Tony's Wife

Tony's Wife

by Adriana Trigiani


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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062319258
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 11/20/2018
Pages: 496
Sales rank: 142,465
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.90(d)

About the Author

Beloved by millions of readers around the world for her "dazzling" novels, (USA Today) Adriana Trigiani is “a master of palpable and visual detail” (Washington Post) and “a comedy writer with a heart of gold” (New York Times). She is the New York Times bestselling author of eighteen books in fiction and nonfiction, published in 38 languages, making her one of the most sought after speakers in the world of books today.

Adriana is also an award-winning film director and screenwriter, playwright, and television writer and producer. Her screen adaptation of her bestselling novel Very Valentine premiered on Lifetime television in June 2019, launching their National Book Club. In 2018, she directed the feature film Then Came You, filmed on location in the Highlands of Scotland. She wrote and directed the award-winning major motion picture Big Stone Gap, based on her debut novel, filmed entirely on location in her Virginia hometown. Big Stone Gap spent 11 weeks in theatres in the fall of 2015 and was the #2 top-grossing romantic comedy of the year. She wrote and directed the documentary film, Queens of the Big Time, winner of the Audience Award at the Hamptons and Palm Springs International Film Festivals. Adriana co-founded The Origin Project, an in-school writing program which serves over 1,700 students in the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia. She lives in New York City with her family.

Join Adriana on Facebook and Instagram @AdrianaTrigiani or visit her website:

