★ ★ ★ ★ ★
FANETTI FOR THE WIN
I was holding out on reading this book because it’s the only Susan Fanetti book I hadn’t read yet. When it was released I was in the middle of another series and by the time my schedule cleared up the next book happened to be out so I just skipped this one and went straight into ‘Deep.’ In the back of my mind it was comforting knowing I had one more Fanetti book I still needed to read. Now, that I’ve finished this book I have to wait until she releases her next book in June to read more books by her.
Carmen is a tough one to love. I knew from the two previous books that Carmen is an acquired taste. She is b*tchy and resentful. Wow, even writing that makes me feel bad because we know from the other two books why she has this hard outer shell; she gave up her life to come back and raise her two younger siblings after their mother died. Her father giving her eldest brother the family home, they grew up in, was the icing on the cake for Carmen’s pity party. But here’s the thing Theo doesn’t see her the same way…he sees her as a woman who is afraid.”You’re afraid of letting your family down. You’re afraid of living your life on your terms. You’re afraid to let yourself be happy. And you’re afraid to let yourself love. You’re afraid of all of it. I see it every day, in everything you do.”
What a man, what a man, what a man, what a mighty good man. Remember that song from Salt ‘n’ Pepa? That pretty much sums up Theo…. he’s a good man; widower, father, poet, and professor. ’His job was to reach into people’s heads and draw pictures on their brains.’ I love that description so much because it is exactly what Ms. Fanetti does with her stories.
The underlying plot of moving on was subtle but profound. Theo is a widower who has been given another chance at love. For Carmen Theo is her one and only great love but she’s not his “only.” Her insecurities about competing for his love with his deceased wife shone bright, as mine would too if I was in her shoes. Theo’s words to her are from The Great Gatsby: ”There are all kinds of love in the world, but never the same love twice.” I agree with that statement that each love is unique.
The Pagano family and Wilde family are both a compassionate clan. Theo’s grown sons added a lot of depth to the story. The way they supported their dad was endearing. I love that they never once tried to make their dad feel anything but their love and support about finding someone to share his life with now that their mother has passed away (5 years prior).
I’ve always been a big fan of the Pagano family, all the siblings and their father make me wish I wasn’t an only child. The moments Carmen spent with her father getting his advice brought me to tears. Of course, I can’t forget the times Carmen had heart-to-hearts with her eldest brother, Carlo. They made me envious of their relationship. Growing up I wanted an older brother to look up to and Carmen is blessed to have that with Carlo.
Rooted planted itself deep in my soul and endeared me to this couples love story. The story felt like it had many special connections to the author since Theo is a writer. I loved getting to see a little bit of author when I would read about Theo and his thought process. I wasn’t sure what to expect with this story because Carmen holds everyone at arm’s length but after reading it it has become another FANETTI FAVORITE of mine.
”Love is not disposable. It’s something you fight for. It’s something you cling to even when literally every other possible choice would be easier.” -Jordan (Theo’s youngest son)
Meet the Pagano family:
Carlo, Sr: baby brother to Ben and Lorrie. Ben is the Don of the family; Lorrie is his right hand. He decided not to follow in his brothers’ footsteps and instead stay on the right side of the law. Widower. Father to 6 adult children.
Carlo, Jr: (38 years old) responsible. Provider and family man. Does what was expected of him. Single dad.
♥♥Trey♥♥: (3 years old) Carlo’s son. Abandoned by his mother.
Carmen: (37 years old) a landscape designer, free spirit, big dreamer.
Luca: (35 years old) rebel, the black sheep. Wrong side of their father. Rogue.
John: (mid 20’s) quiet brooder. Quiet and sweet.
Joey: (20ish years old) goofball, the fun one, youthfully bold.
Rosa: (20 years old) spoiled, pampered baby princess of the family
Nick: (45 years old) only child to Lorrie. In control at all times, powerful, mysterious and aloof.
Continuing story where secondary characters from the first book become the main focus in subsequent books.