A shadow of guilt

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I love this childhood friend couple. It’s touching how they try to get passed the big traumatic event in their lives, Valentina’s brother death.

What’s this all about?

Under the shadow of tall pine tree, stood Giacomo Corrtti , mostly known as Gio. He watched as they moved to coffin of his best friend to his grave. Valentina, the deseased sister, saw him and told him to leave because it was his fault her brother was dead. He blamed himself too, if he hadn’t conceded to Mario’s insistence of going out that night, maybe he would have been alive at that moment.

Seven years later, Valentina was working as the coordinator of an independent catering hired by the Correttis for the Corretti/Battaglia wedding. The last thing she wanted to do was work for the Correti’s, but she needed the job, She thought about what will happen if Gio attended. It was inevitable that he heart beated faster when she thought about, but at the dame time she felt the need to hate him and be angry at him to keep him away,

Gio Corretti came to his cousin’s wedding at the insistence of his mother. He didn’t like to be around his messy family. His mother was always insecure and was terrified that one day her husband will leave her for one of his mistresses. His diseased father, was always dissapointed in him, since he was always shy and insecure. His brothers were always rivaling each other for power and payed little or no attention to him. For this and other reasons, the last thing he wanted was being there, he wanted to be in the other side of Sicily, breeding and training his horses.

The wedding was a disaster, the bride had jilted the groom in the altar. Carmela, the groom’s mother, told Valetina that since there wasn’t a full guest count she wouldn’t be paying her and that she still had to serve the guest who were there. Valentina was furious, but she didn’t defied Carmela since she had great influence and could destroy her little catering service.

When Gio saw that the wedding was off, he was irritated that he came for nothing. He walked around the reception drinking champagne and he stopped in his tracks when he saw with his peripheral vision that a woman was sitting in a storage room with her head down and her hands in her face. Then he recognize her, it was Valentina, he couldn’t believe she was there. When she realized who was watching her Valentina told him to leave and he refused. They had a discussion and then she told him that his aunt was not paying her. He offered to pay her, but she refused. she didn’t want a euro from him. Then one of her working partners called her and she told him she didn’t want to see him again.

A week later, Valentina reluctantly realized that she needed Gio’s help and traveled to his workplace. She told him about how she threatened his aunt to suit her if she didn’t pay her and his aunt told her that she would make sure she was blacklisted from every catering job in the island. But then she started to regret being there and she left. He followed her to Palermo. He offered her his help and she refused. Then she had a call from her mom, telling her that her father had collapsed/ They hurried and took Gio’s car to the address. When they got there, they saw her father in the floor and Gio did CPR to him. When they moved him to the hospital, the doctors told them that the CPR was what saved her father. Valentina thanked Gio for his help. He told her that if she needed anything to let him know.

The next week, Valentina called Gio and ask him for a job. She told him how she how she worked her way a sou-chef in a restaurant. He told her that the Corretti Cup (a horse-racing tournament) was coming up and that he wasn’t her to choose the menu and cater for the three days of the tournament and she agreed. He told her she could move in one of the staff quarters but she refused.

A week later Valentina felt very tired, she had to travel to hours from her home to her workplace and it made her have to go to bed at midnight and wake up at 5 am. Now it was 8:30pm and she was still working, Gio saw her and scolded her, for working late. He convinced her to take her home and when they made a stop to the hospital where Valentina’s father was, he joined her in. When she discovered that Gio proposed to her father to a hospital near her workplace and to get private treatment and that her father had accepted it, Valentina was furious. She didn’t really  understand why, but she was. But finally she accepted it and moving to the staff quarters.

As we read through the book we come to know that Mario, Valentina’s brother, died in a horse-ridding accident. He insisted to ride Gio’s most wild horse, Gio refused but Mario kept insisting and then Gio couldn’t say no. Gio blamed himself for being the owner of such a wild horse. For yearse he traveled, gambled and had many one-night stands. But he woke up one day and told himself that it was enough and started a bred and training horse business.

As Valentina spends more time with Gio, she comes to know him better and realizes how tortured he has been  these seven years because  her brother’s death. Therefore, each day it becomes more difficult for her to hate him . Plus, there’s an incredible attraction between both characters. And there comes a point when they can resist it. Gio in the other hand, has loved Valentina since they where teenagers, but he didn’t act on it because she was the soster of his best friend. Will there feeling and attraction be enough to get passed the traumatic event for Mario’s death, or will that be a barrier for them for the rest of their lives.

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