Kiss Carlo: A Novel

Kiss Carlo: A Novel

by Adriana Trigiani


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From Adriana Trigiani, the beloved New York Times-bestselling author of The Shoemaker’s Wife, comes an exhilarating epic novel of love, loyalty, and creativitythe story of an Italian-American family on the cusp of change.

It’s 1949 and South Philadelphia bursts with opportunity during the post-war boom. The Palazzini Cab Company & Western Union Telegraph Office, owned and operated by Dominic Palazzini and his three sons, is flourishing: business is good, they’re surrounded by sympathetic wives and daughters-in-law, with grandchildren on the way. But a decades-long feud that split Dominic and his brother Mike and their once-close families sets the stage for a re-match. 

Amidst the hoopla, the arrival of an urgent telegram from Italy upends the life of Nicky Castone (Dominic and his wife’s orphaned nephew) who lives and works with his Uncle Dom and his family. Nicky decides, at 30, that he wants more—more than just a job driving Car #4 and more than his longtime fiancée Peachy DePino, a bookkeeper, can offer. When he admits to his fiancée that he’s been secretly moonlighting at the local Shakespeare theater company, Nicky finds himself drawn to the stage, its colorful players and to the determined Calla Borelli, who inherited the enterprise from her father, Nicky must choose between the conventional life his family expects of him or chart a new course and risk losing everything he cherishes.

From the dreamy mountaintop village of Roseto Valfortore in Italy, to the vibrant streets of South Philly, to the close-knit enclave of Roseto, Pennsylvania, to New York City during the birth of the golden age of television, Kiss Carlo is a powerful, inter-generational story that celebrates the ties that bind, while staying true to oneself when all hope seems lost.

