Recommended for fans of mafia romance/dark romance novels
Book CWs: For a list of content/trigger warnings and tropes for this book, check out its page on BookTriggerWarnings.com!
Premise (from Goodreads)
“Forget favors given; remember those received.” – John Wooden
A time for love can’t be more deadly…
Julia Leonardi thought she put her past behind her. The widow of a mobster, all she wants is to steer clear of the criminal elements. Then she meets Domenico Bonacci…
Dom is handsome, charming, and intense. The world knows him as a prominent businessman, but Julia sees him as everything she fought to escape.
Once the scion of a powerful Mafia family Dom left the world of organized crime after his father’s death. And he swore he would never go back.
No matter how hard she tries, Julia can’t seem to ignore the powerful spark of attraction between them and her growing feelings for him. But when Dom’s shady past catches up with him, the two forbidden lovers find themselves trapped in a deadly game.
Will Dom renege on his vow and lose the woman he loves, or he will manage to break free of his past for once and for all?
Review (No Spoilers)
If Goodreads and WordPress allowed more rating options, I think that I would rate this book 3.75 stars.
A Favor For a Favor was my first mafia-related romance novel and I have to say that while it was very much what I expected, I was also surprised by how intricate the story was. I was very impressed by the writing, and I gained a lot of perspective into the life of a mobster (albeit from a fictional novel). The Mafia plot arc was by far my favorite part of the story, much more than the romance was. Let me explain a bit as to why this was the case.
Dom and Julia had an incredible amount of of potential to be a great pair. There were many interactions between them that I thoroughly enjoyed because of how cute they could be together. But the fact of the matter is: no amount of these scenes could have made me overlook the blatant sexual assault and subsequent harassment that happened in the beginning of the novel. To avoid going too much into spoiler territory, let me just say that the first interaction between Dom and Julia that occurs in the book is not a good one and that in an effort to rectify this interaction, the book spends a good amount of time recounting events that felt very stalker-ish to me. I actually had to adamantly pretend the first 30 or so percent of the book never happened in order to enjoy the rest.
To be fair, the excusable-sexual-assault-by-love-interest trope is something that romance does a lot. In fact, I’ve read it several times. It’s even in one of my favorite romance novels so you could say it’s not a total dealbreaker. I just really wish it would die out so that I can enjoy a book without having to pretend certain canonical events didn’t happen.
Overall, I’d say that this book is well-written and very much on-point in terms of what I expected from a dark mafia romance novel. Although I was upset by the beginning of the book, I quite enjoyed most of it (hence the high rating). This book has the potential to be loved by many, many readers–I’m actually going to recommend it to a friend of mine right after I post this review–so I hope it gets the promotional exposure that it deserves.