Rating 5.0+++ stars

SempreWho doesn’t like a like Mafia love story? I know I love them! This is another story where I am reading it for the second time. I read it over the summer on vacation and I couldn’t put it down and again while reading this time I found it hard to put down. It is a long book–500+ pages–but so worth the read. I found that reading it over I understood the story I bit better. I am not saying you have to read it twice but there were small/subtle things that were written in the beginning of the story that sort of fell into place for me during the second go round. I find I do that a lot.

Sempre (forever) centers on the life of Haven. Haven was born into captivity and at 7 is taken to an auction as a lesson–to teach this poor girl what happens when she disobeys her Master. In fact she witnesses a horrible act administered by her Master which leaves a lasting impression on the scared girl. Fast forward 10 years and Haven and her mom overhears a conversation which prompts Haven to make a run for her freedom. Needless to say it was unsuccessful and she winds up being sold and sent away from her mother.

Haven is brought to live in North Carolina and lives with Dr. Vincent DeMarco and his boys. When she arrives she just doesn’t know how to react to things. Dr. DeMarco tells her what is expected of her, shows her around and purchases her clothes and other girlie supplies she might need. Haven is thrown off by these acts of kindness and doesn’t know what to do. She has a lot of free time on her hands and let’s be honest she still isn’t a free person. The doors and windows are locked and only a pass code and/or finger print combination can get you in or out of the huge plantation style home.

There many different twists and turns in the story. Dr. DeMarco is an “unofficial consigliere” to the Don of the La Cosa Nostra. He is often gone from the home because he gets called away to assist the Don. The story line about the Mob is almost separate from the story of Haven and the DeMarco family in North Carolina.  However, the things that are occurring are extremely important and you should pay close attention to the goings on because they will be significant towards the end of the story–everything starts to come together and if you skimmed over any of those pages you might just miss some important discoveries.

When Haven and Carmine meet (Carmine is Vincent’s son) there is an immediate connection. Both 17, they aren’t really sure what their feelings mean, how to react to them or  if the other one feels the same. It is a story that starts out sweet but gets intense, complicated and has an irreversible fallout that they must face and deal with. Haven has more to deal with than she can handle–adjusting to living with the DeMarco’s, her developing feelings for Carmine, the new freedoms/experiences, missing her mom, and some other juicy bits. She is an extremely strong person.

Here are some of my favorite quotes and excerpts:

“The only time you’ll ever catch me asking a girl out is after I’m done with her, and I’m asking her to get out.” (Carmine)

“She could feel it in every inch of her body, every beat of her frenzied heart. He consumed her, and she was powerless to stop it.”

“He ran the back of his fingers along her flushed cheek. His touch was soft, and she leaned her head in his direction. “My beautiful girl,” he said.”

“All he knew was she’d stolen his heart, and there was no way he could ask for it back.”

“I don’t want you to feel like you have to do things to impress me. Just being yourself is enough to keep me interested.”

“Haven, I could never love someone like you, because there isn’t anyone like you,” he said. “You’re one of a kind.”

“Besides, there’s a reason we don’t know how the story ends.” “Why?” “Because it doesn’t.”

(J.M. Darhower)

It’s an amazing story and I am sure I am not doing it justice.  The author does an amazing job with developing the characters; making you care about them; giving you the necessary background information that helps to explain so much at the end; and finally she brings several story lines together towards to end that explains, shocks and leaves you wanting more.  Good thing there is a second book in the works and from what I hear a movie deal for this book!  It would be a great book club book because there is so much to talk about. This was another book where I sat in bed (both for the first read and again this time around) and mumbled to myself and outright yelled at my iPad. You will laugh, cry, and shout at this book–which is the sign of an awesome book, in my opinion.   I don’t know what else to say but…READ THIS BOOK!!!!!! It’s number 3 on my “Top 10ish List.”

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Thanks for reading my review! :-)

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