New York Times bestselling author Adriana Trigiani, beloved by millions of readers around the world for her humor, warmth, and captivating storytelling in the Big Stone Gap trilogy and Lucia, Lucia, takes on love, lust, tricky family dynamics, and home decorating in Rococo, the uproarious tale of a small Italian American town poised for a makeover it never expected.
Bartolomeo di Crespi is the acclaimed interior decorator of Our Lady of Fatima, New Jersey. To date, Bartolomeo has hand-selected every chandelier, sconce, and ottoman in OLOF, so when the renovation of the local church is scheduled, he assumes there is only one man for the job.
From the dazzling shores of New Jersey to the legendary fabric houses of New York City, from the prickly purveyors of fine art in London to luscious Santa Margherita on the Mediterranean coast of Italy, Bartolomeo is on a mission to bring talent, sophistication, and his aesthetic vision to his hometown.
Trigiani’s glittering mosaic of small-town characters sparkles: Bartolomeo’s hilarious sister, Toot, is in desperate need of a postdivorce transformation–thirteen years after the fact; “The Benefactor,” Aurelia Mandelbaum, the richest woman in New Jersey, has a lust for French interiors and a long-held hope that Bartolomeo will marry her myopic daughter, Capri; Father Porporino, the pastor with a secret, does his best to keep a lid on a simmering scandal; and Eydie Von Gunne, the chic international designer, steps in and changes the course of Bartolomeo’s creative life, while his confidante, cousin Christina Menecola, awaits rescue from an inconsolable grief.
Plaster of Paris, polished marble, and unbridled testosterone arrive in buckets when Bartolomeo recruits Rufus McSherry, a strapping, handsome artist, and Pedro Allercon, a stained-glass artisan, to work with him on the church’s interior. Together, the three of them will do more than blow the dust off the old Fatima frescoes–they will turn the town upside down, challenge the faithful, and restore hope where there once was none.
Brilliantly funny and as fanciful as flocked wallpaper, filled with glamorous locales from New Jersey to Europe, from Sunday Mass to the American Society of Interior Designers soirée at the Plaza Hotel, Rococo is Trigiani’s masterpiece, a classic comedy with a heart of gold leaf.
"A veritable crazy quilt of quirky Italian Americans ... Trigiani weaves all these subplots together with wonderful ease; every seam is perfectly straight, every pleat in place. Bartolomeo would expect no less. A-." -- Entertainment Weekly
"Clever ... Creating characters so lively they bounce off the page and possessing a wit so subtle that even the best jokes seem effortless, Trigiani is a master storyteller. Equal parts sass and silliness, Rococo is an artfully designed tale with enough brio to make Frank Gehry proud."-- People
Bestseller Trigiani (Lucia, Lucia) offers Italian recipes, family dramas and oodles of decorating ideas (if little narrative tension) in her latest novel, a feel-good story about a New Jersey interior designer tackling his dream job. In Our Lady of Fatima, N.J., plucky narrator Bartolomeo di Crespi, aka B, reigns supreme: he can doll up an ottoman with kicky trim and sparkly crystals with the best of 'em, and he decorates all the area's best houses, including the manse belonging to the mother of his putative fianc e, Capri Mandelbaum. (Really they're just friends, but Aurelia, Capri's mother, is certain they'll marry.) When the local church comes due for a major renovation, B gets the commission, after Father Porporino is convinced (forcibly, it's later revealed) that a tony Philadelphia firm won't do. But can B come up with a timeless yet innovative design for the church he loves? He calls in the experts all of them sexy takes trips to London and Italy, and benefits from a minor miracle amid a cast of family and friends who fight, fall in love, have babies and come out of the closet. While overlong and undramatic, the book still manages to soothe, in part because of its cozy design talk and in part because of the likable, competent B.