The Lies That Bind

Dark Legacies Book 1

Romance - Contemporary
243 Pages
Reviewed on 08/26/2020
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    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

The Lies That Bind is a work of fiction in the contemporary romance and interpersonal drama sub-genres and was penned by author Marie Scully. Written as the opening book in the Dark Legacies series, this work is intended for adult reading audiences owing to scenes of graphic violence, the use of explicit language and scenes of a sexual nature throughout. Our central protagonists are Alex and Claire, whose torrid relationship begins shrouded in secrets and lies. As Alex assumes a new identity and seduces Claire to gather information, his feelings develop into something much more real. But Claire, once scorned, has a choice to make between the honor of her family and the man she thought she was falling for. What results is a deadly and seductive journey.

Author Marie Scully has crafted a masterwork of intense contemporary romance, taking on family feuds, crime, and suspense and weaving them perfectly into its highly dramatic plot. The plot structure was a real triumph for me, and it had equal weighting to the romance element to develop a solid and realistic story that never felt forced or throwaway. The character development was also a big hit, with close narration that brings you into each person’s deeper thoughts, delivering some really fascinating twists and emotional high points that enhanced the drama all the more. Overall, I would recommend The Lies That Bind to readers who love suspense, mystery, and a powerful love/hate dynamic in their romance novels: an accomplished and fully rounded read.

Lisa McCombs

Claire Rossi didn’t ask to be the daughter of a mob boss, but she is and she’s good at it. With the death of her father, her older brother Elijah becomes part of the Five - five families that rule New York and the surrounding areas. When Elijah calls a family meeting to inform Claire that her fiancé is the secret son of Adrian Regio, the head of a rival family, Claire is caught in an emotional conundrum. Does she follow her heart or does she follow the family code? She thought she had finally found the man of her dreams, but unbeknownst to her, gorgeous Mike Regio is actually part of the Regio family plan to undermine the Rossis. As Claire and Mike play cat and mouse, their hearts forget their family loyalties.

The Lies That Bind: Dark Legacies by Marie Scully is a fast-paced roller-coaster ride that keeps readers salivating at the end of each chapter. Scully’s Mafia vibe combines with a sensual love story suitable for beach reading, late-night entertainment, or general entertainment for someone in need of an escape. The witty dialogue and strong plot structure maintain a constant flow of fun detail. Though portions of the narrative can be gruesome, the overall theme is one of family ties and strong friendships. A dark surprise in the epilogue will continue to haunt the reader for days. Marie Scully is an obvious female version of Mario Puzo and will likely be paired with that name in the literary world.

Grant Leishman

The Lies That Bind (Dark Legacies Book 1) by Marie Scully is a deep dive into the brutal and unforgiving world of organized crime. Claire was born into a high-flying crime family and the mob mentality was the only thing she’d known from an early age. But, if Claire was totally honest with herself, part of her loved the adrenaline and excitement that went along with being a “mafia princess”. Not content to bask in the reflected glory of her father and brother, Claire was an active participant and just as dangerous as any man in this organized-crime business. That was until she met Mike. She desperately wanted to keep that side of her life from the man she had fallen head over heels in love with. Claire didn’t do “love” but it seemed with Mike there was no choice. In the dark and seedy criminal underworld, though, things are rarely as they seem on the surface. Mike’s appearance in her life would set in motion a chain of events that would change everything and force Claire and her brother to flee from determined crime bosses intent on their destruction. It seemed that everything Claire believed in was a lie and the only solution was to start again, far away from this madness, but is it really possible to ever leave the mob life and its long arms?

I found The Lies That Bind to be absolutely compelling reading. Author Marie Scully has created two characters in Mike and Claire who are capable of two distinct and separate sides of a coin. Both are ruthless, courageous, and cunning to a fault; both are equally capable of loving and hating fiercely and determinedly. I particularly enjoyed the sexual tension between the pair even when they were in a hating phase. You could feel the desire fairly bristling from every page and although the passionate scenes were hot and exciting, they never crossed that line into eroticism. The juxtaposition between the loving, loyal family man and the cold-blooded, heartless and cruel killer, all embodied within the same character, that is such a feature of screen adaptations of mafia stories was even more pronounced in this story and that paradox was the highlight of the author’s work. The writing style is almost breathless as the characters rush from one dilemma to the next and one can’t help but be carried along by the roller-coaster ride. The idea of telling the same story from two different perspectives, Mike's and Claire’s, was an inspired choice and gave the reader that much more of a balanced view of the characters' motivations than might otherwise have been the case. This is an incredibly easy read and I am thrilled that it is just the first in a series involving these characters. I’m invested in them and I know other readers will be too. I highly recommend this read.