Told against the backdrop of some of Shakespeare’s greatest comedies, this novel brims with romance as long buried secrets are revealed, mistaken identities are unmasked, scores are settled, broken hearts are mended and true love reigns. Trigiani’s consummate storytelling skill and her trademark wit, along with a dazzling cast of characters will enthrall readers. Once again, the author has returned to her own family garden to create an unforgettable feast. Kiss Carlo is a jubilee, resplendent with hope, love, and the abiding power of la famiglia.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062319234
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 01/16/2018
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 560
Sales rank: 81,949
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.60(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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Kiss Carlo (Signed Book) 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 28 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Another great book book by Trigiani. She writes about Italian families, laughter and tears. Story is about an Italian family living in Philly after the war. It is a charming book with great characters. Light hearted and fun to read . Enjoy
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Nice story . Well written and told. So much so that you can picture the characters and setting.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I simply loved this book. It's hard to decide which one of Adriana's books is the best. She writes in a way that touches the heart. I hate to read the last chapter, I wish it could go on and on.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved every word! Did not want it to end!
bookchickdi More than 1 year ago
I always look forward to a new Adriana Trigiani book. I feel like I am an honorary Italian when I read her books, filled with family, food, romance and people with a good work ethic. Trigiani's latest novel, Kiss Carlo, is a big, beautiful novel, stuffed with all of the above and more. The story begins in Roseto Valfatore, Italy in 1949, with Carlo, the ambassador, heading to Roseto, Pennsylvania to seek help from some Italian-Americans in rebuilding their road. From there, we meet the Palazzini brothers of Philadelphia, Dom and Mike, who once owned a taxi company together, but after a falling out, they now have competing taxi companies and no longer speak to each other. Dom is the frugal one, and his wife Jo has spent her life caring for their home and (now grown) children, and her nephew Nicky who lost his parents at an early age. Jo is the kind of woman who makes homemade pasta in the basement, and irons everyone's underwear. Mike is the flashier guy, and he has a more successful taxi business. His wife Nancy has the fancy clothes, and visits the hair salon weekly. The sisters-in-law used to be close, but because of the feud no longer speak. It's almost Shakespearean, you could say. Speaking of Shakespeare, Nicky drives Uncle Dom's taxi by day and by night volunteers at a local Shakespearean theater, run by Calla Borelli, who is trying to keep the doors to her father's theater open. This new television craze has hurt live theater. What's interesting in Kiss Carlo is that the main character is Nicky, a man. Nicky feels a little lost, even though his aunt and uncle love him very much. He is engaged to Peachy, a woman who feels her time is running out before she is officially a spinster. When Nicky gets the opportunity to perform onstage at the theater, he comes alive. Now he knows what he wants to do- be an actor. Peachy, however, will not hear of it. There is a lot going on in Kiss Carlo, and watching how Trigiani weaves the story and characters together is just amazing. It's like seeing someone take a skein of yarn and a few minutes later a beautiful blanket materializes. There are so many great characters in this story- Jo Palazzini, Calla, Nicky, Mamie Confalone- but my favorite is Hortense. Hortense is a black woman who works as a dispatcher for Dom's taxi service. She has been with them for years, and she brooks no nonsense. Don't ask Hortense what she thinks unless you really want to know. Hortense finds herself involved in a crazy caper with Nicky, and through that experience she meets a woman who will change her life. I love that Hortense wants a better life for herself and when she sees an opportunity, she works hard and uses her brains to make it happen. (It's that work ethic that shows up in every one of Trigiani's books.) I had the chance to speak briefly with Adriana and I told her that I think Hortense is my all-time favorite character of hers. She told me that Hortense was a real person, and she actually shows up in the Acknowledgements page. Soap opera fans will get a kick out of the fact that uber-producer Gloria Monty has a cameo appearance in this book. I told you, there is a lot packed into this book. I gave a copy of Kiss Carlo to one of my Italian-American friends, and she read the 500+ page book in two days, telling me she couldn't put it down. I totally agree with her, this is one of Adriana Trigiani's best books. Whether you're from a big family or just yearn to be, Kiss Carlo is for you. And if
Fredreeca2001 More than 1 year ago
Isn't the cover just FABULOUS!! You can't tell from the picture but the paper is all bright and shiny! #coverlove! This book is a little slow starting but it kicks in and you just fall in love with everyone!! Especially Nicky. Even when he makes a decision you want him to make...but yet you don't want him to make ...Capisce??? You must read the book to find out what I am talking about!! This book starts in Italy, moves to Pennsylvania where everything takes place. Nicky is a taxi driver and is part of a large Italian family. And I mean LARGE. Nothing like a big Italian family in the midst of a love story! There are lots of characters to keep up with but each are different and this adds so much to the story. I especially love the dispatcher/telegram operator, Hortense. She is an excellent minor character which keeps everyone in line! She has such a great sense of humor. She keeps everything rocking and rolling. I am not going to give anything away...and I soooooo want to. There is a lot of Italian, Shakespeare, love, food and impersonations. Yes...impersonations. I just love, love, love this book!! She told me I would and I did!! She, I mean Adriana Trigiani herself. And she is super amazing!!
GoABraves More than 1 year ago
Thanks to Goodreads and the publisher I received an ARE of Kiss Carlo. At the end of the book there was a page for the "About the Author" - it was blank, but it should say: Adriana Trigiani is a writer who takes you from Italy to Philadelphia, PA an incredible writer who weaves a story of family, of future and of love. Each year her readers await her newest release. Trigiani is a true talent and her fans are lucky to enjoy her writing which is as delicious as the Italian gravy that is served on the pages of this delightful read. Two brothers, two families, and one orphan young man who has the love of his uncle and aunt and extended family. Nicky Castone served his country in war, while his fiancee waited years for their marriage. But Nicky wants more, more comes in the Shakespeare theater and later Gloria Monty (yes, that creator/director) he decided if he stays he will always be a cab driver - New York is the new adventure and where Nick Carl finally finds the love of his life.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Coming from a big Italian- German family I appreciated the details that went into helping you understand the strengths and the complexity of all the characters. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and will recommend it to my book club.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved everything about this book as I loved all your books.
