— BLURB —
My life’s a tale of betrayal.
I killed so many because they betrayed our cause, because they betrayed the Outfit.
A hypocrite. A liar. A murderer.
That’s what I am.
Five times I betrayed the Outfit. With my blood I made a vow to our cause, swore my life to it, promised to put the Outfit first. Above all else.
Five times I chose a woman over the good of the Outfit. I betrayed my father. My vow. My men.
You reap what you sow.
Would my betrayal destroy everything I swore to protect?
On our wedding day I made a vow to stand by Dante’s side.
In good and in bad times.
To love him through it all.
Growing up in the mafia, I knew the challenges in our life would be numerous. I never expected them to tear at the very base of our family, of our existence.
— MY REVIEW —
Dammit! 👏👏👏 Well played, Cora. Well played.
You’ve officially gotten me… or should I say you’ve finally gotten me to like Dante! 😋
When I first read Bound by Duty back in 2016, Dante Cavallaro wasn’t my favourite protagonist. But don’t get me wrong.. I didn’t hate the guy, to me he was just… meh, okay. From my perspective, he definitely lived up to the Iceman image. When other fans swooned over him I always (silently, mind you–didn’t need my head getting bitten off) thought “hmm…was I missing something?” or “What did they see in him that I sure as hell couldn’t??” — things like that.
Now fast forward to 2020, and I fiiiiiiiiinally see it! *cue the harp*
Before I move along with my review I’m adding Cora’s disclaimer first. With the release coming soon, I want to make sure you guys are up to date and that when you read on, my review will (kinda, sorta) make sense to you. I’ll try to keep the rambling to a minimum. 😉
This book isn’t a standalone. You should read (at least) Bound by Duty before starting Bound by the Past. It is, however, recommended that you read Bound by Honor, Bound by Duty, Bound by Hatred, Bound by Temptation and Bound by Love, as well as Twisted Loyalties and Twisted Pride in advance because this book entails spoilers for all of the aforementioned books.
Okay. Now that we’ve gotten that out the way…
Let’s start with the reason as to why I am now pro Dante, shall we?
Carla made me like Dante. I’m pretty sure she was the missing link that I needed in order to see Dante in a whole different light. I could be completely wrong, but I can’t help think Cora included Dante’s life pre-Valentina especially for us skeptical readers (I can’t be the only one who wasn’t as big a fan of Dante) to better understand his demeanor both publicly and privately.
Similar to Bound by Love where it was from Luca’s point of view, Bound by the Past is from Dante’s — at least for the first part, then it becomes dual POVs between himself and Val. The story is also told from different years of Dante’s life starting from when he was a teenager.
But that first part where it was only Dante’s POV was where he won me over. Just. Like. That! This book (and I’m saying this because it’s how I personally felt) redeemed him in my eyes. The Iceman thawed a little, and the second he started opening up, I started to really invest in his life.
This book is not only much anticipated but in my opinion necessary, especially for readers, like myself who were on the fence about Dante. I guarantee, you will come away from reading it at least understanding him better and his reasoning behind everything that occurred.
His backstory was easily one of the highlights for me. I’m not gonna lie — I teared up 10% into the book. I wasn’t expecting it but Cora’s known to keep you on your toes, so I rolled with the punches. Getting to know more about his life, his family dynamics and his marriage with Carla before everything that happened in Bound by Duty and onward made his world-building and Cora’s entire mafia world even more detailed than it already was.
I seriously didn’t think I would learn anything new about Dante that’ll have me turn on my axis but after reading this one… *phew* I feel like I need to be laying down, stare at my ceiling and just contemplate life.
The Iceman may just have the biggest heart of all!
If anything, he’s more human than the other Capos. And seeing that certainly had it’s pros and cons. I can picture it now, BBTP will have so many readers’ minds ticking. The results from his actions both past and present is bound to have people questioning, second-guessing, debating, and perhaps even have cause for concern at what it would mean for the future.
