Ebook review: “The Good Daughter: A Mafia Story (Vista Security Origin)” By: Diana Layne
*Warning: spoilers below*
There are two couples at the center of this origin novel: Nia/Sandro and Marisa (daughter of Mafioso)/Dave (FBI agent). Nia and Sandro are married with one child (and another on the way), while Marisa and Dave seem to fulfill our need for a budding romance.
Pieces of Nia and Sandro’s courtship are told in flashbacks, which are juxtaposed against the story of Nia’s kidnapping by Marisa’s mafia family (in an attempt to get to Sandro) and our heroes/heroine’s attempts to save Nia. Prior to this kidnapping, Marisa decides to help the FBI gather evidence against her mafia family after witnessing many of her father and brother’s crimes.
The action and pacing in this novel weren’t too bad. Although this is an origin novel and therefore a part of a series (groan), I think it was mischaracterized as a “romance novel.”
The biggest reason why this is not my idea of a romance novel, is that in a flashback, we learn that Dave attempted to rape his childhood friend, Nia. During this scene Dave cannot be stopped, despite Nia fighting back, until his older brother happens upon them and stops the act. As a result of this flashback, I believe that FBI agent Dave is no longer a hero/protagonist.
The author’s inclusion of an attempted rape scene exposes a dark secret of the romance genre – the hero raping the heroine, commonly known as forced seduction. This does not happen in most romance novels anymore, but it does exist in many of the older, historical novels. Rape is not about drunken mistakes or about unrequited love (as the author seems to allude to in the scene with Nia and Dave), it is criminal and about the abuse of women. What is perhaps the most frightening of all, is that some reviewers of the ebook on Amazon refer to this scene as Dave simply “making a mistake,” or worse yet, they ignore the scene completely and declare that the author has created an excellent hero. I completely disagree. This event is catastrophic and terrible. FBI agent Dave is not a hero or a good guy, and quite frankly, is a character that I have lost interest in.
I generally dislike to give a completely negative review, but as a result of the author’s supposed “hero” attempting to rape someone, I rate this book as extremely disappointing and would not recommend it.