I remember watching the Leonardo DiCaprio version of Romeo and Juliet and thinking it was really weird that they were in rival gangs (I’m more of a Zeffirelli girl, myself). But this is kinda what Kristifer Ann‘s new book is like! The House of Marchetti takes this powerful mob boss and a small-town girl from Colorado and thrusts them into a passionate, and dangerous romance.
(Ooh, and if you’re curious, here’s a link to my vlog!)
I feel like I have to start by doing my due diligence as this was something I first noticed while reading this really interesting book. As Kristifer Ann’s name on Twitter suggests, she’s still editing, so if you scurry on to her website right now to start reading, you’ll find that while the story is fully fleshed out, the characters are completely developed, the structure is still being finalized.
For example, Ann uses a shift in focalization, which means that while sometimes descriptions are more from Lucan’s (the mob boss) perspective, while other descriptions are more from Jack’s (the cute coffee owner, it’s short for Jaclyn). But there are times where the third person narration slips into first person–which totally makes sense because Ann does an excellent job of diving into the characters’ psyches and sometimes the best way to do that is from their own perspective.
Enough on that though–let’s get to the story!
Jack, or Jaclyn, is a coffee shop owner from Bishop, Colorado–as a Coloradan, this was very exciting for me–who, for the past year has seen this dark, seemingly powerful, definitely charismatic Italian guy stop in her shop every couple of weeks. Her friend Mayson finally convinces Jack to introduce herself…and this changes her WORLD.
Little did we know, Lucan is completely infatuated with Jack, it’s the kind of passion that might, kind of, borderline on obsession… or maybe it’s just because (as it’s pointed out) he’s not used to people saying “no” to him. And even though Jack is, without a doubt, just as interested, she doesn’t need him. She’s well off, she loves her job, she has a good crew, really, the only thing she’s missing is romance. But man alive, does she find it with Lucan.
He whisks her away to Las Vegas, against the recommendations from his own crew, to treat his girl (who he’s only really known for about a week) and in doing so, sets off this domino effect of distrust and destruction, which is perfect for setting up the next book! (I’m actually really excited!)
So, great things about the book–it was interesting, it was like Romeo and Juliet meet The Godfather. At first, despite my interest, I was a little nervous it’d be kinda like Twilight obsession or 50 Shades drama, but it wasn’t. It was super unique, and I thought it’s really well thought out.
Also, I loved the characters. It’s hard for me to pick one favorite because they’re all so cool in their own ways–Lucan’s dark, but secretly very sweet and complex; Jack is a wonderful little source of surprises (and I thought it was funny and also great how well Ann brought back her love of cooking throughout the book… like that’s Jack’s thing). Even the side characters like Marco, Angelo, and Frankie (even though he can be kind of a jerk) were great–they were stereotypical henchmen but with their own personalities and I loved the way they interacted with each other. I would’ve loved to see more of Mayson and Vinny, but eh, sometimes you don’t get the deep dive into the side characters–but I’d definitely read it!
As for things that might turn you off: there’s a lot of swearing, so if f-bombs make you a little squeemish, take your dramamine or something because there’s just a lot. But it makes sense. It’s not like characters are dropping one every other word, but in the world of the mob where there are a lot of tough guys, it seems realistic that they’d be really intense, even with their language. On that note, there’s this character Sophia, who did Lucan dirty, so he doesn’t think all that highly of her. I know some people have a problem with degrading language for women, so heads up, there are some of those too.
Additionally, once Lucan and Jack become comfortable with each other, there’s kind of a lot of sex. This personally didn’t bother me, but I think between the sex and the swearing, this would be an “R-rated” narrative. Just saying…
Overall though, I really enjoyed this story and am beyond excited to see the final product as well as the next installment.