I liked The Good Daughter: A Mafia Story by Diana Layne, a little in spite of itself. That’s the only way I can describe it. I was tempted to say “I didn’t mind this book” but that’s a bit too passive. There were definitely things about the book I liked and definitely things I didn’t like.
Marisa, the female lead, is the daughter of a mob boss. She is determined to take down her family, possibly kill her father and do whatever it takes to get away from this life. She is trying to help save her friend Sandro from her father’s wrath without giving away to her family that she’s working against them. Her father, Carlo, is pretty much the standard mob boss stereotypical type, and her brother, Massimo, is the typical completely evil, do-whatever-he-wants-no-one-stands-in-my-way kind of character. The bad guys in this book were completely flat, in my opinion, though the main characters weren’t that much more fleshed out, either.
As a story line, I can see where the kind of life that Marisa has lived and abuse she’s had to deal with (as described in the book), along with the killing of the man she loved back in Italy, could lead her to where she’s at. Growing up in a mob family, obviously she wouldn’t mind doing some things that aren’t legal. That (again, obviously) couldn’t sit well with the male lead, Dave, who is your standard FBI agent. As it says in the description, he sees things in black and white, right and wrong. Being attracted to someone like Marisa would be confusing for him.
I think this was supposed to be a romance book. As for romance, though, it fell a little short. There wasn’t that much romance in it. The only scene in it that was at all steamy didn’t quite fit into the book, I didn’t think. If it was meant to be some kind of irresistible attraction kind of thing, I didn’t feel it.
Personally, I liked the supporting characters the best. Nia (who was actually the love of Dave’s life in their past) was a mom whose family was threatened, and I liked her character. Though I have no actual reference to someone like Sandro (Nia’s husband) in my life, I liked him too. He is an Italian soccer (a.k.a. football) player who fell in love with Nia and knew, from their first meeting, that she was the one for him. He was completely self-assured about it, which usually means I’m not going to like the guy, but he wasn’t annoying or egotistical about it. Layne did a good job with that. Their back story, told randomly through the book, was the actual romance in this book.
The end of this book surprised me. It wasn’t an unhappy ending, but it wasn’t a happy ending, either. I’m not one to try and figure out the endings of books normally, but in retrospect I don’t know how else she could have ended it. Love can’t conquer everything. That’s all I’m going to say about how it ends, so I don’t have to issue a spoiler alert. We don’t like to think that love isn’t the end-all-be-all of things to strive for, but in real life, it’s true. I liked that about this book. It was a bit more real, and that made it better.