Book Review: The Good Left Undone by Adriana Trigiani

“Lent had felt like it lasted an eternity when she was a girl. Easter Sunday could not come soon enough. The day of relief. “You cannot have the joy of Easter Sunday without the agony of Good Friday,” her mother reminded them.”

Adriana Trigiani, The Good Left Undone

Title: The Good Left Undone
Author: Adriana Trigiani
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: 439 (Hardcover)
Published: April 26th, 2022

My Rating: ★★★★★
Read: 4/16/2022 – 5/25/2022


When I really enjoy a book, I procrastinate finishing it. Alas, eventually I must come to know the ending. I put this one off as long as I could and I loved every minute. I miss it already!

The Good Left Undone is a touching story about family and lineage. Anina, the youngest of the Cabrelli women finds herself interested in her family history and seeks the stories her grandmother Matelda has to tell. These stories predominantly focus on her mother Domenica’s life. 

I loved so much about this story, but my favorite part was the involvement of Catholicism. It’s not often I read more mainstream books that paint such an authentic picture of living life while maintaining these traditions. I really appreciated the reverence. Secondly, the writing was beautiful and there were many thought-provoking passages that I need to go back and re-read. All in all, a wonderful book.


I never get tired of character-driven books. Adding the family angle makes it even better. There were a few characters sprinkled in that seem unnecessary to the plot even though they have a connection to Domenica or John, but at the same time, their presence adds something. There are some great European settings here (Italy, France, and Scotland) so you get a good feel of the culture and locations through them as well as the WWII as a whole.

Another thing this story brought to mind was the treatment of Italians in ally countries. It never occurred to me that they, too, would be viewed as the enemies. It’s easy to get so focused on Germany that I sometimes look over Mussolini unless it’s a story set in Italy. Even then, it took seeing it in black and white to realize that Italians were not welcome elsewhere no matter where their loyalties were.

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