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Tony's Wife: A Novel 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
norway_girl 9 months ago
4 1/2 stars ... a really wonderful step back into the Big Band Era! Great Story !! Honestly, I thought to give it 5 stars but for a small criticism of it being just a little bit long at the end, just a bit too drawn out, albeit lovingly so. This book hits all the marks for me. Engaging time period, wonderful characters to whom I could relate, magnificent setting mostly along the New Jersey shore (well, I live in New jersey) and a super story of talent, fame and fortune blended with the honest workings of an Italian immigrant working class family. So much of the dialogue between characters harkened back to my older relatives and their traditions. Now I am not Italian, nor Catholic, but every child of immigrants of the 20's lived similarly but within their own cultures and customs: respect your elders, take pride in your work, work hard and you will be rewarded, save your money, love God, take care of each other and your neighbors, and the old adage "father knows best". These philosophies were shared among all groups of people, and at the time it was the way of a good life. The characters in this book followed the "rules" but love messes things up. It tends to do that. This book follows two families for nearly four generations during a wonderful time in America music. You can read other reviews to get a glimpse of the families involved in the story, but I guarentee you that you will carry the Donatellis and the Armandonadas with you for a very long time. I highly recommend this book to ALL readers of all ages, even teenagers. Truly enjoyable and satisfying. (less)
Anonymous 10 months ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great story !
KrittersRamblings More than 1 year ago
Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings Before I even started this book, I was already a huge Adriana Trigiani, so I was pretty sure I was going to love this book and then when I received the advanced reader copy and realized it was a chunky book, I was excited to curl up with it for a weekend. This is one of her usual epic family dramas that spans years and where a reader gets completely swept into a big story. Saverio has quite the voice and he is discovered on a night that goes from one of his lowest moments to quite a high point. Shortly after being discovered he ends up on tour and meets a unique young woman - Chi Chi Donatelli who is a part of a sister group, but is really the only sister fully dedicated to becoming famous. This is just the beginning of the story. These two have quite the roller coaster and I loved that this story went from the beginning to the very end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An interesting look at the rise of a career woman in a time that didn’t particularly accept career women.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book, as usual!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book the characters were very interesting it felt like life as it really is sometimes we don’t appreciate what’s right in front of us until it’s too late great read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
SheTreadsSoftly More than 1 year ago
Tony's Wife by Adriana Trigiani is a highly recommended historical family drama that begins in the Big Band Era and flows through the decades. Saverio Armandonada is kicked out of his home by his father on Christmas Eve, 1932, when he wants to forego working at the auto plant and pursue a singing career. Later, before the start of WWII and after he experiences some success, he meets the feisty Chi Chi (Chiara) Donatelli at Sea Isle City on the Jersey Shore. She wants a career in music too, and although she is attracted to Saverio, she also realizes that he is a womanizer, and besides all that, she is very serious about a career on her terms and wants no part of marriage. Later she meets Saverio again. Now he has changed his name to Tony Arma. The two begin to work together as friends in Tony's band and become a successful singing act. She writes successful songs and Tony has hits singing them. Then WWII begins and Tony joins the Navy. As he receives Chi Chi's friendly letters, he realizes he has strong feelings for her and pursues her. She is uncertain because she has seen him with many other women over the time she has worked with him. He swears she is the only woman for him and finally she agrees to marry him. Then, the girl who never wanted to get married, has twin girls while Tony is still enlisted. This marks a change in Chi Chi's life, because now she is the one who must set her career aside and take care of their family. In the meantime, Tony returns and returns to life on the road, singing, and womanizing. Now Chi Chi has some difficult decisions to make as she lives life on her own terms. This is a drama following a passionate Italian family full of life and opinions. It is well written and follows the characters from the 1930s to the 1980's, although the earlier years are much more detailed and the later years rushed. Once the plot took shape, it did become a bit predictable. Chi Chi is the main character and the one who is truly portrayed as a complete individual. The historical setting adds a special touch to the saga, along with the strong family connections and opinions that Chi Chi holds. Trigiani definitely captures the emotions and closeness of a devoted Italian family and their many extended connections. The first part of the book features a strong narrative voice from Chi Chi, with Saverio's character having his own issues and feelings that are also clearly presented. Then the novel changed, and the main narrative voice is Chi Chi. Tony becomes, quite frankly, a cad. I've been back and forth on this novel. There were parts where it is a page-turner that I enjoyed quite a bit, and others that left me a bit bored. It will appeal to Trigiani's many fans and does introduce an unforgettable character in Chi Chi. It's also a good choice for anyone who loves a sweeping family saga that covers a lifetime. Disclosure: I received an advanced reading copy of this book from HarperCollins.
bookchickdi More than 1 year ago
Adriana Trigiani's newest novel, Tony's Wife, begins in 1932 Detroit. Saverio Armandonada (that's a mouthful!) is on his way to work in the Ford motor plant, along with this father Leone and all the other men in the neighborhood. Saverio's job is to bolt the driver's door handle on 978 cars every day, ten hours a day, six days a week. On the seventh day, Saverio sings in the church choir. He has the loveliest voice in the choir, everyone said so. On Christmas Eve, he was all set to give fellow choir member Cheryl a beautiful necklace and declare his love. When his love life doesn't work out as he planned, he gets an offer to audition for a band. His father is furious that Saverio would give up a good steady job for the unknown life as a singer, and throws him out of the house. Chi Chi Donatelli lives in New Jersey with her family, where they all work in a textile factory. But Chi Chi dreams of being a singer, and her father supports her, even building a studio in their garage to record Chi Chi and her sisters in the hopes of becoming the next big girl group. Chi Chi meets Saverio, hoping that he can get her record to a music label. They spend the day at the beach, and Tony is smitten with Chi Chi, although she is wary of his playboy ways. Tony is invited to the Donatellis for Sunday dinner, and he envies Chi Chi the warmth of her family. How he wished he had that! Saverio and Chi Chi both dream of becoming stars, and they fall in love and marry. Chi Chi fears that becoming a wife and mother will force her to give up the life she has come to relish- writing and recording songs, performing on stage with Sav (now known as Tony Arma). They move to Hollywood, where Chi Chi writes songs and cares for their children, while Tony tours the country and works as an actor in films. Chi Chi wants the traditional Italian family that she grew up with, but it appears that Tony may no longer want that. Can their marriage survive? Anyone who loves the music of the 1940s and 1950s will adore Tony's Wife. Trigiani names each chapter as a direction in music- Feroce, Crescendo, Teneramente- adding to the authenticity of this engaging story. She even includes song lyrics throughout and a Tony Arma discography at the end of the book. I found Chi Chi's story so very captivating. She is such a strong woman, a woman who took care of her family's finances and took charge of her career and life, all the time remaining traditional to her family values. I absolutely fell in love with her! As with everyone, there are ups and downs in Chi Chi's life, happy times and incredibly sad and challenging times too. Once again, the cover art work is astonishing, and the descriptions of family meals and the beautiful clothing so evocative that you use all of your senses while reading this gorgeous story. Tony's Wife would make a perfect hostess gift if you are traveling for Thanksgiving, as well as a lovely gift during this holiday season. Pair it with a Frank Sinatra record and a bottle of good Chianti as a gift to your best friend as well as for yourself. I highly recommend Tony's Wife.
mzglorybe More than 1 year ago
As always with a Trigiani novel, I am saddened to turn the last page. I’ve bonded with a family, with characters whom you feel you personally know and hate to say goodbye to. Her novels are never forgettable for me. They are each unique even though they share the foundation of the Italian Catholic large familial complexities. This was wonderful, just wonderful. The history, the settings, (most of it in Jersey, but also California and Italy) the ambitions, but especially the music, the big band music of the late 30’s and 40’s, through WWII and beyond. You can just feel yourself there through it all. Music is what brought Saverio and Chiara together as young adults, later known as Tony and Chi-Chi, their stage names. They have a complicated but deep and bonding relationship through the years. It was a pleasure and often times despair to have a ringside seat to their relationship. I have witnessed a similar relationship as a child with an aunt and uncle, and realize that it is not an unusual situation, but with this author’s writing expertise, it seems a very personal one that the reader can’t help but be drawn into and experience powerful emotions. Chi-Chi is a role model for all women, especially back then through those difficult times when women had to fight for recognition and the roles they want and deserve in their lives. Chi-Chi was a strong, amazing woman I felt privileged to get to know. Early on I wondered why Adriana titled this “Tony’s Wife” but the ending disclosed it perfectly. I was left in tears and wonder. My thanks to Adriana Trigiani, Harper Collins and especially Amazon Vine for a complimentary copy to read and review. Happy release day! Wishing you every success... loved it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I’ve enjoyed all her other books, but I just kept waiting for this one to get started. Strange, sad story; it didn’t flow, skipped quickly through their lives. The wife wasted hers on a unworthy man.