Brava, Valentine (Valentine, #2) by Adriana Trigiani Read Online (FREE)
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Shake Down the Stars
THE MOST MAGICAL THING HAPPENED on the morning of my grandmother’s wedding in Tuscany. It snowed.
This is definitely Italian snow, not the New York City variety of midwinter precipitation. It doesn’t fall in big, chunky flakes, nor is it heavy February hail that stings faces and turns sidewalks into solid sheets of ice. Rather, this is a flurry of white glitter that sifts through the air and melts instantly when it lands on the stone streets.
From my window at the Spolti Inn, it seems the entire village of Arezzo is swathed in a lace bridal veil. I sip hot milk and espresso from a warm mug as I watch an old horse-drawn carriage pull up in front of the inn to take us to the church. It doesn’t feel like 2010. It could easily be a hundred years ago, not a modern touch in sight. Time stands still when people are happy. The ticking of real time resumes as soon as the rings are exchanged—for all of us.
Gram and Dominic’s wedding plans were made quickly and effortlessly (the beauty of an eighty-year-old bride is that she really knows what she does and doesn’t want). The airline tickets were bought online after a series of negotiations that eventually led to the splendid group rate that brought the Angelini and Roncalli families to this Italian village, into this moment, this morning.
We’ve all got roles in this romantic tale. The great-granddaughters are flower girls and the great-grandsons miniature groomsmen. My sisters Tess and Jaclyn and I are bridesmaids, as is our sister-in-law Pamela, while my mother is matron of honor. Dominic’s granddaughter Orsola will represent his side of the family in the bridal party. My father will walk his mother-in-law down the aisle and into the arms of Dominic Vechiarelli.
“It snowed that day,” I imagine I’ll tell my children. I’ll explain that after ten years as a widow, my grandmother found love again. Teodora Angelini’s story relies on fate, timing, and the best of luck. It’s also a story filled with hope—reminding all of us who haven’t found love that, regardless of age, experience, or locale, it’s a bad idea to close the book before “The End.” You just never know. Not one of us, not even the bride, saw this day coming.
“Somebody shoot me!” my mother shouts from the hallway. “My hair is a wet mop!”
“Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, Mike. We’re in a freakin’ hotel. Pipe down,” I hear my father bark back.
“Do you have to yell?” Tess hollers from her room. “Why does this family always have to yell?” she yells.
“Shh. You’ll wake the bay-bee!” Jaclyn whisper-shouts from her doorway.
My door bursts open. My mother stands in her full black slip with her hands on her hips. “I blew out my flatiron,” she announces. A flatiron blowout in my family is worse than finding a lump. And we have found our share of lumps.