Gone With The Wind meets The Godfather Publication Date - March 2012
Semi-Finalist in Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest
Film Trailer of "Don Carina"
"There's a new boss in town."
"Ron Russell has done an excellent job of blending history; intrigue; power into one delicious epic adventure that will not want to put down. A woman as the head of the Mafia, who shows her family her resourcefulness, strength and survival techniques. Unique, creative and powerful! A must read! " --Linda Gray, Actress, "Dallas"
The novel 'Don Carina' was inspired by actual people and events in Southern Italy before and during World War II.
I thoroughly researched the nature of daily life in Naples and made a careful attempt to keep the dramatic historical events surrounding the city during the war as accurate as possible. Naples endured more air attacks, starvation, and hardship than any Italian city during WWII. The citizens of Naples suffered more than a hundred air attacks, a brutal German occupation, and deplorable living conditions. After three years of uninterrupted Nazi rule over Europe, Naples was the first major city to be liberated by the Allied troops, but Neapolitans continued to experience many more hardships throughout the remainder of the war and for years thereafter.
Carina made her life choices under these conditions. I believe the choices she made will amaze the reader, as they did me.
Summary for the Novel 'Don Carina'- Carina's mafia boss husband becomes incapacitated during WWII, in Naples Italy. Carina battles for control of his organization, in order to save her family from the threat of his own men, the Nazis, other crime families and the devastation of the war only to discover that none of these outside threats endanger her more than her own choices.
Many whisperings I’ve heard over the years of how the Prince of Napoli met his end, none of them accurate. Various versions of the astonishing events in my life have been softly spoken to me as well, by people who were unaware that I was the one they were rumoring about. But here and now I’ve laid down the truth about those years. I don’t know who will read this account, but it’s enough that deep within me I needed to clear the waters, to separate the fact from the fiction, as Napoli is a city rife with myth.
Opening Pages of 'Don Carina'
1946 Southern Italy
Meticulously, I placed the blush on my cheek. I wanted to look my best on this solemn night. My husband loved to see me all dressed up and I wanted him to be pleased with me. The final coat of crimson lipstick glided onto my lips and I pursed them to make sure they were smooth and wet.
With a wiggle, I shimmied into my black rayon cocktail dress. The soft fabric felt sensual gliding over my fair skin. I opened the box on the floor by my vanity, pulled out my red stiletto heels and slipped them on. It had been years since I’d worn them or anything else so elegant.
The mirror revealed my dark mane needed straightening after putting on the dress. I brushed it up and carefully wedged the silver comb Papa had given me into my thick black hair to hold it in place. With all I had lived through, I felt older than my thirty years; but, I still could turn heads. As I wrapped my ruby scarf around my neck, I took a final look at my reflection and saw no obvious imperfections; but, I still felt nervous and wondered how God would see my actions on Judgment Day.
Leaving the bedroom, I went down the long hall, stopped by the bar, snatched the brandy carafe and a couple of glasses, and went down the stairs to the basement door. The click of my heels counted out the twenty-one steps. At the landing, I stopped to gain my composure and took a nervous little breath. I’d certainly done this to quite a few men, but this was my husband.
After unlocking the door with my free hand, I entered the large basement and made sure to re-bolt it. My husband sat on the couch with his back to me. He didn’t turn towards me when I entered, which was a blessing.
Looking around the rather stark cellar, I regretted that I hadn’t made this living area cozy. The cold stone floor needed the warmth of a rug and the cool walls had no festive paintings to allow one to escape into another place and time.
I set the glasses and carafe on the table in front of the couch. For the first time, I turned toward my husband. He was expressionless.
“Brandy?” I offered. I took his lack of response as a “Yes,” and poured us each a drink. Ever so slowly, I moved towards him. He didn’t take the drink, so I placed it next to him on the table.
Now, my gaze never retreated from my husband’s handsome face. With a swing of my hips, I straddled him, face to face.
“I’ll always protect you, my Prince.” I pulled him against me, bringing his head to my bosom. His chest expanded with each tranquil breath. It had been years since I had felt him against me and it seemed both sweet and disturbing.
Reflecting on our past together, I drew my long silken scarf across his body and wrapped the strong cloth around his arms. He didn’t respond. The silky fabric felt so soft and harmless. I caressed his freshly shaven neck, swept my hand up to his temple and ran my fingers through his black hair, now speckled with gray.
“Through the war, the Allied air attacks, the Nazis, I’ve watched after this family well,” I whispered. “I’ve done everything necessary to protect it. I‘ve told you all under the seal of Confession.”
I smiled, but my throat tightened as I pulled my stiletto from its hidden sheath in my belt. Placing my arm across my husband’s chest, I said, “I always have and always will do what’s best for you and the family. I love you, principe.”
I chose to believe that the look of contentment on my husband’s face acknowledged his agreement. During the last four years, ever since the bombing, he hadn’t uttered a word. Trapped within his secret world, he stared vacantly into a reality I could not see.
I kissed his cheek. Even in the dim light of the basement, the stiletto blade glimmered like a diamond...