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Tony's Wife
2018
Availability
Fiction/Biography Profile
Characters
Chi Chi Donatelli (Female), Married, Dreams of becoming a singer; married to Saverio;
Saverio Armandonada (Male), Married, Dreams of becoming a singer; forced to make a choice between family and career
Genre
Fiction
Historical
Romance
Topics
Singing
Family
Working classes
Life changes
Life choices
Time Period
1940's -- 20th century
Large Cover Image
Trade Reviews

  Publishers Weekly Review

Trigiani (Kiss Carlo) fills this novel with the musical delights of the big band era and a love that lasts a lifetime. Saverio Armandonada leaves his Detroit home on Christmas Eve in 1932 when his father kicks him out for wanting to pursue a career in singing. Though he never lacks for female companionship as a singer traveling with a band, Saverio is particularly intrigued when he meets Chi Chi Donatelli in Sea Isle City, N.J. Chi Chi joins Saverio's band and sees firsthand Saverio's endless string of romances; though she disapproves, the two remain friends throughout the years even as he gains greater success and changes his name to Tony Arma. During WWII, Saverio joins the Navy and spends his time in a military submarine reminiscing about his past. He decides his life will be complete with Chi Chi as his wife. Chi Chi finally agrees to marry Saverio after his repeated insistence that she is the only woman for him. The ups and downs of their marriage are complicated by Saverio's fractured relationship with his father and his fear of loneliness while on the road singing and making movies. Packed with melodies, memories, humor, and love and loss, this effortlessly plotted novel is an emotional page-turner. (Nov.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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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