Grace A. Johnson
Series Review: The Moretti Trilogy by Kristina Hall (Blog Tour)
Updated: Dec 17, 2021
Yep, I am reviewing three books in one post. Since that is a lot of reviews, on top of introducing y’all to each book, listing the rest of the posts in this tour, and telling y’all about an awesome giveaway, I’ll try and keep things short.
Oh, who am I kidding? I’ve got too much excitement to just “keep things short”!
Yes, my lovelies, today I am taking part in Kristina Hall’s blog tour for her latest series The Moretti Trilogy (and, before you ask, yes, this is her third complete series this year...the last two were duologies, but I’d say that counts)! I am so super, duper excited to finally tell y’all all about these three AMAZING Roaring 20’s mafia novels—full of faith and redemption, wild with suspense and action, with just a pinch of romance.
Yeah, they’re practically perfect.
Before we get started, if y’all are interested in learning a wee bit more about the author, the lovely Miss Kristina Hall, I suggest checking out my interview with her from several months back! And if you’re wondering what I’ve thought of her writing in the past, then read my reviews for her westerns Strangers and Pilgrims and To the Uttermost here and here, respectively!
Now, enough gabbing! (Man, why didn’t I ever say that when that was the name of my blog???) Let’s get into my thoughts!
Okay, never mind. That just sounds weird. Let’s just read my reviews, shall we?
There. That’s better.
Also, before I get started...I received complimentary copies of these books from the author. All opinions expressed are my own!
How much will she risk to save her sister?
Mae Ashton has every reason to stay in Georgia and marry the man she loves, save one—the disappearance of her sister. Although all evidence points to Hazel’s death, Mae’s discovery of a single picture changes everything. If Hazel is alive, Mae will find her. And she’s left everything to do so.
Davis Everleigh isn’t about to let Mae, his fiancée, go just because of a note that hardly explains her departure to New York City. Instead, he follows her to the city and gains employment with the man Mae believes is somehow connected to Hazel.
As Davis and Mae become further entrenched in their effort to locate Hazel, they find themselves facing a corrupt businessman and his ruthless henchman, Alberto Moretti. In a world of lies, will the truth prevail—both about Hazel and in their own lives?
In the very beginning, I wondered why this series was called the Moretti trilogy. After all, it is about the Ashtons, isn’t it? Mae, who risks her life to find her sister. Hazel, who left a broken family behind years ago. Frank, who can’t leave because of his paralysis and troubled heart.
Then I met Alberto. And, as you can imagine me saying in my most dramatic voice, everything changed.
This really is his story. His series. Somehow, this strong, silent mobster henchman wormed his way into the forefront of the story...into my heart...and dominated both of them. His character is so real—every facet of him is not just realistic and authentic...it’s alive. His redemption arc? Even better. Kristina Hall knows, lemme tell ya, how to wear a soul down and led them to the Lord in a way that is touching, powerful, and genuine. I love it. Even if it’s only fictional souls that are coming to Christ.
And, yeah, you could count it as a spoiler that Moretti is redeemed, but to be honest? Once you meet him, you’ll know. He just oozes potential and all-around awesomeness. I love him.
That’s becoming increasingly obvious, isn’t it?
Yeah, I thought so.
I should probably talk some more about the other characters...and the story itself...shouldn’t I?
That is standard procedure, so off we go.
Davis, y’all, Davis was fabulous. Sure, at first I was a wee bit worried about him...mainly that I wouldn’t like him or that he’d be bland. And, in some ways, I think he was missing a bit of flavor, perhaps, but in others, he really was an amazing guy. He was like the grown male version of Elsie Dinsmore, if that makes sense, always striving to do what was right, what honored God, and what helped others. Despite the risk. Despite temptation. Despite the odds, which were never in his favor.
Yeah, Davis’ character was simply fabulous. There’s no other word for it.
As for Mae...y’all, I really wanted to like her. And I did. Sometimes. But I couldn’t relate to her in the way I wanted to or connect with her on a deep lever. That said, from a surface standpoint of her character, she possessed a quiet strength that I admired and a determination that anyone would appreciate. Her struggles were realistic and deftly handled.
Then there’s Lillian/Hazel and Vincenzo. Y’all. Them two made me gag. And it wasn’t necessarily because Vin was a heartless, murdering, mobster and that Lil was crazy for him (I’m just grateful that the two were married)...it was more that the both of them were a couple of spineless sea sponges. I’m with Moretti—Vin wasn’t worthy of his position, he wouldn’t make good on his threats, he lacked the guts needed to handle things, and on top of all of that…he was hopelessly annoying. And Lillian was just a fool.
Is this a bad thing, that Vin and Lil were just so painful to read about? Nope, not at all, because Hall is one of those authors who is so good at making bad characters. If you catch my drift.
And, of course, honorary mention for overall awesomeness goes to John Scranton. I would absolutely love a story about him. Just, y’know, throwing that out there.
