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Review of "Mafia Chic" by Erica Orloff

Over the last few days, I have been in somewhat of a reading slump, preferring to watch old episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (currently watching listening to Gingerbread from season 3) on Netflix (says the girl that is tired of vampire themed romances) than reading.  Yesterday, while scouring the library's e-book site, I found Mafia Chic by Erica Orloff and it looked just cheesy enough for me to enjoy (anything that pokes fun of the mafia is fine by me), so I borrowed it.  I, then spent the next five hours devouring it as if I was Garfield and it was a lasagna (and if you don't get that reference, then there is no helping you).

The only thing I'm struggling with is the fact that it was labeled a romance, which I guess it technically is, but I found it more of a comedy book than a romance--maybe it is supposed to be a romcom, something that Katherine Heigl or Jennifer Aniston could star in if it was made into a movie.  Teddi Marcello Gallo is a mafia princess; her grandfather, Angelo Marcello, is a Don in the vein of Don Corleone in The Godfather, or at least that's how he's presented (at one point Teddi says that Brando based his performance on her grandfather).  Unlike real-life mafia princesses, such as Victoria Gotti, Teddi doesn't want to use her grandfather's connections to get ahead--when she and her cousin opened up their restaurant, she insisted they take out legit loans from actual banks rather than using Marcello or Gallo (her father's family was also mobbed up) money--and she is also rather frustrated by the way people look at her because of her family's notoriety.

A big part of the book was the idea of "the thunderbolt," which is supposed to be some big Italian version of love at first sight, however, having grown up around my mom's big Italian family, I have to say that I have never heard of it, and knowing my family, I would have.  Anyway, Teddi is scared shitless of "the thunderbolt" because her Great Uncle and his wife were hit by it and were never happy (that kind of happens when your family tends to involve itself in murder and general mayhem).  She has convinced herself that the kind of love represented by the thunderbolt is a bad thing and has spent her life trying to avoid any and all relationships in which she has chemistry with her significant other.  Enter Robert, a reporter for Global News Network (obviously a spoof of CNN, although it seems more like Fox News--or as it is known in my house, Faux News), who seems to be smitten with Teddi.  She likes him, but something just isn't there.  The problem is that what is missing with Robert is there with Mark Petrocelli, an FBI agent assigned to follow her around.  As someone who grew up in a family where the police were criticized and the mob was lauded, this seriously tickled my funny bone.  Imagine a MAFIA PRINCESS involved with a FED!  My family isn't anywhere near mobbed up (not any more at least--do I have stories), but they would kill me if I brought a cop or a fed home with me--I mentioned on facebook yesterday that when I went off to get my Masters in Criminal Justice my family's biggest fear was that I would sign up with the FBI or I would end up involved with someone who did.

What I liked the most about this book was that Teddi's family felt like it could have been mine--not the mafia stuff, but the other, everyday things.  Things like getting together for dinner and having the entire family there, which, granted doesn't happen all that often in my family anymore--it was more something that was done when my mom was growing up than it is now.  All of Teddi's female relatives reminded me of my Great Aunts Josie, Frances, and Millie.  This isn't something I find in a lot of books, most of which feature WASP-ish characters with non-ethnicities, so it was nice to see an Italian family, and even though a lot of the things were stereotypical, they became stereotypes for a reason.

4 Stars.

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