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Literature / 365 Days

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365 Days (Polish: 365 Dni) is a trilogy of erotic romance novels by Polish author Blanka Lipińska. The trilogy revolves around Laura Biel, a Polish woman in her late twenties who is dissatisfied with her humdrum life and her passionless relationship. Everything changes when she travels to Sicily and is kidnapped by Massimo Torricelli, a Sicilian Mafia boss who has become infatuated with her and declares he will hold her for three hundred and sixty-five days to give her a chance to fall in love with him. The trilogy follows Laura and Massimo's turbulent relationship, while also dealing with matters relating to the criminal underworld Laura finds herself drawn into.

The books in the trilogy:

  • 365 Days (Polish: 365 Dni); published in 2018, English translation published in 2021.
  • This Day (Polish: Ten Dzień); published in 2018, English translation published in 2021.
  • The Next 365 Days (Polish: Kolejne 365 Dni); published in 2019, English translation published in 2022.

The books were adapted into a trilogy of films, 365 Days (2020), This Day (2022) and The Next 365 Days (2022). The first film in particular was an international hit after being featured on Netflix, bringing wider attention to the books.

Tropes found in the trilogy include:

  • Abduction Is Love: The first book may as well be "Abduction Is Love: The Novel". Massimo thinks the best way to win Laura's heart is to kidnap her and hold her captive for a year, in the hopes she'll fall in love with him. He promises to let her go after a year if she doesn't feel the same way, but he still sees no flaws in this plan. Of course, Laura does end up developing feelings for Massimo in less than a year (about three to four months, to be exact).
  • The Alcoholic: Laura drinks a lot of alcohol and gets drunk and/or hungover several times per book. When things start going wrong with her life, she tends to reach for the booze. She even drinks while pregnant and mixes alcohol with painkillers. Notably, this was heavily toned down for the films.
  • Artistic License – Medicine:
    • Massimo is told he must choose whether to save Laura or her unborn child after she gets shot. Due to the unclear timeline, it appears Laura would be less than six months pregnant at the time (she was a few weeks pregnant at the end of 365 Days and This Day seems to take place over a few months). It's dubious if saving the baby over Laura would even be an option. The survival rates of micro-preemies (babies born between 22 and 26 weeks, or 5.5 and 6.5 months) vary quite a bit depending on where in that range they were born.
    • In the third book, Laura goes on a boozefest, only for Massimo to tell her to slow down because she could damage her new heart. Yep, it turns out Laura got a heart transplant at the end of the previous book, which she was clueless about until now. Organ transplants are not easy! Laura would need time to recover, follow-up appointments to make sure the new heart is working correctly, and she would have to take don't-reject-the-organ medicine for the rest her life. Plus the doctors would've been the ones to tell her about the things she should and shouldn't be doing post-transplant.
  • Author Avatar: Laura is a self-admitted one for author Blanka Lipińska. Laura's physical description and the way she's depicted on the cover of the second book closely matches pictures of Lipińska (especially them both having short, blonde hair after Laura gets a makeover) and Lipińska has stated she based parts of the trilogy upon her own life (in particular Laura's frustration over her relationship with boring Martin and thus her attraction to domineering bad boy Massimo).
  • Babies Ever After: The trilogy ends with Laura and Nacho Happily Married with a daughter.
  • The Baby Trap: Massimo lies about providing Laura with birth control as he hopes that if she becomes pregnant, she will definitely stay with him. Laura is unimpressed by this, declaring that if she does find out she's pregnant, she will leave him and raise their child by herself. But then when she does get pregnant, she insists on staying with Massimo and raising their child together.
  • Cliffhanger: The first two novels end on these:
    • 365 Days ends with Massimo trying to call off the wedding and send Laura away, believing his lifestyle is too dangerous for her. Laura protests and reveals she's pregnant with his child, with the book ending before we see Massimo's reaction.
    • This Day ends with Laura being badly injured after being shot and Massimo being told he can only save her or their unborn baby. The novel cuts off as Massimo says "Save...", leaving it ambiguous as to who he chooses (unless you've read the blurb of the third book, which makes it clear he chose Laura).
  • Contraception Deception: Massimo pulls off both variations. First, he implants birth control into Laura's arm without her permission or knowledge. Then it turns out he lied about this and it was a tracker he had implanted; he actually wants to get Laura pregnant so she will be more inclined to stay with him.
  • Damn, It Feels Good to Be a Gangster!: Aside from being occasionally kidnapped or otherwise placed in mortal danger, Laura's life as a Sicilian Mafia boss' lover is portrayed glamorously; she lives in a lap of luxury with expensive material goods galore and access to anything she desires, and there seems to be few limits to Massimo's wealth and influence. Massimo and his criminal/romantic rival Nacho are both portrayed as extremely attractive, and Laura being desired by these men is presented as sexy and exciting.
  • Dead Animal Warning: Massimo gets increasingly jealous about Laura spending time with Nacho, prompting him to kill her pet dog and send the corpse to her in a box. He claims Nacho did it and Laura initially believes him, breaking things off with Nacho.
  • Derailing Love Interests: Laura starts out dating Martin, who comes off as a genuinely nice man who truly loves her, but just isn't a very good lover and prefers working to pampering his girlfriend. Laura even states the main thing wrong with their relationship is that she finds it dull. However, Martin then abruptly cheats on Laura and later becomes hostile towards her when she refuses to give him another chance, to justify Laura leaving him for Massimo.
  • Descent into Addiction: In the third book, Massimo develops a cocaine addiction in an attempt to cope with Laura losing their baby and their marriage falling apart.
