Valentine Roncalli loves her work with her grandmother, making handmade bridal shoes. The Angelini shoe company has been in business since Valentine’s great-grandfather came over from Italy, but now it’s in trouble. Valentine’s family is putting pressure on her Gram to retire, and Valentine realizes at her sister’s wedding that without the shoe company, her life is at a stalemate. She has ambitions to design shoes, not just use her great-grandfather’s patterns, but without a company, she would have nowhere to go, and she is alone. Valentine meets handsome restaurant owner Roman Falconi in an embarrassing, accidental way, but soon their romance takes off. The only trouble is, how is she to maintain a relationship with a busy man while trying to save her family’s shoe company at the same time?
I will admit that I initially found this book a challenge to get into. The lush descriptions of the wedding, of Valentine’s work, and her laments about her state in life were all well-written, but to be honest isn’t really what I look for when I read. And her descriptions of her huge Italian family reminded me all too much of mine, who started nagging me about boyfriends when I was in my teens, and didn’t stop until I actually had a man to show them, despite my relative youth. Then Valentine met Roman, things perked up, and I got involved in the story and became a champion of her cause.
What I appreciated most about this book was that Valentine is a very independent woman. She starts off worrying about her situation and unsure of how to fix it, but as the book goes on, she grows and learns from her experiences. She figures out what she has to do and relies on her strengths, not those of anyone else, to accomplish everything she needs to do. Her worldview is totally changed, and she emerges an even more interesting person than before. She is definitely a woman to emulate. While I didn’t always like where the story went, I loved Valentine’s approach to her life as well as her determination and her passion.
The romance is a fairly decent portion of the book and, I felt, was appropriate to Valentine’s situation. She has to make choices in regard to Roman and her working life and I felt that it was very appropriate to what a woman so absorbed in her job would struggle with. I wouldn’t really describe this book as a love story, but the romance is a fairly nice and real complement to Valentine’s struggle with the shoe company.
While I liked this book, it still didn’t really feel like my type of book. I enjoyed it, but the constant focus on shoes and designers wore on me by the end. Yes, I am aware that this is the premise, but I was far more interested in the characters. I almost wanted pictures so I could at least envision what the heck she was doing in her workshop. The many descriptions were nicely written, but bogged the book down for me. I didn’t ever really feel compelled to go back to it after I’d put it down. I think, perhaps, that this genre is just not for me, and while I can see the appeal for others in the reality, sweetness, and laughter contained in Very Valentine, it didn’t tick all the boxes for me.
I am an Amazon Associate. I borrowed this book from the library.