- File Size: 4539 KB
- Print Length: 367 pages
- Publication Date: July 14, 2018
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B07DYBNV6V
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #270,538 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
|Print List Price:||$16.99|
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Simple Faith (The Pagano Brothers Book 1) Kindle Edition
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* * * * * Spoiler Free
There are many big questions in life and all of us ponder on them at sometime or another. One of them can be How do I fit In...It can be asked regarding the family you are part of or the world around you. It is a question we may think of during many different times in our lives...And this is the theme, I feel, Susan Fanetti exposed beautifully in Simple Faith.
I have bonded like a little newborn to Fanetti's writing since Signal Bend. Her way of presenting questions, answers and questions again has struck a chord with me. She has never shied away from the difficult, the ugly or even the terrifying which can be part of any story she tells. It is with her ability to humanize everything, I think, which makes it so powerful.
Because with all that can be difficult and ugly, life also gives us the beautiful and sweet. These things can come at the oddest moments or the most expected. We just never know what may occur... we can hope and plan... we can work to make our goals a reality...but then there can be this one moment which seems to turn things on end...and we have to believe in our own Simple Faith, things will work themselves out...
Trey Pagano has been fighting an internal war since he was around 12 or 13. It seems he woke up one morning and the man he loved, thought of unabashedly as his best friend, somehow took the mantle of his enemy. He had no understanding as to why this happened... it just did and from that moment on, he and his father Carlo butted heads on everything. The only one who could manage a peace was his step-mom. She would be the go between and relay Trey's needs and fight for understanding with Carlo.
When Trey as a young man took to the other side of the pews, to his Cousin's Nick's side, that was his declaration of his intent. He had chosen to go to the "Dark Side" of the Pagano's. He chose them over the clean construction company his father ran. Trey knew this hurt his dad, but he felt like himself on Nick's side.
This chosen path was not the easiest for Trey. There were stressors abound. His cousin Nick had him learn by his side which was a jump over men who had been with Nick for years. Trey also was considered a Half Blood meaning he wasn't full Italian in heritage. In the Cosa Nostra tradition, only full Italian can become a made man...and only they have the full blessing from their Don. Yet Nick took Trey under his wing and it was a double edge sword for Trey. He worked to honor Nick and he had to deal with the resentment of Nick's men.
Now Don Pagano was an incredibly intelligent man. He had his legit businesses and also the other elements which were not. He understood all the angles and one of them was security... all types. He knew early on knowledge was power and he was clever to never allow anyone to be able to have it over him. In order for this to happen, he needed someone who would be able to protect his assets, not just physically but also electronically. When Nick discovered his long time, loyal accountant had a daughter who had the ability to do just that...protect his assets electronically and also decode other systems, he devised a plan. He would let everyone think it was the father who was the mastermind of his system thus protecting the real gem, Lara Dumas.
For Lara Dumas was someone very special. She had a mind that was like no other. She saw patterns in everything, could discern codes and keys to unlock the most difficult encryption. Her mind worked in this way as a protection, showing her order in everything. It was her touchstone, her way of coping, her way of living day by day. No surprises, nothing unexpected. Staying within her personal lines were what was needed for her to survive.
Because Lara's past was not pretty...and it became a nightmare no child should have endured. It took away her trust of people and things. She was saved by her uncle whom she thinks of as her father, he is the only one who knows her best.
Trey is called in to see his Don and has no idea why, he only knows whatever it is, he will do it. He is told a terrible thing has happened to Lara and he is to take her away from her home and hide her until revenge is achieved. It is explained minimally, she is a bit different and to handle her with care. He is told her father will inform him of more details when he gets to their home.
Trey is told of how Lara was in a state when her father informed her she was leaving the house to go into hiding. Order and sameness was her way of holding on to her fragile existence. When that is shattered, Lara breaks and cannot hold on...Due to this, the father has sedated her and expects Trey to take her to the safe house that way. Trey is not happy with this as he knows Lara was just taken like that by the men who had hurt her. He does not want her to experience waking up again the same way and thinking she is in danger. But this is what he is presented with and it is what it is.
When Lara wakes, she is disoriented and has a killer headache besides all of her other issues. Her mind is racing and trying desperately to find some type of order to cling to...Trey approaches Lara with caution and care, slowly letting her know he is not a threat and she is safe with him in this cabin. He answers her questions, keys into how her mind processes things and works to make everything good for her.