So much character growth since Bound by Duty. Dante has portrayed such a cool, calm demeanor not only within the world he’s in but to the reader reading his story. Yet there was so much going on behind the scenes in his life, at least half the things that were revealed in this book I never would’ve expected! It’s heartbreaking.
Without a doubt, Bound by the Past is about sacrifices, betrayal, and secrets. No matter how much of the mob business was kept away from their personal lives and vice a versa, they both eventually bled into one another. Whether you’re a fan of Dante or not, it’ll be hard not to feel bad for the guy in this one. He’s stuck between a rock and a hard place one too many times and you can’t help but feel helpless right along with him.
Thank goodness for the all the sweet sentimental moments in between. Like Cora’s previous books, there was a nice balance of light and shade within each of her scenes. And if all fails — the saucy scenes in this one were turned up a notch! 🔥
“It was strange to think that one of the happiest moments of my life followed so closely after an act of war. Maybe it was a reminder that I needed to focus on the good in my life, even if evil would always be my closest companion.”
Then there’s the array of secondary characters that either have been introduced or developed further, which added layers upon layers of side stories and endless possibilities.
Hey, Flamingo Squad! Remember all those times Cora asked questions and had polls on what we would like to see in her future books? If you don’t. No worries because that’s all about to come flooding back whilst reading BBTP. If I could share spoilers right here, right now, you would be seeing a relatively long list! But since I can’t, I’ll just say this — those who are wondering about certain characters, certain couplings, certain stories, you’re queries may just be answered in this book! I know a couple of mine were….but oh man… I was still surprised by a some!
(P.S. Join the Facebook group if you haven’t already → Cora’s Flamingo Squad)
Another exciting highlight I have to mention are certain introductions Cora has included in this book and directions she’s hinted at for future books. I’ve never been one to complain about the lack of, or seek diversity in my reads. If it’s there — great! If not, no biggie. And considering Cora writes mafia romances, there’s only so many cultures and ethnic diversity that can be included. I’m not going to mention the ethnicity of the character that was introduced in this series, but I want to thank Cora for broadening her world to include it. I feel like her fictional world has just expanded tenfold with the additions and various plots she’s incorporated into her original story arc.
Bound by the Past is probably one of my favourable books she’s written in the sense that it was clever writing, and her chosen format was easy to follow. Cora has managed to bind the Born in Blood and the Camorra Chronicles stories and timelines together seamlessly.
Whichever book (whether it’s from BiB or the Camorra Chronicles), Cora has managed to make me see their side of the story and feel for those characters. It’s remarkable how seeing both sides of a story can easily sway your judgment. Just when you think you prefer one territory over another.. Sigh. It’s honestly a losing battle.
- I saw a different side to Dante in this book.
- I saw more from crazy-psycho Remo (which BTW I could’ve lived without lol).
- There’s characters in here that may be minor now but will eventually play bigger roles that I can’t wait to see in the future.. *ahem ahem* Samuel. Danilo. Orazio. Oh my. I could go on but I… eeeeep… I can’t! 😭🙈
- And there’s so much insight to Dante’s family — and I don’t just mean with Val and their children. I’m talking about the Miones too! SO MUCH! SO SO MUCH!!
As this is considered the last book in the BIB series with an anthology and a series of standalone books set in the same world in the works, this story ties everything that’s happened from past to present fairly well. There’s highs and lows. Things I agreed with and some things not so much. But I’ve been in this situation before and knowing Cora, she’ll be able to easily persuade me later on. I mean, she is Queen. Her word is law. 😉😉
An overall satisfying conclusion to Dante’s story. It’s a must read. For fans of her series and for mafia romance lovers alike. Nothing but contentment here!
Thank you so much to Cora Reilly (and Emily Alice) for the opportunity to read and review an advanced copy! ❤
Cora’s playlist for Bound By The Past!
L I S T E N N O W
Thanks for reading my review! Happy reading and as always, catch you in my next one! Xo