  • Destructive Romance: Surprisingly, the trilogy ultimately comes to this conclusion about Laura and Massimo's relationship; it increasingly presents Massimo's aggression, manipulation, jealousy and Control Freak tendencies towards Laura as being something negative. Both are often miserable around each other and are driven to substance abuse to cope, as well as cheating on each other. After Massimo tricks her into choosing him over Nacho, only to drug her, imprison her and attempt to impregnate her against her will, Laura escapes and ends their relationship for good.
  • Fetishized Abuser: Massimo, at first (later books play it more for drama). Despite kidnapping Laura, threatening to harm her parents and brother if she tries to run away, sexually harassing and assaulting her multiple times, and violating her autonomy in various other ways, he's still presented as Mr. Fanservice by the narrative and Laura finds herself drawn to his domineering nature. He was partly based upon Christian Grey, although many readers find that Christian's behavior pales in comparison.
  • Girl of My Dreams: Massimo had recurring dreams about Laura after being shot. Five years later, he saw Laura by chance in Sicily and realized she was the woman he dreamt about, becoming obsessed with making the dream a reality.
  • How We Got Here: The Next 365 Days opens with Laura celebrating her 30th birthday with Nacho and him proposing to her, which immediately spoils that she ends up with him over Massimo; the rest of the book explains how this happened.
  • Imperiled in Pregnancy: Laura is kidnapped by Nacho while pregnant, although he had no intention of harming her. Later, she is shot and nearly dies resulting in her miscarrying.
  • It's Not You, It's My Enemies: At the end of the first book, Massimo tries to break up with Laura after she was involved in a car chase with a rival crime family, saying it's too dangerous and unfair for her to live in his world and that she "deserves better". An outraged Laura protests that it's too late now, because their wedding is only two days away and she's pregnant with his child.
  • Karma Houdini: Massimo receives little in the way of commupence for all the awful things he's done throughout the trilogy; despite Laura and Nacho holding Massimo at gunpoint in the third book's climax (the installment that saw Massimo sink to even further depravity, to the point even Laura turned away from him), Laura ultimately decides to let him go. While Massimo does lose Laura's love and has to watch her be happy with his rival, he's still walking around in society and has access to all his money and resources, plus he's still involved in Laura's life to some degree as the Cool Uncle to Olga's kids, so it barely seems like a punishment at all.
  • Last Guy Wins: The trilogy ends with Laura leaving Massimo for Nacho, the second main love interest she met, and them being happy together.
  • Marital Rape License: Massimo already felt entitled to Laura's body before they got married, with this attitude only persisting after they tie the knot. After Massimo rapes her to punish her during an argument, Laura tells him she didn't like it but he just dismisses her feelings. When she brings it up with Olga later, Olga says she thinks it should be expected that a husband and wife have sex with each other, suggesting this trope. Evidently, Laura decides she's not okay with this because when Massimo threatens to rape her again, she runs away.
  • A Match Made in Stockholm: Laura falls in love with not one, but two men who kidnap her; first Massimo (who intended to invoke this), then Nacho (who had non-romantic reasons for kidnapping her but ended up catching feelings anyway). By the second book, she's in a love triangle with both her kidnappers.
  • Mundane Fantastic: Massimo dreamt of Laura years before actually meeting her in person, but this is the only remotely supernatural occurrence in the otherwise mundane novels and isn't really commented on or seen as strange.
  • No Ending: The first book's ending is rather abrupt and leaves nothing resolved; it ends immediately after Laura announces her pregnancy to Massimo to prevent him calling off the wedding. We don't find out how Massimo reacts nor do we learn the identity of the rival gang chasing Laura (which prompted Massimo to call things off) until the sequel.
  • "Not If They Enjoyed It" Rationalization: A recurring theme throughout the books when it comes to Laura and Massimo's relationship. Many of their sexual encounters involve coercion, emotional manipulation, intimidation or outright physical force, but they both generally approach it as kinky sex or roughhousing rather than sexual assault. When Laura does protest about Massimo forcing himself on her in The Next 365 Days, Massimo is initially confused and dismissive, saying that she always enjoyed their 'no means yes' dynamic. This time though, Laura is adamant she didn't want or enjoy it.
  • Rape as Drama: Massimo violently forces himself on Laura in the third book during an argument. While technically many of their previous sexual encounters bordered on or crossed into assault, this time Laura is genuinely angry and upset with Massimo over it, prompting her to insist they separate while she decides what to do and contemplate divorce. The assault makes Laura realize Massimo is probably not good husband material and will continue hurting her (apparently, the previous times he violated her and the whole kidnapping thing didn't raise any red flags for her). When he threatens to rape her again Laura flees the house and seeks shelter with Nacho.
  • Sadistic Choice: After a pregnant Laura is shot, Massimo is told the doctors can only save Laura or her unborn child. He chooses Laura, resulting in her miscarrying.
  • Same Plot Sequel: Laura is unhappy in her current relationship and feels her significant other doesn't meet her needs. She's kidnapped by a member of organized crime, whom she finds attractive and swiftly develops feelings for. Now, are we talking about the plot of the first novel, or the second one?
  • Time Title: The title refers to the number of days Massimo intends to hold Laura captive in the hopes of making her love him. The first novel itself takes place over around three to four months, though; given that the ending of The Next 365 Days depicts Laura's 30th birthday, the entire trilogy takes place over around a year.
  • Wrong-Name Outburst: Massimo and Laura briefly reconcile in the third book; Massimo is affectionate and playful with Laura, which is so out-of-character for him she unthinkingly calls him "Nacho". This quickly throws a wet blanket on their attempts to fix the relationship.