It is during this period of isolation, of just the two of them, where both Lara and Trey begin to reveal themselves as never before. Each share deeper meanings and thoughts out loud. Each start to feel a sense of belonging to each other, a sense of rightness and it is as foreign to Trey as it is to Lara.
This is a true love story with unusual circumstances. Both of these characters seem so different, yet when they are stripped down to their essence, they connect in a way which seems predestined. I loved Trey with Lara, he saw her strength from the start. He was able to see past the obstacles and looked into this woman's soul. Lara was able to see him as true and honest, someone she was able to trust fully, able to believe in...
We also are given more of Nick Pagano and Carlos Pagano...two men on opposite sides of the pews but of the same family. These men were extremely powerful in their own books and it is natural to have them in this one. Nick is a man who takes over a page and the basis of this series diving deeper into the "dark side" of the Pagano Brothers is something expected.
Oh, this story.... It covers so much. It covers what to believe in, how to understand who we are for our own good and how to understand who we are in the way we relate to others. It is a story of family and how finding our way in one is not always the easiest. How both parent and child need to grow and accept each other as they are... and not force the wants onto the child. How communication is difficult even in the best of circumstances but necessary. And most of all how love is the bridge to everything.
This is the first Pagano Brother's series book. Oh, how I want Ben's book. I sense Ben's waters run very deep and have been hiding much from his family. I am hoping this is the case, Ms. Fanetti. I will be on Pagano Brothers watch from now on.
Well, once again, I'm proven wrong - this book is SUPERB!!!!! This is one of those books where the prose is so beautifully written that you don't want to read the book fast, you try to read it as slowly as possible just to savor it. When I love a book, I "talk" back to the book by writing lots of notes while I'm reading it, and I wrote A LOT of notes for this book.
Susan excels at writing characters who suffer from mental illness/emotional disorders, but she picks disorders that most people probably are unfamiliar with (Manny had reactive attachment disorder) or she has characters with more familiar problems (Joey's PTSD) but she paints a really full picture of what it's like to live with the disorder from the perspective of the person living with the disorder but also how it affects the family of the loved one with the disorder. I am a mental health professional and I don't think there is a writer in any genre who captures the lived experience of persons suffering from mental health challenges and how it affects families better than Susan.
In the case of this book, the person with the challenges is Lara Dumas. Lara suffers from debilitating OCD and probably PTSD; her mom had Munchausen's by Proxy and really wreaked havoc on Lara's ability to trust, particularly to trust women. She is also brilliant and works for Nick decoding encrypted messages. In the beginning of the book, she is brutally attacked and Nick assigns Trey with the task of taking her away and keeping her safe until the threat is taken care of. Their time away in a cabin in West Virginia is the beginning of the slow process of them taking the risk to fall in love; they actually fall in love pretty quickly but it takes a while for them to get to the point where they can express this to each other.
What's to love about this book; where to begin? As I said earlier, the prose is exquisite. Then, there's the way that Trey just accepts and loves Lara for who she is, and that's quite a challenge because while she is a powerhouse intellectually, she has lost a lot of ground in her emotional development because of what she went thru with her mother. When you read about how Lara experiences the world, you feel like you're inside her skin, you're inside her mind, so you experience the world the way that she does; this is such a rare gift and Susan captures this lived experience of persons with mental health challenges with a level of detail and respect for the person with the challenges in ways that are unparallel; she is not asking you to pity the person but to have compassion for them. They're not crazy, they're different. The men in the Pagano have one trait in common: they love their women, challenges and all. They don't ask them to change, they love them for who they are, not in spite of who they are. The women are also not what you would typically call beautiful; in Lara's case, she has such a distrust of food because her mother poisoned her so much as a child that she is woefully thin, and yet Trey sees her beautiful inside her frail body. Watching them engage in the "dance of love" is so sweet!!!!! The other subplot, which is very important is watching Trey come to terms with whom he is and watching how this affects his relationship with his father and with Nick. The metaphor of how the Paganos go to Mass each Sunday but sit on opposite sides of the church is a powerful metaphor of the ties that both strain and bind the family together.
I could on and on about this tender love story, but I will end by saying this is one of the best books I've read in 2018, Trey and Lara are almost my favorite couple of all time for Susan's books but my heart still belongs to Isaac and Lillie in the South Bend series. I can't wait until I read Donnie's story (YES!!!!)