rendezvous_with_reading More than 1 year ago
An Italian-American family drama set in post WW2 Philadelphia, introduces the Palazzini family. The family is headed by brothers Dominic and Mike who have been feuding for years, after splitting the family cab business. Dominic has raised his wife's orphaned nephew, Nick Castone, who after the war, still lives with the family and drives cab, and secretly moonlights doing odd jobs for a theatre. The theatre he works at is run by pretty Calla Borelli and her father who heads a local Shakespeare company. One night an emergency forces Nick to fill in for an actor, making him realize he wants more from life than being a cabbie, he wants to pursue acting. When he finally admits to his long suffering fiancè, Peachy, that he's secretly been moonlighting at the local theatre, she gives him an ultimatum. Nick has to make a choice whether to follow the expectations of his fiancè and big Italian family or to take a leap of faith and pursue his dreams. This was my first Adriana Trigiani novel and I thoroughly enjoyed it. There are traces and themes of Shakespeare's works woven into Nick's story, but it's not an overt Shakespeare retelling in any way. It's great family drama storytelling liberally dosed with humor, secrets, forgiveness, heartbreak and love. But reader beware, all the descriptions of good Italian food will leave you hungry! I highly recommend the audiobook of this one. The narrator was fantastic!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Adriana Trigiani is one of my all-time favorite authors. Her pages come to life with the sights and sounds and smells of whatever amazing town of which she is writing. Her stories take you away to another place and time and I always hate for them to end!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really enjoyed reading this book. Loved all the characters. Loved reading family drama, love for one another.
edonadio More than 1 year ago
Another beautifully written story by one of America's most talented authors. Set in 1949 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania's post WWII America, this story shows the strong connection between the people of the small village of Roseto Valforte, Italy and the immigrants who left their old life behind to pursue the American dream. Filled with the ups and downs of family and work relationships, the desire and drive to fulfill personal goals, the quest for love and acceptance, the desire to create and maintain community and family, Trigiani takes us on a beautiful journey as we drop in on the lives of her characters who seem so real, the reader feels as if visiting old friends. Trigiani writes beautifully with a command of language that is never soppy or melodramatic, but manages to drive right to the heart of the situation. The book is filled with humor and some of the best one-liners I've ever heard. Feelings, concerns, conversations are deep but relatable, personal but universal, humorous but poignant. This book represents the beliefs at that time—especially those of Italians and Italian-Americans—the importance of family, marriage, children, the community, and the Catholic Church. Many ideas might seem out-dated, but here is a snapshot of another time and place.
BettyTaylor More than 1 year ago
I love family sagas, and Adriana Trigiani is a master at them. “Kiss Carlo” is a story of family, romance, loyalty, trust, dreams, and tradition. It opens in May 1949 in South Philly after the men have returned from war. Dom and Mike Palazzini, brothers in an Italian-American family have not spoken for an estimated 16 years. Nicky Castone, orphaned at a young age, has lived with his uncle Dom and aunt Jo since he was five years old. He drives a taxi for the family cab company and delivers telegrams for Hortense Mooney. He has been engaged to Peachy for seven years. Nicky has never told Peachy about his evening job with a small Shakespeare theatre company run by Calla Borelli. One night when he has to fill in for an absent actor he finds himself bitten by the acting bug. Working with the determined and passionate Calla, Nicky finally realizes that something is missing in his life. He recognizes that he does not want to marry Peachy. Nicky struggles to find his place in the world as he flees to Roseto, Pennsylvania while impersonating an Italian ambassador. This then leads him to the hillside village of Roseto Valfortore in Italy. Upon his return to the US, he announces to his family that he is moving to New York City to pursue an acting career. It took me a while to grasp who all characters were as all of Dom and Jo’s sons and their wives and children still live with them. The characters are beautifully brought to life, revealing their strengths, their flaws, their backstories. She leaves you wanting to be a member of the crazy but loving Palazzini family.
ARS8 More than 1 year ago
Kiss Carlo was an interesting look at an Italian family and their community in America after the events of World War 2. I enjoyed the family interactions and at times chuckled with them and at other times pitied too as sometimes they let petty things and grievances stand in the way of meaningful family relationships. Especially the relationships between brothers who should have been supportive of each other. This book was not at all what I had expected, delightfully so. It is a big book. Weighing in at over 500 pages, I must admit I was a bit intimidated by it. There are a lot of characters in this book and lots of details that I did find myself skimming over just due to time constraints. The author knows her way around words and I did enjoy her writing, however I was really craving Italian food while reading this. The love story was cute and fun to watch grow. I knew who I was shipping for and I had to be patient as it unfolded. The setting of the Shakespearean theater and the play that was so important to our heroine makes me want to pick up Twelfth Night and give that a read as well. I also liked that this book for the general market was a clean read. I received a copy of this book for free. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.
TheBookEnigma More than 1 year ago
