Sabina Mancari never questioned her life as the daughter of Chicago’s leading mob boss until bullets tear apart her world and the man she thought she loved turns out to be an undercover Prohibition agent. Ambushes, bribes, murder, prostitution—all her life, her father sheltered her from his crimes, but now she can no longer turn away from the truth. Maybe Lorenzo, the fiancé who barely paid her any attention in the last two years, has the right idea by planning to escape their world. But can she truly turn her back on her family?
All his life, Lorenzo’s family assumed he would become a priest, but he has different ideas—marrying Sabina and pursuing a career in the law. Despite his morals, he knows at the core he isn’t so unlike his mafiosi father and brothers. Has he, in trying to protect Sabina, forced her into the arms of the Prohibition agent bent on tearing her family apart? How can they rebuild what has so long been neglected and do it in the shadow of the dark empire of the Mafia?
Shadowed Loyalty, set amid the glitz and scandal of the Roaring Twenties, examines what love really means and how we draw lines between family and our own convictions, especially when following one could mean losing the other.
Disclaimer: Although I received an electronic copy of this book from the publisher, the opinions below are my own.
It’s 1922, and Sabina Mancari is looking forward to a dinner with Roman Oliveri, a member of her father’s organization who has told her he loves her. Only Roman is really Roman O’Reilly, a Prohibition agent who now uses her as a pawn to force her father to surrender himself into police custody. The attention she had longed for, had been getting from him, had all been a ruse. Her only option now is to turn to the man she’d cast over, her fiancé and longtime friend, Lorenzo Capeece.
So starts Roseanna M White’s newest historical novel, Shadowed Loyalty. It’s a marked departure from her previous novels and not only in location. (White has set most of her novels in early 20th century Great Britain.) Although this is a Christian novel, released by a Christian publisher, and there are strong Christian messages throughout, it isn’t a cozy, sweet romance. How can it be since the characters are in the Mafia? The book’s premise says as much. There’s drinking and violence and mentions of swearing in the Sicilian language. There are also a couple of “fade to black” scenes between a major character and a prostitute. Which character? I’m not saying. I will say, however, that one of the sinful women comes to Sabina’s aid when she needs it most.
Speaking of Sabina, she was a complex character. Initially I had sympathy for her, especially when Ronan revealed his true self. When it’s revealed she cheated on her fiancé my opinion changed. But then it changed again once she and Lorenzo discussed what had happened which, thankfully, happened early on. Roman? What can I say? The man was a jerk. I could accept he was supposed to go after Sabina’s father. I could even understand why he acted the way he did to get close to her father. What I didn’t like was how he acted AFTER the revelation. Even his colleague, Cliff, seemed to think he’d gone a bit too far. Lorenzo has a lot to work through; he and Sabina didn’t choose the mob life but were born into it. Lorenzo had to reconcile the actions of the Mafia with his Christian faith, and I don’t know how he did. Finally, there’s Sabina’s father himself: Manny was a man who’d do anything for his family, both the biological and non-blood related, a man who knew what he had to do but was seemingly okay if his children didn’t follow in his footsteps. I could understand how Sabina had a hard time seeing the truth of her father’s actions.
While the story was a good one, and did have a conclusion albeit abrupt, I did feel slightly shortchanged. I would’ve liked to have seen Sabina and Lorenzo’s actions after the final page. Did they get their “Happy Ever After?” Were they able to break away from the Mafia connections? If so, did it mean disconnecting completely and never seeing their family again? Or would they always be tainted? Was Sabina’s brother able to follow his own path? I’m certain Shadowed Loyalty was meant to be a standalone novel, but perhaps I became too involved in the characters to be willing to cast them aside after just one book.
Publisher: Chrism Press (an imprint of Whitefire Publishing)
Publication Date: 02 May 2022
ROSEANNA M WHITE
Roseanna M. White is a bestselling, Christy Award winning author who has long claimed that words are the air she breathes. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two kids, editing, designing book covers, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of a slew of historical novels that span several continents and thousands of years. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to find their way into her books…to offset her real life, which is blessedly ordinary.