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.
Published: 2022 | 4 stars
As a dedicated reader of White’s many, varied books, I was quite excited to see her working within a completely new setting and with a completely new cast of characters – Chicago during the 1920s and mafia members vs. European aristocrats. Unsurprisingly, White delivered an interesting and fast-paced story.
First up for discussion, characters: Sabina Mancari is a mildly irritating main character, but she grew on me as the story progressed. Her character arc and growth was deeply satisfying. Sabina grew in every area of her life as she leaned into her faith and simply matured. The one thing that disappointed me slightly was the lack of impact her previous responsibility for her siblings on who she was as a character – caring for beloved younger siblings truly challenges you to grow in many ways.
“Sweet images had filled her dreams that she couldn’t have put to words. Everything looked different now. She was more aware than ever of how small her spark of life was in the darkness of the world. But she was also more aware that it only took one spark to dispel the darkness.”
Enzo, Lorenzo, is a good man. A good man who deftly escapes the trap of being the “blameless man who falls for the girl with a tarnished reputation” by being wonderfully human. Although he is by no means a new favorite character of mine, I appreciated his internal turmoil and his attempts to determine how to love his family while vehemently opposing their line of work.
The side-characters were strong, but I would have liked to learn more about a couple of them (especially Isadora). Roman, the main antagonist is a piece of work, but he truly is not a terrible person, he’s just messed up. Ava’s story-line captured my imagination – something about her love for Sabina and the way that she prays for Sabina’s family despite her situation got to me. Sally’s story made me sad, and I just hope that her life turned out alright. 🙂
“People were never just what they did, or just where they found themselves. People were never just their sins.”
As far as other elements of the book, as I said before, this is a somewhat fast-paced read. There are plenty of tense, life-and-death moments and White did a lovely job keeping me engaged in the story.
I appreciate the way that White dealt with difficult topics, such as prostitution and infidelity. She was both realistic and compassionate. The heartbreak that Sabina experiences as she discovers her father’s long-time relationship with Ava was easily relatable, and the way that Sabina responds to the situation felt true to her character.
“They didn’t pretend to understand what drove each other, but they’d still be along for the ride. They were family.”
I often find romantic threads in stories to feel unnecessary or simply unenjoyable, but I loved Enzo and Sabina’s story and watching them fall in love with each other all over again, this time as adults rather than as children.
Overall, I found this story to be a pleasant and interesting experience. I would love to see White re-visit these characters at some point in the future.
I received a complimentary copy this book from the publishers. I was not required to provide a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.
What is a June book that you are looking forward to? Or a May book that you have already read?