Title: The Supreme Macaroni Company
Author: Adriana Trigiani
No. of Pages: 352
Release Date: 26 November 2013
Bottom Line: Infuriating
“For over a hundred years, the Angelini Shoe Company in Greenwich Village has relied on the leather produced by Vechiarelli & Son in Tuscany. This ancient business partnership provides the twist of fate for Valentine Roncalli to fall in love with Gianluca Vechiarelli, a tanner with a complex past . . . and a secret.
But after the wedding celebrations are over, Valentine wakes up to the hard reality of juggling the demands of a new business and the needs of her new family. Confronted with painful choices, Valentine remembers the wise words that inspired her in the early days of her beloved Angelini Shoe Company: “A person who can build a pair of shoes can do just about anything.” Now, the proud, passionate Valentine is going to fight for everything she wants and savor all she deserves—the bitter and the sweet of life itself.
Romantic and poignant, told with humor and warmth, and bursting with a cast of endearing characters, The Supreme Macaroni Company is an unforgettable narrative about family, work, romance, and the unexpected turns of life and fate.”
Thoughts: Fans of the Valentine series need to turn away now because you are just going to be upset by what I have to say.
Are they gone?
The Supreme Macaroni Company is bad. Valentine is pathetic in this third novel. The much-anticipated wedding is rushed in an effort to get the stresses of their new marriage, but therein lies much of the problem. Most people know that marriage is tough, and there is an adjustment period for all newlyweds. Most people also realize that there are certain subjects that an engaged couple should discuss before finalizing their vows. Apparently, Valentine is not “most people” because she fails to not only have these important discussions before the wedding, she does not even think about having these discussions. What results is what one would expect out of a couple that failed to sync up on such matters as where to live, children, expected roles in the marriage, etc. – lots and lots of arguing.
This in and of itself is not a huge deal, but given how close Valentine is to the rest of her family, that she is the last one in her family to get married, that she has witnessed the ups and downs in each of her siblings’ marriages, her lack of preparation is inexplicable. Her behavior does not fit with the careful Valentine fans have gotten to know over the course of the previous two books. While no one would be surprised that Valentine’s marriage is a passionate one – quick to anger, quick to resolve – the arguments they have are just so unnecessary. It does not fit a man of Gianluca’s nature either, especially since he is still harboring bitter feelings about the ending of his first marriage.
The story compounds matters by following the same pattern – Valentine and Gianluca are happy, something about the business comes up, one or the other gets upset, Valentine overreacts and thinks the marriage is doomed, cooler heads prevail, they reaffirm their love for each other, and the cycle begins again. This happens for all but the last thirty pages of the novel. After so many repetitions, it becomes old and, quite frankly, boring.
The only way out of this never-ending cycle is to create an event that shocks everyone out of their ennui, and Ms. Trigiani does just that. However, it is at that precise moment where readers will lose complete respect for the novel. For the ending is purely there for shock value. As with Valentine’s weird issues about marriage that make no sense given her background, the ending does not fit with the story. One expects certain things in romance novels, and Ms. Trigiani fails to deliver. The abrupt plot shift is simply a disservice to the fans and to Valentine.
Adriana Trigiani can write a good story. Anyone who doubts that needs to immediately read The Shoemaker’s Wife. However, The Supreme Macaroni Company is not her best effort. It is not even close to her best effort. It is dull, repetitive, and whiny. Valentine acts in a manner that is not realistic given her close family ties and involvement. The plot circles in on itself many times before the use of a shocking twist resolves the lingering plot issues. The end feels cheap and does not fit with its intended romance genre. The Supreme Macaroni Company has its moments, but the majority of the novel is a trivial, supremely frustrating glimpse into one person’s idealized and completely unrealistic thoughts on marriage.