Book Review: Jennifer Lane’s With Good Behavior

September 2, 2013 4 out of 5, Contemporary Romance, review 0 ★★★★

Book Review: Jennifer Lane’s With Good BehaviorTitle: With Good Behavior
Author: Jennifer Lane
Genre: Contemporary Romance
My Rating: four-stars
My Copy: Review Copy via Author
Add to: Goodreads
Synopsis: In a world gripped by organized crime, family dysfunction, and dim hopes of redemption, can true love persevere? For Sophie Taylor, a beautiful psychologist who lost everything when she violated an ethical boundary, and Grant Madsen, a handsome naval officer who sacrificed everything to protect a loved one, finding that love may carry an unbearable cost.

Starting their lives over in Chicago, both are fighting influences from their family and running as fast as they can to escape the past. When their paths cross outside the parole officer's door, the attraction is instantaneous. But a hidden connection may not only shatter their fledgling love, but prove deadly to them both.

Grant Madsen and Sophie Taylor have been burned by the same people and they don’t even know it! Both have been recently released from prison and are prepared to put their stint in the system behind; however, the past has a way of catching up. When Sophie meets Grant outside their parole officer’s door both are attracted to each other. Everyone around them tries to separate them, but together they find their footing and help each other. Just when things couldn’t go wrong Grant receives an unexpected visit and Sophie finally realizes he’s related to the man who put her in prison.

Jennifer Lane has crafted an intricate story that leaves you breathless. First of all, I’m not a big fan of reading about the Mafia because I feel it can either be hit or miss. Some authors glamorize the lifestyle that it often mirrors Hollywood fiction versus reality. Of course there’s some romanticism to it and partly because of films like The Godfather and Scarface. While Lane could have gone this route, she doesn’t and instead gives us a plot about a jealous family member and the trials the acting mob boss of the Barbei family goes through to keep things in line.

Writing is engaging and narrative is third person, which I always particularly enjoy. I really liked getting to know Sophie and Grant especially their past. Lane doesn’t come out and immediately explain what crimes these two committed to land them in prison, but instead utilizes flashback scenes to relay the information. Your heart will break when you realize exactly how connected these two really are.

Character development is strong and even secondary characters are fleshed out enough for us to understand their motives. I’d like to say Sophie and Grant are the primary characters, but we also have Carlo, who is Grant’s cousin. He’s jealous of the status Grant and his brother, Logan have within the organization and feels he should be a son of privilege. Sadly, Carlo doesn’t realize that he’s the reason head family member Enzo is in prison. At times I was empathic towards Carlo, but it was Logan that I felt the most for. Logan was caught between two worlds: that of his father’s and the safety his uncle Joe provided. I suspect Logan opted to join his father’s world so Grant would be left alone since he was the youngest and the one who often felt his father’s wrath. I loved Grant and he fought so hard to keep out of his family’s life that when he was dragged down due to Carlo, your heart breaks. Sophie finds herself in a similar situation involving the Barberi family and she truly is the innocent victim. The only crime against her is falling in love with a client and having a relationship with him. I mentioned secondary characters, but Roger steals the show! I love how cranky he was and he’s just lonely.

What I really enjoyed about Good Behavior is the slow romance that develops between Sophie and Grant. They are attracted to each other from the beginning, but take the time to get to know one another. I kept wondering why these two were prison to begin with because they are model citizens and when the truth comes out, you are left with so many feelings. More so when you see exactly what Enzo did to Grant. I’m glad Grant’s a fighter even if he doesn’t think so. I adore that Lane gave us a beta hero, but one that is special and worthy of any girl’s heart.

If you’re a fan of crime fiction then I recommend Jennifer Lane’s With Good Behavior. With Good Behavior doesn’t end on a cliffhanger, but it is part of a series. I can’t wait to read the rest and see what Enzo has in store for Grant.

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