Set amidst the background of 1949 South Philadelphia, the The Palazzini Cab Company & Western Union Telegraph Office owned by Dominic Palazzini and his sons is flourishing along with their family life, that is, until an old family feud between Dominic and his brother sparking back into existence. At the same time Nicky Castone, Dominic’s orphaned nephew who also works at the company is about to get married, that is until he realizes that he wants more and begins to spend his nights acting at the local Shakespeare theater company. Finding himself draw to the theater’s owner, Nicky must choose between a safe family life or one that might end with him risking everything he loves. I loved the writing style of this book. Lyrical and with a great flow, I felt fully immersed in each scene. I especially all the references to companies that are still around today like Pep Boys because it made the book feel even more real. Even if it was set in 1949, it still felt like something that could really be happening, making me feel even more connected with it. Another thing that I enjoyed about this book was the historical setting. Going along with her writing style, this book felt like the perfect well-researched time piece. With every word, it felt like the author actually stepped back in time to do research before coming back. From small details like special holiday traditions with roses woven in hair to the different feelings about business owning women during the time, every detail written made me feel like I was living the story with the characters. The author also made the book special with the characters she created. So many books nowadays start with weak characters that can only be fully appreciated after a slow build up throughout the story, adding more and more to each character as the book goes on. Character development like this is expected in books, after all that is hoe most books are, but in this book, the author did something special. From the very start of the book, the way she wrote her characters made them feel as if I have known them for a long time and they were old friends. I felt as though even if I had read so little of the book, I still knew so much about them. Reading it, I felt like I was attached to each of the characters as they went through life, making me want to root for them throughout the book. The plot was also amazing. Written as a romantic comedy with a Shakespearian background, it felt a lot like the unique story of one family’s wrongdoings and growth. Everything felt connected in this book and each subplot even more interesting than the last. Throughout this book, I felt as though there was not one slow moment in the entire thing, leaving me to enjoy each and every word. I would recommend this book for historical fiction lovers looking for a well written novel of romance and family drama. This book is truly one that will leave you on the edge of your seat with heartbreak and suspense.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
They had me at the cover. When I was offered to read Kiss Carlo from Laura at I Read Book Tours I jumped at the chance. It just looked dreamy to me. The gorgeous cover drew me in. Opening the first few pages had me and kept me drawn in to the end. Kiss Carlo wasn't a fast read at 544 pages. But many times you just don't want a book to end. This was one. Honestly I wasn't sure how I felt about the time period. I have never read a book from this time period and wasn't really sure how I would like it. Honestly I have wondered where I've been that I haven't stumbled onto Adrianae Trigiani before. I've welcomed the introduction. I look forward to reading more! I received a complimentary copy from I Read Book tours.
Griperang72a More than 1 year ago
This is the first book I have read by this author and it was a good one for me to start with. Let's start with the characters. I thought they were well developed and believable. They could have been anyone's family. Then the setting of the book, now I have to admit I liked the Italy parts of the book the most but the Philly and New York parts were well described as well. I liked how this book was about a close knit family and you got to see their traditions. I also liked the theater part of this book and that Nick wanted to follow his dream. This book could be a tribute to any one wanting to follow their dreams. I will be picking up some more books by this author in the future.
Blooming-with-Books More than 1 year ago
Take a trip to 1949 South Philly with this one... Kiss Carlo By Adriana Trigiani Determined to save his village Carlo Guardinfante decides his only course of action is to set sail for America. Roseto, Pennsylvania, is his destination and a strange twist of fate changes what might have been into something different. South Philadelphia is home to a thriving Italian-Ameican community and home to the Palazzini family. Unfortunately, the family has been split by a broken promise following the death of the family patriarch. And this divide has drifted down to the younger generation. 1949 is a time of change. The world is rebuilding itself into a new shape as those who survived the war attempt to find their place in it once again. Nicky Castone is one of the drivers for his Uncle Dom's cab company. Having come back from the war to his fiancée Peachy DePino Nicky seems to be in no rush to tie the knot. When not driving Nicky works at the struggling Borelli Theatrical Company. The theater has a draw that offers Nicky something he's been missing in his life. When a telegram comes into the Palazzini's Western Union office for delivery the stage is set and life for all those involved will be drastically changed - with Nicky taking center stage. This is a story in which several generations of a family are all living together which as one might expect causes issues of its own. Many of the characters are a tad overbearing in their opinions and when it comes to Nicky's engagement everyone has an opinion on the suitability of the pair and if it will last. My favorite character is Hortense Mooney, who works at the Palazzini's office and is the force that helps them all keep their heads in place. Hortense is an oddity in this world a woman of color in the midst of a very Italian neighborhood. Yet she has created a place for herself and when she gets roped into Nicky's crazy scheme manages to create yet another role for herself one that she never dreamed possible. This is a story of life and the importance of knowing one heart and willing to follow it where it leads even if it is into the unknown. What lies beyond may be the key to the future but unless willing to make the first step one may never know. And as an added little fact this book does not involve a whole lot of Carlo kissing, in fact Carlo isn't in it for a majority of the book and yet his trip to America plays a pivotal role in all that transpires throughout. I was provided a review copy of this book by the author through Italy Book Tours with no expectations of a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.
KrittersRamblings More than 1 year ago
Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings Let me start by saying that I am HUGE Adriana Trigiani fan and I love her depiction of Italians and The Shoemaker's Wife may be one of my top 10 favorite books of all time, so when I heard that she was doing another epic Italian family story my heart soared, but to put it short and sweet - I didn't love this one anywhere close to my love for The Shoemaker's Wife. Set in Philadelphia in a neighborhood where many Italians have settled, two brothers are in the midst of a feud and each are operating a cab company. The story mostly focuses on a nephew of the brothers who has been engaged to a young woman for awhile and isn't quite ready for the next phase of life. I loved Nicky as a character and enjoyed reading his journey, but there were a few things that just didn't work for me.
Beachbabe1 More than 1 year ago
I did not love this book . I'm normally a fan of hers, but this book seemed like 5 books in one. The descriptive paragraphs went on and on and on. I was determined to finish this, but it was a struggle.
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Jaime67 More than 1 year ago
I normally really love her books, and while the content and storyline of this one is great, at over 800 pages, it is WAY too long. Good grief. Sometimes the descriptors are so extensive and lengthy, you forget what they're talking about. It made me wonder if she had an editor at all.