cover image Rococo


Adriana Trigiani, . . Random, $24.95 (288pp) ISBN 978-1-4000-6007-8

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 fiancée, 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. (June 28)