Set in the lush Big Band era of the 1940s and World War II, this spellbinding saga from beloved New York Times bestselling author Adriana Trigiani tells the story of two talented working class kids who marry and become a successful singing act, until time, temptation, and the responsibilities of home and family derail their dreams.
Shortly before World War II, Chi Chi Donatelli and Saverio Armandonada meet one summer on the Jersey shore and fall in love. Both are talented and ambitious, and both share the dream of becoming singers for the legendary orchestras of the time: Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, Benny Goodman. They’re soon married, and it isn’t long before Chiara and Tony find that their careers are on the way up as they navigate the glamorous worlds of night clubs, radio, and television. All goes well until it becomes clear that they must make a choice: Which of them will put their ambitions aside to raise a family and which will pursue a career? And how will they cope with the impact that decision has on their lives and their marriage?
From the Jersey shore to Las Vegas to Hollywood, and all the dance halls in between, this multi-layered story is vivid with historical color and steeped in the popular music that serves as its score. Tony’s Wife is a magnificent epic of life in a traditional Italian family undergoing seismic change in a fast paced, modern world. Filled with vivid, funny, and unforgettable characters, this richly human story showcases Adriana Trigiani’s gifts as a storyteller and her deep understanding of family, love, and the pursuit of the American dream.
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.