Now, moving on to the elements unrelated to characters and fangirling...the suspense and action. Y’all, Hall can keep you on the edge of your seat, lemme tell ya, turning pages (or clicking screens) like there ain’t no tomorrow. And yet, her stories are never rushed. They’re perfectly paced, allowing time for development and depth—something most suspenses sorely lack. Not to mention she can write a durn good fight scene.
Speaking of scenes…that conversion scene. Man, was that powerful or what?
Also, something I really liked, not only about Promises Unbroken but also all of Hall’s historical works, is that she is so immersed in the setting and that it becomes so real, to the point that there’s no need for excessive descriptions or info-dumps about how things looked or functioned back in the 1920s. Not that I don’t mind excessive description and information; those just aren’t elements that belong in a suspense. In a novel like this, being completely invested in the story and only the story is all that matters, and Hall makes that simple.
What’s probably the craziest thing is that, when I finished Promises Unbroken, I thought to myself “Man, that was even better than To the Uttermost! It can’t get any better.”
Then I started reading Mercy Undeserved.
How much more will she lose?
Lillian Rossi had it all—a devoted husband, a new baby, and all the riches she’d dreamed of. But one January day changed everything. Now, the consequences of her late husband’s sins extend to her and her son, and Matteo, though only a baby, is the rightful heir to the Rossi empire, making him a target.
Alberto Moretti promised to protect Lillian and her son, but he well knows the cruelty and desperation of the Rossi family. He served them all too long—until God set him free.
As Lillian and Alberto are thrown together in a race to save her and Matteo’s lives, their own sins and Stefano Rossi’s plans threaten to destroy them. Will they fall prey to the danger so close behind, or will they find mercy they’ve done nothing to deserve?
This one is the first of Hall’s to get a full five stars from me, because y’all. I have literally only one word to accurately express my feelings for this book.
MORETTI. MORETTI. MORETTI. MORETTI. M O R E T T I.
Okay, that was technically the same word six times, but you get my point.
I adore the stinkin’ socks off of that man.
I’ll keep this review short, considering the fact that literally all I can do is fangirl over Moretti right now.
This is probably Hall’s most romantic book yet. And it’s, like, extremely diluted. So that’s not really saying much, I suppose, but still. Y’all know I love the whole marriage of convenience thing—and while I would’ve liked a lot of it to be done differently, I know Kristina, and writing a marriage of convenience was probably the most painful thing she’s ever done.
So I’m seriously not gonna complain.
I also think this was one of her most suspenseful. The plot moved fast, and we kept jumping from one dangerous situation to another (definitely a good thing). That said, Hall never disregards her characters’ emotional and spiritual needs. The story is about them, not the plot, and that’s why I keep coming back to her books. The development is spot-on, and y’all know I love how poignant her faith elements are! Plus, she manages to keep things exciting without being complicated, which I love. I read suspenses at the pace the plot goes (which is normally fast...meaning you might catch me skim-reading when things start to get serious), so I don’t need a lot of complicated loopholes to deal with. Any other genres, I’m fine. But when I’m on the edge of my seat already, I really don’t feel like having to scoot back and relax so I can decipher all that’s going on.
Make sense? Good. Moving on.
As for Lillian. Y’all know I hated her at first (I...may have a little bit of Frank in me)…mainly because she seemed to be missing a backbone. Plus she was just a butt to everyone. And, yeah, I just didn’t like her. We’ll put it like that.
However, she grew on me. She actually grew on me.
As she began to soften toward Moretti and feel a bit of guilt for her actions, as she started sacrificing for her son and thinking more about God, I really began to like her, and now that I’m reading Truth Unshaken, I really do love her character.
All the secondary characters were fantabulous, of course. *looks at Scranton*
Long story short, Moretti.
Whom can they trust?
After losing her parents, Carla Belardi discovers her life was a lie. Now, she must flee unless she wants her parents’ fate to be her own.
Frank Ashton lost the use of his legs—and his desire to live—in the Great War. When Carla is brought to his home injured, he gains a friend. But despite the attraction growing between them, he can never burden her with a cripple.
Alberto Moretti thought he could do good working for the Prohibition Unit—until he finds out his new employer isn’t much better than the criminals he once served. Now, he has to fight both sides—the Prohibition Unit and the crooked Belardis.
When danger surrounds Carla, Frank, and Alberto from too many angles, will they put their trust in the Truth that will never be shaken?
Truth Unshaken may be my least favorite in the series in some ways and my most favorite in others. I know that makes no sense, so let me expound.
The plot was *chef’s kiss*. Moretti going undercover...notorious crime boss’s granddaughter on the run for her life...paralyzed kid (okay, okay, man) caring for the stranger his family took in...Moretti being Moretti. Not to mention, Hall is a master at weaving all those things together, moving the story along quickly, and developing each aspect.
Yeah, that’s pretty epic, am I right?
