From Adriana Trigiani, “a master of visual and palpable detail” (The Washington Post), comes a lush, immersive novel about a hardworking family of Tuscan artisans with long-held secrets. Epic in scope and resplendent with the glorious themes of identity and belonging, The Good Left Undone unfolds in breathtaking turns.
Matelda, the Cabrelli family’s matriarch, has always been brusque and opinionated. Now, as she faces the end of her life, she is determined to leave no stone unturned, including her own mother’s revelation about her two great loves: her childhood friend, Silvio, and proud Scottish sea captain John Lawrie McVicars, the father Matelda never knew....
In the halcyon days of the past, Domenica Cabrelli thrives in the coastal town of Viareggio until the day her beloved home becomes unsafe as Italy teeters on the brink of World War II. As her journey takes her from the rocky shores of Marseille to the mystical beauty of Scotland to the dangers of wartime Liverpool—where Italian Scots were imprisoned without cause—Domenica experiences love, loss, and grief as she longs for home. A hundred years later, her daughter, Matelda, and her great-granddaughter, Anina, face the same big questions about life and their family’s legacy as Matelda contemplates what is worth fighting for, and when to let go. But Matelda is running out of time, and the two timelines intersect and weave together in unexpected and heartbreaking ways that lead the family to redemption.
About the Author
Adriana Trigiani is the New York Times bestselling author of twenty books of fiction and nonfiction, including the blockbuster The Shoemaker’s Wife. Her books have been published in 38 languages around the world. She is an award-winning playwright, television writer/producer, and filmmaker. Among her screen credits, Trigiani wrote and directed the major motion picture adaptation of her debut novel Big Stone Gap. Adriana grew up in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, where she co-founded The Origin Project. Trigiani is proud to serve on the New York State Council on the Arts. She lives in New York City with her family.
Early Praise for The Good Left Undone
"Adriana Trigiani merges life and fiction so completely it’s impossible to sort one from the other. Through Matelda and the Cabrelli women, readers will find themselves fully immersed in another place and time, but also vividly recalling the histories of their own ancestors. An enduring testimony to the power of family and stories – those we know well and those that have shaped us without our knowing. Breathtakingly beautiful, powerful, lyrical, and ultimately filled with goodness." —Lisa Wingate
“Adriana Trigiani is a gifted, natural storyteller and The Good Left Undone is her at the top of her game. This beautiful, sweeping historical epic about three generations of women paints an exquisite portrait of love, loss, the ravages of time and the price a family pays for its secrets. Brava!” —Kristin Hannah
“The Good Left Undone is a sprawling, majestic historical fiction feast that spans countries and generations to find the heart and soul of a beautiful family. This is Adriana Trigiani at her best.” —Laura Dave
“The Good Left Undone is a wondrous novel of storytelling, love, war, religion and that which defines us all: family. Adriana Trigiani has outdone herself with her sharp eye, her humor and her warm and generous heart.” —Elin Hilderbrand
“The Good Left Undone is an exquisite gem of a novel, as it flits between present day and the calamitous times of World War II. No one does historical fiction better than Trigiani. You will fall in love with the characters, especially Matelda Roffo. Godere!” —David Baldacci
“From time to time, readers are fortunate enough to come across a novel that transports us so completely to a different time and place, we can smell the air, taste the food. The Good Left Undone is such a book: the power and the beauty of Italy and the Italians, the devastation of wars and callous disregard for humans, the love of life and others; all come across in this exquisite novel. Trigiani has accomplished a true miracle.” —W. Bruce Cameron
“Adriana Trigiani has written the triumph of her career in this historical epic. This novel is the dramatic, emotional, and profound saga of three generations of women in the Cabrelli family of gemcutters—Domenica, Matelda, and Anina—and each character is more brilliant than the last. This novel shines like a flawless diamond, with a multifaceted narrative that shifts seamlessly between Viareggio, Marseilles, and Scotland, bringing to light a sweep of history that I never knew existed. Most of all, at its core is the generous, beating heart of family – and a love story that will seep into your soul. I have always loved Adriana Trigiani’s books, but The Good Left Undone is a crown jewel of historical fiction.” –Lisa Scottoline
