Much as I tried to avoid having expectations for this book, I apparently still had them. Because this book was nothing like what I'd expected. I suppose I'd formed an idea in my head of what could be a "happy ending" for these characters, and the actual ending couldn't be further away. And I'm so glad for that. Mr. Voinov was kind enough to his characters to give them all exactly the ending they needed.
For a book about killers, all of the main characters show an inspiring generosity of spirit. At the risk of sounding patronizing, I have to say how proud I am of the choices the characters made. All three of them had to make separate and difficult decisions in order to open the way for things to end well for all of them:
Stefano had to be brave enough to be open with Donata about not only his relationship with Silvio, but his feelings for him.
Silvio had to choose to be patient with Stefano even though Stefano was asking for commitment when he himself was not giving it. Silvio also eventually had to choose Stefano over honesty with Battista and the rest of the Mafia.
But Donata, I think, might just be my favorite character in this book--which surprised the hell out of me, because I'd not liked her at all before now. The way she reacted to first hearing about Silvio, and Stefano's determination to keep him, was kinder than many women could probably be. But the way she made the decision to be open enough to accept Silvio not only into Stefano's life, but into her own just blew me away. She could have made things so miserable for all of them, but she chose instead to be open and generous and loving, and because of that, she opened the way for all of them to find happiness together. The scene with the three of them was just so beautiful!
This was a remarkable end to an extraordinary series. I'm so glad I finally gave in and gave these books a shot. I consider myself better off for having gotten to know these unforgettable characters.