But here’s the thing. I didn’t like Frank. I didn’t dislike him, because I understood where he was coming from and I respected his struggles, but he just didn’t click with me. Is that a me thing? Yes, it probably was. (Aren’t they all?) Did it make the story a little less epic for me? Unfortunately, yes.
However, I must say that Carla was absolutely lovely. She was so genuine and precious and sweet and kind and...yeah...all of Hall’s heroines are fabulous, so how could Carla be any exception? On that note, seeing Mae and Lillian/Hazel again was so good! They’re even better than I remembered! Of course, I loved Davis too. Would’ve liked more of him, honestly.
Moretti is still my favorite, though (probably why Frank didn’t click...he wasn’t Moretti). Honestly, this entire book could’ve centered around him only, and I’d’ve been happier than a cat at a fish fry! (And, no, I don’t think that’s a saying, but you’re more than welcome to use it.)
Speaking of...considering this is the ending of the series, I would’ve liked, I dunno, a huge celebration. An epilogue. Moretti actually calling “the kid” by his real name. Something like that, just to wrap everything up with a bow. Y’all know how I am about stuff like that.
So, did it live up to my expectations? Yes, because I expected Moretti to be wonderful and he was (I legit could marry that guy...if it weren’t for Lillian, of course).
Gosh, I am such a fangirl.
Anyway. Yes, I enjoyed it. Yes, it kept my attention. Yes, I love Moretti’s guts (as weird as that sounds). Yes, I am very, very, very sad that this series is over. Seriously. Why couldn’t it go on forever? Why couldn’t Moretti just pop up in every other book Hall writes? Why couldn’t Moretti be real so that I could give him the bear hug he deserves? (That man seriously needs a hug. *raises hand* I’ll volunteer.)
All in all, I think it’s quite obvious that the Moretti trilogy was absolutely AH-MAY-ZING and that you simply must read it. Like, right now. I’m waaaaiiiiting. (And, yes, that’s a Sonic reference.)
Welp, it’s been real, but I gotta juice! (Another Sonic reference, of course.) *speeds off in a ball of blue energy*
(Sorry about the Sonic quotes...but this is my life now, y’all.)
About the Author
Kristina Hall is a sinner saved by grace who seeks to glorify God with her words. She is a homeschool graduate and holds a degree in accounting. When she’s not writing, she enjoys reading, arm wrestling, lifting weights, and playing the violin. Follow her on Goodreads, BookBub, Instagram, and her website, and subscribe to her newsletter!
The giveaway runs from 12:00 am on December 13th to 12:00 am on December 19th, and Kristina is giving away the entire Moretti Trilogy (Promises Unbroken, Mercy Undeserved, and Truth Unshaken) in the file type of the winner’s choice (PDF, mobi, or epub). The winner will be announced on December 19th (Sunday) in her blog tour wrap-up post, and she’ll contact this individual by email to find out what file type to send. The entire set of books will be sent by email.
Monday, December 13th
Vanessa Hall- Series Spotlight
Allyson (Shay’s Scribbles)- Author Interview
Kristina Hall- Blog Tour Launch Post
Esther (‘Neath the Hackberry Reading Club)- Review of Mercy Undeserved
Tasha Van Kesteren- Author Interview
Judith McNees- Review of Truth Unshaken
Penny Zeller- Series Spotlight
Tuesday, December 14th
Madi’s Musings- Author Interview and Series Spotlight
Emily Yager- Author Interview and Series Spotlight
Issabelle Perry- Author Interview and Series Spotlight
Kristina Hall- Promises Unbroken Post
Wednesday, December 15th
Kristina Hall- Mercy Undeserved Post
Esther (‘Neath the Hackberry Reading Club)- Review of Truth Unshaken
Thursday, December 16th
Vanessa Hall- Author Interview
Madi’s Musings- Guest Post: The Hardest Parts of Writing and Editing The Moretti Trilogy
Katja (Old Fashioned Book Love)- Review of Promises Unbroken
Kristina Hall- Truth Unshaken Post
Friday, December 17th
Vanessa Hall- Review of Truth Unshaken
Katja (Old Fashioned Book Love)- Review of Mercy Undeserved
Grace A. Johnson- Reviews of Promises Unbroken, Mercy Undeserved, and Truth Unshaken
Autumn (Farm and Photography Life)- Series Spotlight
Kristina Hall- My Favorite Character
Saturday, December 18th
Adara (Penlightenment)- Author Interview and Review of Promises Unbroken
Katja (Old Fashioned Book Love) - Review of Truth Unshaken
Kristina Hall- The Themes
Sunday, December 19th
Kristina Hall- Tour Wrap-up and Giveaway Announcement
WOW! Was this a long post or what? I applaud you for making it through, because there was so much fun fangirling and free stuff in this post that I know you wouldn't have wanted to miss! Now, if my raving about Moretti won't peak your interest in this series, I don't know what will, so I think I've accomplished what I set out to do, eh?
Y'all have a fabulous weekend, my lovelies, and I'll see y'all with my next review...As Dawn Breaks!
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