I’m really disappointed with how low the average rating is for this book, because to my mind it takes the “captive romance” genre and twists it into something uniquely and refreshingly different.
Kitty Thomas writes complex characters in difficult situations and refuses to follow the expected conventions and ‘rules’. Perhaps that is why so many give the books low ratings, their enjoyment comes from a certain set of expectations being fulfilled, plot rules and routines being stuck to, no criticism if that is your preference. However I loved this book because it really DIDN’T stick to those preconceived notions of what happens in a captive romance book.
They do say to be careful what you ask for because you just might get it, and that’s what happened for me with this story. So often when I’m reading a dark romance I want the heroine NOT to be dripping like a leaky tap (faucet to you USA folks) in the hero’s presence. Faith was attracted to Leo, but the situation she was in, and his sadistic desires left her cold. I feel it only fair to warn you now that this does contain a lot of dubious-consent and one scene that is non-consent. It wasn’t the darkest non-con scene but it is pivotal to the story.
Leo is a good man prepared to do bad things for, at least to his mind, good reasons. So despite now owning Faith, when she reacts with the inevitable (and oh so realistic but usually missing from these books) fear and terror he, as the blurb says, keeps her almost as one would keep a pet or a piece of art. Leo is a complex man, born and raised in a mafia family but with too many morals and too good a heart to live that life. However it has left him with a darkness in his soul and a liking for the more sadistic aspects of BDSM.
I did think the abuse Faith had suffered as a child, her utter fear of ‘the belt’, would feature as an aspect later in the book. It almost felt like a loose end but, at the end of the day/book, this was a M/s relationship and really it was never going to make a difference. The ending, for some, may feel abrupt. Kitty Thomas doesn’t really go for the nice, sweet, tied-up-in-a-bow ending. She leaves us with a raw, realistic ending, one where I would argue quite ferociously that both characters are happy.
Neither has exactly what they want from a relationship, Leo felt like he compromised a lot less than Faith did, but isn’t that what life is like? And that ultimately is what I most enjoy about Kitty’s work. Whilst the original plot basis might be a slight stretch, how the characters feel and react does feel very genuine and real. I adore dark romances but so very often I can predict how the story will proceed almost blow-by-blow, or beat for beat I believe the literary version is. How much I enjoy the book is then entirely down to the quality of writing. Mafia Captive is just a breath of fresh air and the type of read that I just didn’t want to put down. I highly recommend it.
Without any family, Faith Jacobson faces the grim reality of Christmas alone. Walking home one night after drinks with friends, she stumbles upon a mob hit. Faith expects to be killed for what she’s seen; instead she is given to a wealthy and dangerous man tied to the Raspallo crime family. As a gift.
Leo Raspallo is beautiful, yet terrifying. But inside his home Faith is no longer alone, especially when his family arrives for the holidays, forcing her into the ruse of a fake wedding engagement. But she isn’t his beloved fiancé; she’s his captive. And he can’t be her savior while harboring dark desires of his own.
Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00CF4U874/
Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CF4U874/
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17737134-mafia-captive
5 stars – This is a book I will not forget and would definitely read again.
4 stars – I really enjoyed this book, I might not read it again but I would definitely recommend it to others.
3 stars – This story was good but either forgettable or just very typical of its genre.
2 stars – Whilst the book was readable I either didn’t enjoy parts of the plot or just could not connect to the main characters.
1 star – This is a book I simply could not finish for reasons listed in the review.