John + Siena, #1
Bethany Kris does an excellent job of weaving together a story that demonstrates the loyalty people have; to themselves, their family, the “family” in the mafia sense, your spouse, your partner, your friends. Yet what happens when that loyalty is turned on its head and instead is used as a weapon to control and manipulate? What if that loyalty is used as a tool for betrayal? And how do you know which is which?
John, out of prison after a three year stint, finds himself questioning those around him, people who say they support him, yet are constantly trying to control him. His familial relations are further strained when he begins dating Siena, the daughter of a family who are generations-long enemies.
Adding more complexity is John’s own battle with bipolar disorder. The need to balance medications and therapies is an ongoing juggling routine. There is no stopping for a break or quiet time. It’s relentless. And when he takes his eye off the proverbial ball, it can all come crashing down.
While I cannot vouch for the accuracy of the portrayal of bipolar in this book, I do feel the author has done a terrific job in describing John’s thoughts and actions as he tries to live with and control the disorder. I felt his lack of control, his confusion, his anger, his suspicions, his hyperactivity, his tiredness, his doubts, his uncertainties. Having to live like this every day feels exhausting and I was only reading a book!
I do think this book is somewhat more about John that it is about John and Siena, but that’s not to say there is no romance. John and Siena’s serendipitous meeting on a bus is the start of a relationship that brings with it both good and bad; they may be in love but behind them are families who have no lost love for each other. Let’s not forget the families, mafia families at that, people!
Loyalty was an intense read, but heavens, it was a fulfilling one. I can’t wait for book 2!