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Mr. Laurence, I Presume…: A Novel

Updated: Jul 25, 2023



“Mr. Laurence, I presume” is a delightful tale of forgiveness, acceptance, and unabashed love. Author Joe Sciuto’s latest work flows magnificently from the pages to your heart. All his characters are born from reality, then manage to float just above the believable, fringing his creation with an edginess that makes the entire work appear larger than life. With insights well placed throughout the novel, the characters’ references teach the reader history, movie trivia, manners, and, most importantly, higher principles. Besides our protagonist Joe, his love interest Angie, and of course, Mr. Laurence, I found Gloria to be the lone character in the novel that initially made me feel for her, a victim, then an instant later seeing her as being a threatening individual. Though this feeling is only fleeting, she soon comes into the fold, like all the characters eventually do, becoming concerned, free-willed, and accepting as all eventually become one large and loving family.

The book was engaging. Much of the novel is dialogue, from which you rapidly develop mental pictures of Mr. Sciuto’s tragic, though creatively philanthropic world. So much does this prize author convey with a minimum of words! One of the novel’s main themes is “forgiveness.” It somewhere plays a role in all the characters’ development and, throughout the story, is brought to light as the narrative switches between characters and certain periods in those characters’ lives.

Mr. Laurance is the penultimate gentleman; surely the fictional representation of the perfect family man. His meeting with his wife-to-be, Isabelle, back after WWII was a very moving scene. Another memorable moment was in the kitchen shortly thereafter, where Mr. Lawrence’s future wife’s sister, Rachel, tries her hand at cooking. Yet she only manages to ruin the entire meal, smoking up the house and finding comfort in her forgiving and compassionate father’s arms. It was hilarious, well-timed comedy while, at the same moment, introducing the reader to Mr. Laurence’s future father-in-law and mentor, Mr. Hamill—Himself the pinnacle of gentlemanliness! As a minor, comedic role is Joe’s little brother, Stephan, who has adolescent designs on Angie, the horribly abused and completely shattered young woman Joe finds himself involved with. The exceedingly frail teen beauty has suffered more in her early years than anyone would ever have the misfortune of in an entire lifetime.

Having echoes of Wuthering Heights as well as enhancements of background music by the gravel-voiced Durante and the croonings of Sinatra, Joe Sciuto again pens the perfect portrayal of what an idyllic life could be if just a handful of people were impeccably placed by destiny and money didn’t matter. The introduction of past lives and past loves that materialize throughout the novel sets off an essence of the metaphysical, spicing up the story, etherealizing it, and moving it into a higher level of genre. I’m sure any reader who picks up this book will not be satisfied until they’ve totally devoured it, absorbing every delicious scene Mr. Sciuto has prepared for them and finishing it as would they a freshly filled cannoli—with a smile and a greater understanding of just what many women today are now living with, having been victimized somewhere in their younger lives, during a time when there should have been safety and happiness, not horrors, pain, and lies.

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Joseph Sciuto

Joseph Sciuto was born and raised in New York City, where he spent his early years listening to his Italian-American grandmother’s vivid stories about how their family was responsible for building much of the impressive Manhattan skyline, including the Empire State Building. The rich flavor of her stories about their family’s heritage still works its way through his writing.

Sciuto holds degrees from both John Jay College of Criminal Justice and Stony Brook University and a certificate in film studies from New York University. After studying psychology, film, theater, literature, and English as an undergraduate, he relocated to Southern California to attend graduate school at Loyola Marymount University, where he studied writing and film.


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