About the Book:
It’s the summer of 1978, and Samantha Bonti is fifteen years old, half Jewish and half Italian, and hesitantly edging toward pure Brooklyn, even if her dreams of something more are bigger than the neighborhood girls’ teased hair. She lives in Bensonhurst with her mother, Joan, a woman abandoned and scarred in a ruinous marriage, poisoned with cynicism, and shackled by addictions; and with her Grandma Ruth, Samantha’s loudest and most opinionated source of encouragement. As flawed as they are, they are family.
Samantha’s best friend is Janice Caputo, a girl who understands, as well as Samantha does, this close-knit community of ancestors and traditions that stand like roadblocks, this insular overcrowded little world of controlling mobsters who mold their women like Jell-O; and of the wannabes, the charismatic young guys who are willing to engage in anything illegal to get a shot at playing with the big boys. Yet, Samantha has something Janice doesn’t—a desire to become a writer and to escape the destiny that is assumed for all of them in the outer reaches of Bensonhurst. And it’s to be had just across the Brooklyn Bridge.
Then comes Tony Kroon.
Older than Samantha, Tony is a blonde-haired, blue-eyed, half-Sicilian, half-Dutch mobster wannabe. A Bensonhurst Adonis. Taken in by his adoring attention, and empathetic to Tony’s own struggles with identity, Samantha is falling in love, even when she’s warned never to ask imprudent questions of Tony’s life. Even when her family and friends warn her to stay away. Even when Samantha knows she’s too smart to fall this deep . . . but the last thing she wants is the first thing to happen. Unable to resist Tony’s seductive charms, Samantha soon finds herself swallowed up by dangerous circumstances that threaten to jeopardize more than her dreams. Grandma Ruth’s advice: Samantha had better write herself out this story and into a new one, fast.
Told from the adult perspective, this is a powerful, true-to-life novel of leaving the past to history and the future to fate—of restoring hope where there was none, and reaching for dreams in an inspiring promise of paradise called Manhattan.
About the Author:
Suzanne is the author of two feature film screenplays, which are based on her novels. Brooklyn Story, a young woman’s coming of age tale (Simon&Schuster Jan 2011) and RoughCuts; The Trilogy. A fast-paced, romantic suspense story set against the backdrop of the diamond business. She has also penned other screenplays, such as A Simple Road and Gary Granite. Suzanne has also produced for the New York and London stages the critically acclaimed Roman Nights, about screen legend Anna Magnani and playwright Tennessee Williams. Suzanne has produced two documentaries; Indonesia, A Personal Journey and HEAR THEM ROAR, shot entirely at the Endangered Animal Rescue Sanctuary in Citra, Florida. Narrated by Lorraine Bracco. This documentary was the foundation that inspired her children’s book Sammy & Sue™ Go Green Too!, (Beaufort Books Apr 2009) an eco-friendly, environmentally educational book of this mother/daughter explorer team, geared for 5 yrs and older.
Currently, she is working on the sequel to Brooklyn Story.
Well, how do I start off this review? It’s not a bad book. Let’s start with that. It’s different. This is a book about a time of poverty, and of longing for an escape to a better life. A book about mobs and gangsters. Definitely not the style of book that I would normally pick. But, as always, I feel every book deserves a chance, and then an opinion formed.
This book is wonderfully researched. The depth of the story lies in the way the author created a real to life feel to the story. A time period during which a mobster has a woman and he controls her, even abuses her. VERY emotional on that end. The characters are as deep and complex as the plot, created a gripping novel.
So, in conclusion, while not a terrible book, it is still not my favorite. There were some things about the book, like it’s not my style of plot and the abusive situations weren’t my favorite, but over all, it is one that I would suggest you try. It’s deserving of 4 stars for the complexity and the depth the author uses. I will be looking for other books by this author in the future to see what other talent she holds.
You can purchase your copy here.
*This book was provided for review by Simon&Schuster*