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Book Review: Belonging by Nancy Minnis Damato

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Talented author Nancy Minnis Damato continues the exciting Taylor family saga in this latest instalment to the series, Belonging. This time the strong protagonist is not Josefina Taylor (from Book I) but her wilful, beautiful redheaded daughter, Taylor.

The story begins as mother and daughter have a terrible argument and Taylor, only 13 years old and feeling betrayed, goes to live with friends and makes the first serious decision in her life — getting married. The reader follows Taylor as the young protagonist becomes a wife, mother, and businesswoman. In spite of the big deception about the identity of her father, Taylor doesn’t give up and is intend on finding the truth. Then tragedy strikes and Taylor is compelled to move back to St. Louis with her children to stay with a black friend from her childhood.

With her excellent business skills, Taylor soon begins to rise in society. She opens her own restaurant and becomes prey to a charismatic and devilishly handsome Italian count. Under his sensual clutches, Taylor falls into a web of gossip and scandal. But the search for who she is guides her path and her actions. Will she eventually find her father and her real family — the one her mother denied her all her life? If yes, at what price? Will Taylor ever reconcile with her mother?

A strong heroine and a forceful plot are the landmarks of this novel that spans over a decade during the late 1800s. Damato does an excellent job with descriptions, especially with food and fashion. The prose and dialogue are engaging, and the relationship between Taylor and the Count is electrifying, making this book very appealing to historical romance fans.

The quick pace will keep readers turning pages until the dramatic conclusion, which is deeply satisfying yet leaves enough unanswered questions to look forward to the sequel. Though the book may stand on its own, I strongly recommend reading The Pawn, the first book in the series, before reading this one in order to avoid some confusion.

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About Mayra Calvani

Mayra Calvani writes fiction and nonfiction for children and adults and has authored over a dozen books, some of which have won awards. Her stories, reviews, interviews and articles have appeared on numerous publications such as The Writer, Writer’s Journal, Multicultural Review, and Bloomsbury Review, among many others. Represented by Serendipity Literary.