers around the Palazzini family. I love the big families that Adriana creates - they are so life-like and relatable - possibly because I have such a big family myself! But where Adriana shines is that with all the characters in this book - and believe me, there are a lot! - it is easy to keep them all separate as they all have their own identity and personality. And each one she introduces us to have a purpose - there really aren't any superfluous characters. 

The story is mainly set around Nicky - he has been brought up by his Aunt Jo and Uncle Dom and his three cousins and drives a cab for the family's cab company, not only taking on fares but also delivering telegrams. But what no one knows is that he also moonlights in a local theater - a theater that puts on Shakespeare plays. There Nicky helps the actors with their lines. Oh, and he's been engaged to Peachy for seven years - yes, seven years! 

With so many characters in this book, of course you are going to fall in love with a few. My favorites were Calla Borelli from the Shakespeare theater, Jo Palazzini, who took Nicky in after his mother died, and Hortense Mooney, the telegraph operator. Each of these women had so much spunk and passion - I couldn't get enough of them, especially Hortense. 

And, for all you soap-opera fans out there...Gloria Monty has a cameo in this book. How freaking cool is that!!! I loved the way Adriana used the early soaps in this book, called a "teleplay" back then. There is so much packed into this book - so much, but oh so good!

This book has so much going for it, with so many different themes running through it. It's a story about family, love, loss, the search for meaning and self-worth. It's about finding one's purpose in life and realizing it before it's too late and not settling for something just because that's what is expected of you. 

I adored this story - every part of it, from the setting to the characters to the dialog to the cover - it's a beautiful, enchanting story and one that I am thrilled to have sitting on my shelf. I know I can do no wrong when I pick up an Adriana Trigiani book!

Audio thoughts:
As I mentioned above, I just had to listen to the audio version of this book when I saw that Edoardo Ballerini was narrating it. He is awesome - such a mesmerizing voice - and he did such a fantastic job with this audio book! Between the unique voices for all the characters, males and females, and the little bit of Italian - which was amazing, especially since I speak absolutely no Italian - I was in heaven! I can not recommend this audio more - it was so delightful to listen to - and even though it was long - I found myself so engaged that the time just flew by! His pacing and tone were spot on and I found this a pleasure to listen to.

About the author:  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.

Author Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook  Instagram

Purchase Links: HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Be sure to check out all the other stops on the blog tour and follow the tour on Twitter (hashtags:  #TLCBookTours & #KissCarlo). 



  1. Kristin, I've been interested in this book, and I'd love to listen to this audio book! I'm so glad you enjoyed this new book. Wonderful review!

  2. I like that cool drink of water description!

  3. I have several books by Adriana Trigiani. But they're buried somewhere in my to-read stacks. I'm going to have to dig them out because your review made me really excited about reading one of her books!

  4. I really liked this book and since I read an arc before publication I didn't have a chance to also listen. I'm a fan of the narrator and would definitely listen if I read it again.

  5. Isn't it so fun to meet an author whose books you love?! It's such a treat for me!

    Thanks for being a part of the tour!

  6. Hi Kristin, this looks like a goodie. Please bring this over to Books You Loved: July so everyone can see it. Cheers from Carole's Chatter


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