Review: The Good Left Undone by Adriana Trigiani

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Last Updated on March 30, 2023 by Mary Elle

The Good Left Undone is the latest historical fiction novel written by Adriana Trigiani, and it’s finally here.

This was the first Adriana Trigiani novel I’ve read and, well, I have no idea why. If the rest of her books are as spectacular as this one, they definitely deserved to be read the moment they were published.

Our review of The Good Left Undone includes a short synopsis, but also my feelings about the book. How did this book make me feel? You’ll soon find out!

The Good Left Undone by Adriana Trigiani

the good left undone

The Good Left Undone is just a marvelous historical fiction novel by Adriana Trigiani.

Since this was the first of Adriana Trigiani’s books that I’ve personally read, I’m not exactly sure what it was that attracted me to this one specifically. From the outset, I’m sure it had something to do with Italy.

After all, what’s not to love about Italy, right?

So, I hoped for good things when I started this book.

Little did I know that The Good Left Undone would have me imagining life in Italy so vividly that I would be smelling and tasting the pasta, feeling the ocean breeze on my face, laughing and crying along with the characters as if they were my own family, and finally, feeling the heartbreak of losing one of them as if they, again, were part of my own family.

Publishers Synopsis of The Good Left Undone

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 share a long-held secret with her family about her own mother’s great love story: with her childhood friend, Silvio, and with dashing Scottish sea captain John Lawrie McVicars, the father Matelda never knew. . . .
In the halcyon past, Domenica Cabrelli thrives in the coastal town of Viareggio until her beloved home becomes unsafe when Italy teeters on the brink of World War II. 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 are imprisoned without cause—as Domenica experiences love, loss, and grief while she longs for home. A hundred years later, her daughter, Matelda, and her granddaughter, Anina, face the same big questions about life and their family’s legacy, while Matelda contemplates what is worth fighting for. 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 shocking revelations and, ultimately, redemption.

The Good Left Undone – What I Liked

The easiest way for me to explain what I liked is to just say everything! But, OK, I’ll be more specific rather than taking the easy way out 🙂

So, Italy. I’ve already mentioned somewhere above that I think an Italian setting was largely responsible for my decision to read this book, to begin with. The author truly made me feel Italy, not just read about it. I could feel it, smell it, and hear it!

Above all else, this is a family saga spanning more than one generation. What I loved the most about that is the feelings I was left with regarding the importance of family.

Another thing I loved was that I learned about a specific piece of wartime history that I really didn’t know anything about, even though I’ve read tons of historical fiction from both the WWI and WW2 eras. Specifically, I really did not know the story of the many Italian Scots in Scotland and what the plight of some was during the war years.

Despite the fact that the subject matter was not always happy, I was happy while I was reading this book. I’m not sure if that even makes any sense! The thing is, even though I was at times reading about things like the hardships of war, the sadness of losing family members, and the difficulty of life in general sometimes, I was left with a feeling of happiness.

This book is an uplifting celebration of life.

The Good Left Undone – What I Didn’t Like

I can’t think of a single thing that I didn’t like about this book. Other than perhaps too short? I wish this story could have gone on forever 🙂

The Good Left Undone – Read, ReRead or Reject?

And now for my 3 Rs of book reviews. Read, ReRead or Reject?

What is my opinion of The Good Left Undone by Adriana Trigiani?

A definite read.

I highly recommend this book.

The Good Left Undone is a worthwhile read, and may well end up a ReRead at some point for me!

You can check out The Good Left Undone by Adriana Trigiani along with all of her other books, on the Adriana Trigiani Amazon author page.

And for more book suggestions in this genre, just head over and explore more historical fiction now. I’m sure you’ll find something to interest you.

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