By Cora Kenborn
Let me start by saying I’m not biased.
Okay, I’m biased. But I didn’t start off being biased. I started out reading K.A. Ware’s books as a reader. Kindle told me I’d probably like her DeLuca Family novel, Omertà, since I tend to be obsessed with the mafia romance genre. I shrugged, one-clicked, and took a chance.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Omertà became one of my favorite books of all time. I stalked K.A. Ware, and (although she might tell this story a little differently) she had no choice in becoming my friend at that point. It was fate. It was destiny. It was me sending her eighteen emails a day until we were BFFs.
But, this review isn’t about Omertà—although if you haven’t read it, you need to run to your Kindle RIGHT NOW and one-click that shit.
Done? You’re welcome. So, let’s talk Notorious. This is the prequel to Omertà. It’s the novella to end all novellas. In Omertà, we read all about Carlo, but not much is told about his father, Vincenzo, and the story of what exactly happened to this so-called-monster.
In Notorious, K.A. Ware takes us back in time, to another place. Literally, to another place…Sicily to be exact—the scene of the crime. I’m not talking an actual crime of violence, but a crime of passion that would later lead to unfathomable choices and consequences that would ruin and end lives, changing the course of destiny for multiple people.
Vincenzo DeLuca is the heir to the DeLuca family throne. As a young man in Sicily, he never should have fallen for the housekeeper’s daughter. But something about Elena called to him on a deeper level. Her beauty, her demure nature—Vincenzo fell hard and no matter what he did, he couldn’t get Elena out of his head. Likewise, Vincenzo’s magnetism and charm overwhelmed the innocent Elena and as much as she tried to obey the rules of the house and of her mother, Elena found herself sneaking away to see her forbidden love. Theirs was a love that was never meant to be, set on a path of destruction.
As customary with old world mafia families, Vincenzo’s father arranged a marriage with another family to mend relations between the two organizations. Bound by a code to his family, Vincenzo’s heart blackened the day he was forced to marry another while the love of his life watched.
Notorious tells the tale of the hold Vincenzo DeLuca keeps on Elena throughout multiple decades and continents. It’s told through a dual POV, alternating between Vincenzo and Elena’s voices. K.A. Ware does an incredible job, as usual, making the reader feel as if they are immersed in the high stakes and dangerous world of organized crime, and the gradual transformation of Vincenzo into a ruthless monster is chilling.
The reader’s heart breaks for Elena as she lives in exile along-side the man she fell in love with as a young girl and remains trapped under his long reaching arm as a mature woman. The events in Ware’s full length novel, Omertà make more sense now that I have read Notorious. Vincenzo’s son Carlo’s actions and reasoning resonate with me on a deeper level now that I understand the hell he lived in as a young child. His dynamic with Elena is one that I must go back and read in Omertà now that I have a more definitive understanding of their relationship.
I have always been a fan of Ware’s style of writing. It is fast-paced, concise and imaginative. She immerses the reader into her masterful world building and leaves us feeling as if there are no more emotions to be felt. Every single one has been twisted, chewed up and spit out.
When you finish a book with a smile on your face AND a tear in your eye, you know an author has done something right.
K.A. Ware did that with Notorious. The epilogue is one that will live in infamy for me for a long time to come.
Plus? Angelo is in it. Anything with Angelo gets my vote.
Hands off ladies.
The boy is mine