A slice-of-life account of a woman who falls in love with a gangster.
WHAT’S THE BOOK ABOUT
Single mother Francesca is struggling to get by when an act of desperation leads to her owing a debt to notorious gangland boss, Tony Lambrianu. Tony has his own troubles – a change of image from playboy to respectable married man is needed to further his criminal career. He has women falling at his feet, but none he wants to make his wife. As Francesca is drawn deeper into the dark underworld dealings of Tony and his associates, she has to make alliances of her own to survive. And she’ll do whatever it takes to protect her small son. This is a roller coaster ride of high stakes, dirty tricks, loyalty and love. Strap in – it’s a hell of a trip!
Summary copied from Goodreads
WHY YOU SHOULD READ THIS BOOK
Gillian Godden’s Francesca is a slice-of-life account of a woman who falls in love with a gangster.
Tony is a gangland boss who needs to change his image from a playboy to a respectable married man. Francesca is a single mother working hard to meet ends. Due to an act of desperation, she ends up owing money to Tony. What does destiny have in store for them?
Francesca starts on a great note and maintains a brisk pace for the first two hundred pages. These many pages make up a novella, however, Godden’s characters have a lot to say and live through; hence, strap in your buckles and get ready for a lengthy trip.
Getting to know the criminal underworld up close made for a riveting read. Add to this romance between Tony and Francesca, it becomes even more engrossing. Further, Godden provides a detailed backstory of every character present in this book. This coupled with the realistic dialogues makes Francesca a character-driven story. Moreover, despite being a part of a series, I had no difficulty in enjoying this book.
The romance between Tony and Francesca was slow-burn and passionate. I enjoyed their interactions with each other. However, Francesca is not the story of just one couple; it is the story of three couples—Tony and Francesca, Jake and Sharon, and Ralph and Julie. Thus, the story of what happened between each couple as they retired to their personal lives once tending to their crime syndicate was over made for an engaging read.
However, I do have quibbles with the book. Godden unnecessarily drags out the story by including descriptions of the everyday routines of every character over twelve months, barring a few weeks. As a result, I found myself skimming a good number of paragraphs.
Additionally, Tony and Francesca were two stubborn individuals. The length of the novel (five hundred pages approx.) made them appear even more stubborn.
Francesca has low self-esteem. She does not believe she deserves happiness. This causes her to make stupid decisions, one of them is trying not to know her husband and believing his façade. Tony, on the other hand, is a stubborn mule. He, too, believes Francesca’s lies that she does not love him. All these misunderstandings originate because none of them communicate with each other.
I was frustrated to see Tony and Francesca repeat the same mistakes. It is only towards the end they reconcile (yay, happy ending!) and put an end to my frustration.
The romance in this novel considerably softens the dour tones of the criminal underworld that it showcases. Overall, I enjoyed the story. If it had been a couple of pages shorter, I would have enjoyed it more.
If you love to read crime fiction where a heavy dose of romance and happy endings takes the edge off the bleakness, you will like Francesca by Gillian Godden.
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Many thanks to Kelly@Love Books Tours for inviting me to this blog tour. Many thanks to the publisher for my copy of the book. This does not affect my opinion on the book. I opted to provide an honest review on my blog.
My name is Gillian Godden an Indie author and a full time NHS Key worker at a local inner city medical centre in East Hull, East Yorkshire, England. My patients come from all sectors of society and no two days are ever the same. When I come home I like to wind down and writing is my escape from the mental stresses of my day. My job is not a 9 to 5 job and I work to support my patients when they need me so my days can be long.
On a more personal note , I grew up in a large family and am the youngest of 7 siblings. Over the years we have lost touch as life moves on. I lived in London for over 30 years and during this time I worked in various London stripper pubs and venues. I have a grown up son who now lives and works in London as a hematology lab technician. He has been working on the Covid 19 testing and this has been a worrying time for us as a family.
Once he left for University 5 years ago I had more time on my hands I was encouraged to write a short story by a local library book competition. First prize was a P&O cruise and 2nd prize was £50, I lost to a pigeon fancier and an addicted crocheter.
My NHS colleagues supported my writing and encouraged me to continue to write, however being a little green and naive I went with a Vanity publisher, much to my cost. This experience did give me a platform to showcase my first book Francesca on Amazon and in the online book clubs. I was totally over whelmed by the response and people messaged me via social media wanting to know more about the characters and how Tony Lambrianu grew up and became so successful in the London Gangland crime world.
To answer their questions I went backwards in time and wrote Dangerous Games and Nasty Business. These also were successfully received by my now increasing readership, so in order to complete the series I wrote Dirty Dealings.
Twitter handle: @GGodden