“Adriana Trigiani is a treasure and The Good Left Undone is a gem: a sweeping epic that spans a century. Chronicling the fallout from the cataclysmic sinking of the Arandora Star — torpedoed by a German U-Boat in 1940 — this extraordinary novel manages to mourn the dead, celebrate the living, and remind us that every family has secrets that are heartbreaking, heartwarming, and (yes) inspiring.” —Chris Bohjalian
“The Good Left Undone is a wildly entertaining story about the life of the remarkable Italian nurse Domenica Cabrelli and her daughter Matelda. The novel is a wonderful love story, rife with sea captains and childhood sweethearts and a family that never gives up on one another. I adored it.” —Ann Napolitano
“Adriana Trigiani reshapes the words of Phillip Larkin – ‘the good not done, the love not given, the time torn off unused’ -- as a focal point for a wonderfully agile novel that rounds off the sharp edges of our times." —Colum McCann
“I can lie on my couch and travel the world – and through time – reading Adriana Trigiani’s The Good Left Undone. Italy, France, Scotland. 1920s to the present. Her storytelling is genius. Her understanding of love and family moves me to tears.” —Delia Ephron
“With its epic sweep, radiant characters, and uncommon insight, The Good Left Undone expertly spans generations and geography, luring the reader into a world where family love and family legacy are both a gift and an inspiration.” —Lisa Grunwald
"Adriana Trigiani knows that a great life is made up of memories and morsels: Kisses and cakes; heartbreak and honey salves. In The Good Left Undone, Trigiani’s women share secrets in the safety of kitchens, are carried off to bed during war, fight to keep a sense of themselves, and appreciate that a first love that arrives second is the sweetest and most substantial of all." —Helen Ellis
“Adriana Trigiani’s latest novel is a delicious immersion into a hidden Italy, a world of Vatican jewelers, of ledgers, maps and strega, of people who tell time by the ‘bells and the baker,’ and are connected to their history and to the far corners of the spinning globe by love, blood, and rubies. And that’s just the first course of this literary feast, that is also a profound meditation on old age and an intimate conversation between generations of a quietly dazzling family.” —Alice Randall
“This book had me at Italian food and jewelry! Full disclosure, I’m a huge fan of the novels of Adriana Trigiani, as they are always just what the literary doctor orders when I need to escape my modern life of email and carb-counting. The way she combines the sensual pleasure of homemade food and the complications of family drama (and comedy!) delights me. Adriana is like what would happen if Jane Austen and Nora Ephron had a baby. The Good Left Undone was, for me, her most satisfying novel yet because its themes of family loyalty, true love, and the possibility of forgiveness felt so inspiring to me at this strange time. Treat yourself to this vivid, dazzling, un-put-downable read that will take you away from ordinary cares and plunge you into the richly detailed world of a charming Italian village overlooking the sea. And the best news is, any carbs eaten while under the heady influence of The Good Left Undone completely do not count! And even if they do, who cares, it’s worth it, as is this gorgeous treat of a book.” —Cathryn Michon
“It’s impossible not to be absolutely enthralled by the latest immersive Trigiani masterwork about family, food (oh my God, so delicious), loyalty and legacy. A story bristling with so much generous life, you’ll swear you are there for all of it: the great loves, the unfathomable losses, the betrayals and the secrets of the artisan Cabrelli family, especially with matriarch Matelda, caught between the end of her own life, the beginning of her granddaughter Anina’s, and the dramatic, love-torn and war-torn life her mother Domenica had led. Spanning Italy, France and England, and decades, The Good Left Undone is thrilling proof that, ‘A family is only as strong as their stories.’” —Caroline Leavitt, New York Times bestselling author of Pictures of You and With or Without You