Wednesday, February 7, 2024

"Shadowed Loyalty" by Roseanna M. White

I have mixed feelings about this book.  On the one hand, White can write characters that feel so realistic that I feel like I have met them in real life.  On the other hand, when she writes a character who frustrates and annoys me, that can start to get to me.  So, this book was very well-written, and very engaging, but one of the secondary characters drove me NUTS.

Sabina's father is a mafia don.  Her fiancĂ© Lorenzo's father is one of her father's right-hand men.  Their fathers have agreed that, although their Chicago mafia organization is a family business, these two children of theirs are not to be involved in it.  They are clean, free in conscience and mind as well as in reality.  

But, can they really be free when their families are involved in so much corruption, violence, and criminal activity?  That's the question at the heart of the book.

Sabina has felt neglected and ignored by Lorenzo ever since their engagement.  She is flattered when Roman, a handsome newcomer to Chicago, pays attention to her.  Their involvement grows deeper and deeper... until one fateful day when he reveals himself as an infiltrator, a Prohibition agent who was using Sabina to get close to her father and take him down.  (This happens in the very first chapter -- it's not really a spoiler, honest.)  The bulk of the book is about Sabina and Lorenzo trying to figure out if they still want to be together, and how much their families' involvement in crime is going to affect their futures.

Roman is the secondary character who drove me crazy.  Ugh.  The guy had this unwavering fixation on Sabina that made me want to shake him pretty much every time he showed up on the page.  So annoying.  Very well-written, to be honest, but very annoying to me personally.  Might not bother you at all!

Particularly Good Bits:

"Brother Judah said once -- I don't remember when, but it stuck with me -- that forgiveness isn't a ticket you buy, a one-time thing bought and paid for.  Forgiveness is a train you choose to ride through life's journey.  You have to stay on it, even though sometimes you don't know where it's taking you" (p. 127)

People were never just what they did, or just where they found themselves.  People were never just their sins (p. 246).

The job of a candle was to shine despite the fact that the darkness could never comprehend it (p. 260).

If This was a Movie, I Would Rate It:  PG-16 for quite a bit of non-descriptive sexual content.  As in, there are extramarital affairs going on, some side characters are prostitutes, and there are mentions of petting.  A few on-page kisses, and everything else is pretty tasteful and non-titillating, but I wouldn't hand this book to my tween daughters.  There is also some violence, including shootings and fistfighting.

This is my 4th book read from my TBR shelves for the Mount TBR Reading Challenge 2024 and my 2nd for the #CozyWinterChristianFictionChallenge


  1. Roseanna M. White tends to be hit or miss for me. I've absolutely adored some of her books and spent a good deal of time seething over others. That's very unusual for me in an author to have it so unpredictable from one book to the next. But this one does sound interesting so I just may give it a try. I suspect I'll dislike Roman too for the same reasons you mentioned.

    1. Carissa, yes! Exactly! I really, really have enjoyed 5 or 6 books of White's. And then this one, well, my kids can tell you how much time I spent ranting about Roman. The book overall is really quite compelling. I was not sad to have read it, and I definitely finished it... but Roman real tested me, lol!


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