The Man in Black!
The following ratings are out of 5:
World building: 🌎🌏🌍🌎🌏
Character development: 👤👤👤👤
The setting: Italy
The Hero(s): Don Massimo Toricelli – Boss in the Sicilian mafia. Massimo had a dream after being shot, or possibly a near death experience in which he saw the face of a woman and ever since he has been searching for this woman.
The heroine: Laura Biel – After achieving her dream job, she realizes she is bored and quits work for a while. She is on vacation in Italy with her boyfriend and some friends. While in Italy, she meets Massimo at a few different places and is both intrigued by him and scared of him.
The Love Story:Massimo kidnaps Laura and threatens her loved ones if she tries to escape. He proposes that she stay with him for 365 days in which he will try to get her to fall in love with him. He says he won’t force her to do anything she doesn’t want to do. Though in making her stay and threatening her family, isn’t he doing just that???
Someone told me the Netflix movie is basically porn. I am not really a watcher of porn, but I am now wanting to see the movie after picturing Massimo doing all the things he has done in this book. The book is somewhat porn, but not strictly smutty porn. There is definitely a story and I enjoyed it. Though I must say since many people hate captive romance books due to the whole force and/or Stockholm syndrome aspects, I am not bothered by them.
I like dark and twisty books and characters. Though Massimo wasn’t nearly as bad as many of the anti-hero’s of captive romance that I have read. Also unlike many people, I don’t think romance novels need to be seen as a purveyor of what the world should be like and I don’t think romance authors should only write characters that are good to make some sort of statement about what is right and what is wrong. I think they can be just plain entertainment and I like dark sexy men in my books even when they do wrong.
Massimo grew up in a violent world, he is used to being violent in many ways, especially in bed. But he has real feelings for Laura and he wants her to fall in love with him. So he is trying to be gentle with her. However, Laura is being held hostage, so she fights Massimo at every turn. He sees her fight (including being insolent and slapping him) as her disrespecting him. As a Don, he is not used to being shown disrespect so he often reacts violently.
Though not as violently as I expected. Massimo’s mood often turns on a dime and he will go from walking or sitting peacefully to jumping on her and speaking or doing something harshly. However, he notices when she shows fear and tends to back off. It gets to the point where Massimo backing off isn’t always what Laura really wants.
Like I said, and like many books with BDSM elements, there are a ton of steamy situations and sizzling content in this book. I was surprised that with 476 ratings on GR, the overall rating is less than 4 stars. Though since I am reading an ARC from Netgalley, I assume that many of those are reviews polish version. Possibly it was improved for the English version or maybe I just liked it better than most. Either way, I did think the story was terrific. My overall rating is 4.6, rounded up to 5 stars. It is sexy, romantic and I do plan to continue reading the series, so there you have it!
Lastly for those that compared this book to Fifty Shades, there are some BDSM elements so if that is enough to compare one book to another then they are alike in that only. Massimo is much more alpha male (in my opinion) than Christian Grey and he isn’t damaged like Christian is damaged by his early abuse and his mother’s friend. Massimo is a Mafia Kingpin and is used to having his way and he doesn’t have a red room. So other than some kinky sexual proclivities, I didn’t really see any comparison.
I voluntarily read & reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts & opinions are my own.
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