I found Violet (2019) by Sophie Lark with a little Google and Amazon searching. I was specifically looking for a book that filled the “Violet” square for Cannonball Bingo, and I figured there had to be a romance novel with ‘violet’ in the title. When I found Violet and saw that I could get it through Kindle Unlimited, I was sold. Violet is the third book in a series (about different mafia romances?), but the description said it was a stand-alone novel, which was perfect for me. Spoilers.
Violet is a young musician living in London. She barely makes ends meet by playing various gigs around the city. One of those is playing three times a week at a club owned and patronized by the Russian mafia. When a visiting mafia boss from Paris is in London for business, he takes a special interest in Violet when he sees her on stage. Violet does not know the man’s intentions, but she finds herself intensely attracted to the man’s bodyguard/right-hand man, Anton. (I’ve been watching a lot of Hamilton).
One night a couple weeks later, Violet is sleeping in her apartment when she is kidnapped by Anton and brought to Paris. He takes her to his boss’s beautiful, gigantic mansion, and the boss explains that she is his daughter. He recognized her onstage and did some sneaky DNA testing. He wants her to become part of the family. Violet meets her Uncle Kostya, her half-brother Roman, and her cousin Nadia. Uncle Kostya is sneaky and Roman is bitter and angry at her intrusion. Nadia quickly becomes a great friend. Although there is undeniable chemistry between Anton and Violet, she is told that they could never be a couple because Anton is not officially part of the family and Violet’s marriage must be political.
Violet feels some indecision over whether she wants to be a part of a mafia family, although she seems pretty comfortable, pretty quickly with violence. Violet’s father shows her around their businesses in the city, but he quickly begins to look more frail. It turns out that he’s dying of liver cancer. He wants Violet and Roman to take his place. But when he announces this at the council meeting involving all the mafia families in the area, some of them (including Uncle Kostya) revolt, killing each other with steak knives (because no guns/weapons were allowed into the meeting). Anton jumps through the locked door to save the day, and Violet, Anton, and Roman take over leadership of the Paris mafia.
I was pleasantly surprised when I began reading this book. Having never heard of the book or author and being a little skeptical of how a “mafia romance” would work, I didn’t have high expectations. However, the writing was good. I immediately liked the main character, and when she lost her beloved guitar, I really felt for her. Unfortunately, this feeling did not last.
My first problem came when I noticed the many typos in the Kindle edition–each one just slightly irritating. However, my biggest problem with this book is that I discovered that mafia romances are not for me. I’m not a huge fan of violence and breaking the law. The book skimmed over the very ugliest side of the mafia, saying that they had transitioned to primarily legal enterprises. But Violet was drugged and dragged from her bed by Anton, and they first spent time together when he was showing her how to shoot a gun. The times they had sex were wholly consensual, but rough and not romantic from my point of view. They were attracted to each other but never really talked to each other. I did not feel much for their relationship. In fact, it felt like the book was not given enough time to flesh out the characters or their relationships at all. It seemed that the author spent more time building character in that first chapter than in the rest of the book.
So, I’m done with mafia romances for the time being, but I don’t regret getting my “Violet” Cannonball Bingo square.
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