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Tony's wife
2018
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Summary
<p>Love, ambition, and the consequences of both lie at the heart of this spellbinding epic of two working-class kids who become a successful singing act during the big band era of the 1940s.</p> <p>Chi Chi Donatelli and Saverio Armandonada meet one summer on the Jersey shore before World War II. Chi Chi is a talented and ambitious singer-songwriter working in a local blouse factory looking for her big break, while Saverio, a singer already on the rise, is fronting a touring band and has the good looks and smooth vocals that make success seem assured. It isn't long before Saverio becomes Tony Arma and he and Chi Chi form a duo; together they navigate the glamorous worlds of nightclubs, radio, and television. Soon they're married and all goes well until it becomes clear that they must make a choice: Which of them will put ambition aside to build a family and which will pursue a career? What compromises will they make to achieve their dreams? And on the road to fame and fortune, how will they cope with the impact these compromises have on their marriage, family, and themselves?</p> <p>From the Jersey shore to Hollywood, New York City to Las Vegas, the hills of northern Italy and the exuberant hayride of the big band circuit in between: Tony's Wife tells the story of the twentieth century in song, as Tony & Chi Chi make studio recordings and promote them with appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show and The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. As they juggle the demands of their public lives, secrets are revealed, promises are broken, and loyalty is tested as the Armas attempt to keep the music playing and their family together.</p> <p>Tony's Wife is a richly layered novel that explores how a traditional Italian-American family grapples with the seismic shifts they face in a rapidly changing world. Replete with a pageant of vivid, complex characters, this deeply human saga of love and sacrifice showcases Adriana Trigiani's gifts as a captivating storyteller and reveals her understanding that there are many different kinds of families: that over time love can evolve in ways that nobody can predict, especially when the hearts involved are open to forgiveness, the sweet reprise of redemption.</p> <p> </p>
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  Booklist Review

In 1932 Detroit, 16-year-old Saverio Armandonada tells his old man that factory life isn't enough and that he wants to pursue a career in music. Six years later, he's at Sea Isle City on the Jersey Shore when he meets Chi Chi Donatelli, an ambitious songwriter with a loud, supportive family. They drift in and out of each other's lives for years until Chi Chi auditions to be the "girl singer" for the Paul Godfrey Orchestra, alongside Tony Arma, aka Saverio. Tony continues to admire her spunk and her smarts she renegotiated her family's mortgage after her father died, for one but he has a little bit of a showgirl problem. Though they eventually marry, this is not a conventional love story. Instead, it's the tale of a Jersey Girl who rails against a society that expects her to be dependent on a man and the one man she loves but cannot depend on. Like Trigiani's (Kiss Carlo, 2017) best work, Tony's Wife is an immersive experience, with well-rounded, warm characters, pre-WWII fashion, Jersey accents, and homemade pasta. Moving and delightful.--Susan Maguire Copyright 2018 Booklist
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