Vengeance is Sacred by Peter Healy

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From the mountain farms of Italy to the distant shores of L’America young Paolo forges an unforgettable journey of fortitude, intrigue, and love as he eludes the retribution of the Camorra crime syndicate. Fleeing to the New World in 1909, Paolo struggles on his own until he meets the beautiful Maria, a bold, fiery, labor activist. The dauntless couple become involved in the dangerous garment workers’ strike in New York City, but it is the ensuing fire at the Triangle Waist Company that proves to be the ultimate challenge of Paolo’s psychic abilities . . . and a true test of his courage as a man! However, through it all, a perilous debt still remains from Paolo’s troubled past and those who lie in wait seek to honor their sacred code of vengeance. Can Paolo overcome the blind forces of reprisal and is the future as predetermined as one may think?

Publisher and Release Date: Lakewood Press, March 2011

RHL Classifications:
Time and Setting: New Jersey, New York City Early 1900’s
Genre: Historical Romance with paranormal elements
Heat Level: 2
Reviewer Rating: 3.5 Stars

Review by Diane Owens Prettyman

When Paolo Celafiti takes the ship from Italy to America, his future seems dismal. Just in time,

“The sight of Lady Liberty holding her torch gave Paolo a much-needed lift.”

That was until he entered the country and discovered the corrupt immigration authorities.

Paolo had inherited Deva powers from his grandfather. He was able to see into the lives of people he met, like the immigration officer who suffered from syphilis. Even though he had correctly seen the bad aura of this official, Paolo realized too late that the bribes and fees he had paid him were of no benefit.

“Morals are only responses to your circumstances,”

– Paolo says.

He soon realizes he has entered into a new country with not much more than a few Amanita seeds, a potent and potentially poisonous mushroom he smuggled in from Italy, and his Deva powers.

Filled with rich details of the time and the politics of the labor unions, the Irish and the Italians, Healy depicts the underpinnings of New York at a time when life for immigrants was difficult at best. It seemed the only choices for survival were to work in a sweatshop or choose a life of crime.

Against the backdrop of political change and reform, a romance unfolds. One night, when Paolo feels the Deva pulling him toward First and Mercer, he meets a girl named Maria Pastore who had been beaten while striking at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory. He carries her to safety. She vows:

“Let each one…be paid in full.”

At first, Maria doesn’t trust Paolo. Seeing her powerful aura, Paolo immediately realizes their connection. From here, the story takes off as both Maria and Paolo try to address the injustices of the factory workplace.

Paolo’s Deva gifts play a central role throughout the story. The author has done well weaving historical events with romance and the paranormal. The romance, though, takes a backseat to the action of the story and some readers may find this disappointing.

This ambitious book combines a strong story with historical events to create an entertaining and compelling read about the difficult plight of immigrants in the early 1900’s.

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