RITA Reader Challenge Review

RITA Reader Challenge: Becoming Dante by Day Leclaire


Title: Becoming Dante
Author: Day Leclaire
Publication Info: Harlequin 2012
ISBN: 9780373732135
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Book Becoming Dante This RITA® Reader Challenge 2013 review was written by Sam J. This story was nominated for the RITA® in the Short Contemporary Series category.

The summary:     

A secret Dante

All his life, Gabe Moretti has denied his Dante heritage-but when he meets Kat Malloy, his late wife's cousin, the Dante Inferno cannot be ignored. He tells himself it's only business-her hand in exchange for a necklace his mother created.

But when one touch leads to another-and a kiss leads to more-Gabe realizes he's in over his head. Because Kat has secrets he needs to uncover.

And now he'll have to do the one thing he's sworn never to do-go to his Dante relatives to find out the truth about this powerful passion….

And here is Sam's review:

If you’re a fan of Harlequin Desires, then it’s worth reading Becoming Dante. Despite a few pitfalls, Day Leclaire writing technique overcomes the few “What the?” moments, but to get a real sense of the Dante universe, I really recommend reading the other books in the series. I chose Becoming Dante for the RITA Reader Challenge because I’ve read Dante’s Inferno and wanted to see how the author would use it in the book.

So how does Dante’s Inferno tie in to Becoming Dante? When Gabe Moretti first kisses Kat Malloy to “consummate” their arrangement, he is filled with a possessive passion and lust for her. Kat also feels the strangely intense desire in the burning kiss. Gabe, illegitimate son of Dominic Dante, realises he has activated the legacy of the family he hates – Dante’s Inferno.

I’m not going to lie. Having read Dante’s Inferno (the 14th Century epic poem about the Dante’s journey through the nine circles of Hell) and was really hoping for some literary allusion or an extended metaphor…but I was disappointed. In this book, Dante’s Inferno refers to how the Dante family can tell who their soul mate is from a single touch. That awareness is in both the Dante and their One, resulting in a burning desire and…a constant itch in their palm.

Also, inferno is Italian for Hell, not fire or passion or lust. HELL. So when the Dantes experience the Inferno and find their soul mate…

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.


The use of the name of the poem as way to tell who your soul mate is kind of irked me, but if you haven’t read or know about Dante’s Inferno, then you shouldn’t have too much of a problem with the soul mate business.

And it wasn’t too hard to ignore the strange hand sign that Gabe and his twin sister Lucia do: “…Lucia and Gabe balled their hands into fists and linked index fingers before embracing,” which signals that they trust each other or something. I have to point out that as a twin I have never needed a weird handshake to know that my sister has my back. Gabe also teaches it to Kat after they have sex (so the brother-sister thing is also a husband-wife thing? Okay….) to show her without words how much he loves her. I just don’t know why it was necessary as part of the plot and it happens multiple times.

The other sticking point is that the beginning is a little confusing. There were so many names, connections and family members to keep track of I had to draw family trees. Becoming Dante is the ninth and last book in a series about the Dantes, so if you haven’t read at least a couple of the others you might find it hard to get into this one.

However, once you push through the first couple of chapters (and ignore the awkward gang signs), Day Leclaire’s skill as a writer really shines. Technically, Becoming Dante is written very well and the scenes between Gabe and Kat are full of great tension and passion. In other words – HOT. Gabe also has an emotional journey, eventually embracing the Dante family and Dante side of himself he has always rejected. I really enjoyed seeing the growth in his character; he starts of very cold and alpha but has opened up a lot by the end. The plot had a good pace, with enough complications and questions arising to keep me interested in reading until the end.

If you like soul mate plots, with fake engagements leading to real marriages (and a baby!) then you might like Becoming Dante. Just keep in mind that it is the last book in a series and the Harlequin Desire format means some of the characters aren’t as fleshed out as they could be.

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