For Sophie, it feels like another slow, hot summer in Cedar Hill, waitressing at her family’s diner and hanging out with her best friend Millie. But then someone moves into the long-abandoned mansion up the block–a family of five Italian brothers, each one hotter than the last. Unable to resist caramel-eyed Nicoli, Sophie finds herself falling for him — and willfully ignoring the warning signs. Why are Nic’s knuckles cut and bruised? Why does he carry an engraved switchblade? And why does his arrogant and infuriating older brother, Luca, refuse to let her see him? As the boys’ dark secrets begin to come to light, Sophie is confronted with stinging truths about her own family, too. Suddenly, she’s torn between two warring dynasties: the one she’s related to and the one she’s now in love with. She’ll have to choose between loyalty and passione. When she does, blood will spill, hearts will break. Because in this twisted underworld, dishonor can be the difference between life and death.
Vendetta comes across as a Romeo-Juliet-esque story, with a mob twist – that’s the shortest way I can describe this book. Persephone ‘Sophie’ Gracewell, has an outcast reputation in her town, thanks to her dad being incarcerated for shooting a person. So she knows what it is like to be the talk of the town and be considered dangerous for regular folk. She is also used to gossip and when a new family moves into the infamous Priestly mansion, and when they are rumored to be stayed away from, she prefers finding out for herself rather than trusting the gossip vine. Sadly for her, the rumors are only the tip of the iceberg, and by the time she is in deep, she and Nic have already fallen in love with one another. Their romance is kinda insta-lovey but it develops on a mutual understanding of what it is like to like with infamy. The second half is pretty intense with the danger from the mob, and before your imagination goes along the lines of them running away together, I would like to stop that train of thought and tell you that it has mostly to do with their fathers.
As for the characters, the first half is mostly character-driven, with a lot of characters being introduced and things being put into motion, while the second half has more drama, and relies heavily on the action. I found it a little too dramatic, though, but I forgive that for the not-so-cliche story. Among the boys, Nic was a bit irritating to be honest and I felt at times sparks might fly between Luca and Sophie instead. I don’t get the whole grey morals take, but this is a different genre (I honestly haven’t read any mob-based stories before) and hope that it rises above that in the next book.
Received a review copy through Edelweiss.