Feb 08

Hail Mary by Lani Lynn Vale Review



Mary Persephone Hail
Mary—well-wished-for child.


Hail—well that speaks for itself.

Her name is painful to think about. Mary, his newfound daughter, isn’t a wished-for child. Persephone, though? Yeah, destruction is a fitting description. And Hail? Yeah, that’s just the final f-you.

The moment that her mother drops her off on his doorstep, Dante’s hell becomes complete.
Or so he thinks.

What can make life worse after losing one’s wife and kids, you ask? Here’s what: being given a baby that depends on him for her survival. Finding out that the baby’s mother is dying of brain cancer, and has a husband that he never knew about. A husband that Dante knows in the marrow of his bones is trying to kill her just as surely as the cancer eating her brain.
Dante’s a bad person. He’s done some not so nice things, and now he’s being punished for his misdeeds. Karma is finally catching up to him.

This child that he’s been stuck with is of his flesh and bone. This child is his salvation. This child is the final nail in the coffin of his wife and daughters’ too short lives.

He doesn’t want this child.

But this child will save him whether he wants her to or not.

With the help of a friend—yes, a woman friend—Dante finds his way back to life. But what he finds when he gets back isn’t the same life that he left behind. Turns out, he has to start living a new one. One where he’s suddenly having feelings for a friend that helped him get through some tough times, and loving a daughter that won’t let him quit.


I’ve been anxious for Dante’s story from the moment Lani Lynn Vale introduced the Hails. I knew going into Hail Mary that Dante’s story was going to be a gut-wrencher. If the build-up wasn’t enough of a clue, the blurb was the tip off. I love a tortured, broken hero, and Dante is one of the most wounded heroes that Lani Lynn Vale has ever written. His story is difficult to take, no doubt about that, but this author’s love for this character shines through her words as she gives him healing, redemption and then finally salvation in the form of an unexpected, unanticipated sweet baby girl and a woman who makes his heart beat again.

One of the things that surprised me most about this book, especially considering the way Dante has behaved throughout the rest of this series not to mention the tone of the blurb, was how much hope I felt while reading this book. I honestly wasn’t expecting such a hopeful story. Healing from the kind of trauma that he went through was never going to be easy, but Vale did an amazing job not only bringing this character full-circle, but also redeeming him as well. This was hands down the most beautiful and emotional story that Vale has ever written. The slow burn romance between Dante and the heroine, while tenuous at times, was precisely what he needed, paced perfectly and rooted in a strong friendship that grew into true love.

This was an incredible story. Vale pulled out all the stops to give something truly special to her readers. She gave a difficult story new life with a beautiful romance, a suspenseful twist and a just enough of her unique sense of humor. I think this is some of Vale’s best work to date. Hail Mary by Lani Lynn Vale gets 5 smooches from me.

~ Danielle Palumbo