Sempre by J.M. Darhower
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Oh, how I so wanted to like this book. Everyone I know loved it so much. It came so highly recommended. And yet, I just could not get into it.
This is the story of Haven, a slave, who is "rescued" and taken to live with Dr. Demarco and his two sons, Dominic and Carmine. It's the story of how Haven slowly grows and eventually becomes free, while learning how to live on her and own and falling in love. It's the story about two young kids fighting to keep their love and their lives. A story of the mafia and it's rules; of death and destruction of family and lives. It's the story of things being withheld and everyone having secrets. It's the story of what it means to be a family and sacrifice everything for the ones you love.
The concept of this story was really great. It's really a Cinderella story: Haven being the long lost Italian princess who is treated like the help. The story line is changed around a bit to include "step brothers" and a "step father" rather than the usual female leads. And eventually that family comes around to realize she has much worth.
The story started off well, with a good amount of action. And then it just stalls. It felt like I was running through the same scenarios for the entire book: Haven is clueless, Carmine gets frustrated trying to teach her something, Haven learns that thing (sort of) and then they move on to the next thing, all the while falling in love.
Part of my issue with this book could be that it was originally written as Twilight Fan Fiction. I found out this information right before I started the book, which (having just come down from a Fifty high and knowing what kind of writing that was) may have clouded my judgment a bit.
The the writing was fairly good. I liked the use of the Italian throughout the book. It did give you more of a sense that they were connected to la famiglia. I did think that Carmine cursed too much. While this was supposed to show what his character was like, I think it was quite overdone.
The other issue I had was the slowness of the book. It's so long and there is not much action. I kept waiting for something to happen. I had this anticipation which was never quenched. It's not until you get to the last 10% of the book where the story really takes off and things happen. Most of the book you are left in the dark, with the main characters saying "forget it" a lot when they don't want to explain things to each other. This is supposed to make it more suspenseful but with the book being so long it just seemed like it took forever to really get into the story line. About 1/2 way through the book we learn that Haven is not who we thought she was and this information is kept from her to protect her. I found this information confusing, to be honest. I didn't really grasp why they did not want her actual identity revealed. It didn't seem to me that it would have made such a huge difference in the organization.
Honestly, I was just bored with this book. It took me over a week to read it, not usual for me when I'm really into a book and don't want to put it down.
I give this book a 2.5/5 stars.
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