Thursday, March 23, 2023

Book Review: Loyalty by Lisa Scottoline

Pages: 480
Genre: Adult Historical Fiction
Pub. Date: March 28, 2023
Publisher: G.P. Putnam
Source: Publisher for review
Other Books By Author: Eternal
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars 

Goodreads says, "Franco Fiorvante is a handsome lemon-grower who has toiled for years on the estate of boss Baron Zito. Franco dreams of owning his own lemon grove, but the rigid class system of Sicily thwarts his ambitions. Determined to secure a prosperous future, Franco will do anything to prove his loyalty to the Baron. But when Baron Zito asks him to arrange the kidnapping of a little boy, Franco crosses the point of no return, setting in motion the making of the world’s first Mafia family. Gaetano Catalano is an idealistic young lawyer, whose devotion for justice is a calling. Gaetano is a member of the Beati Paoli, a real-life secret society of aristocrats who investigate crime, since corruption riddles Palermo. Gaetano and the Beati Paoli set out to find the boy and bring him home, but for Gaetano, the mission turns to obsession. He risks everything to right the wrong and bring justice to his beloved city. The kidnapped boy, Dante, grows up in a madhouse without even knowing his last name. He doubts his own sanity until he meets Lucia, a girl with a tragic past of her own. They fall in love, then set out to find Dante’s kidnapper and learn his true identity."




Scottoline has put together quite the cast of characters in her latest historical novel. There's Dante, a young boy, who gets abducted during a festival. He is thrown into the Ospizio di Santa Teresa, a horrible asylum.  Local lawyer, Gaetano, employs a group of people to search for this poor boy; he wants justice. Meanwhile, there's a lemon farmer, Franco, who has many plans for himself. Currently, he works for Baron Zito, but wants a plot of his own land one day. He feels the only want to get ahead is to play the Baron's games and he is behind the kidnapping of Dante. He will do whatever it takes to get ahead and even organizes a crime group, which is, essentially, the origin of the mafia. Then there's Alfredo, a cheese maker, who is hiding a secret. There's Mafalda, who gives birth to an albino baby, and then is consequently shunned by her family and community. In order to save her daughter, Lucia, she must leave her family behind. Clearly, there are many subplots in Loyalty by Lisa Scottoline, but slowly she weaves the story together and brings all these unlikely characters together for quite the climax. Loyalty is perfect for fans of historical fiction who enjoy a dash of crime fiction in their historical tales.

To be honest with you, there were so many characters, I had a hard time keeping them straight in Loyalty. I really needed to write down their names and a small description, because I found myself going back to get reacquainted and getting confused as to who was the lawyer, which one was the cheese maker, etc. Once I got myself sorted, I was able to enjoy the plot a bit more. So be forewarned! I trusted Scottoline's process in that I knew she would tie these character's stories together and she definitely did by the climax.

Loyalty examines the birth of the mafia, so there's a lot of violence, crimes, and people seeking justice. There's also nice moments of community and friendship. The story was a bit sadder than I expected, but I found the Sicilian culture so interesting. Which leads me to the setting, which is my favorite aspect of the story. Scottoline spent some time on Sicily before writing the novel and it shows. She brought the food, the culture, the land, and the people to life so well. 

If you love a good sweeping saga with a beautiful setting mixed in with some crime fiction, you will loved to be lost in Scottoline's world. While I enjoyed Scottoline's Eternal a bit more, I was still entirely captivated by this tale. So, are you a fan of Scottoline? Do you plan on reading Loyalty? Let me know in the comments below. 




  1. This does sound like it has a lot going on, but you can't go wrong with a setting in Italy!

    1. That was definitely my favorite aspect of the novel. It made me want to travel to Sicily! Thanks for visiting, Angela!


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