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Sempre - J.M. Darhower 4 heartbreaking stars...

Gawd, I hated how this book made me feel for the majority of it. You know that feeling when you're reading about something so sad and infuriating, and you were powerless to do anything about it? That's what I felt.

I've been warned that the book was not your typical love story with a HEA. I was prepared for that since I'm not the type who needs a happy ending to love a book. What I wasn't prepared for was the fact that the story was much, MUCH bigger than Haven and Carmine.

[b:Sempre|13111733|Sempre|J.M. Darhower|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1340797919s/13111733.jpg|18285292] is centrally the story of Haven, a girl who was born into slavery and who grew up thinking and believing that THAT was her life. "Expect nothing" was her motto. [b:Sempre|13111733|Sempre|J.M. Darhower|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1340797919s/13111733.jpg|18285292] is also the story of Carmine, a boy who grew up desensitized to people's opinion of him. He witnessed his mom get murdered and he blamed his dad for it. Their lives intertwine when Carmine's dad, Vincent DeMarco, buys Haven from her abusive "owner" and ushers her into their home and lives, offering her a sense of normalcy and "good" life.

But [b:Sempre|13111733|Sempre|J.M. Darhower|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1340797919s/13111733.jpg|18285292] is also equally about Vincent DeMarco. He wants nothing more than for his children to be shielded from the life in la famiglia, knowing firsthand what it meant, what it entailed, what it risked and what it sacrificed. He has always been loyal to them, but the memory of his wife's death has always nagged him to seek Haven. Little did he realize what the consequences of getting her meant.

[b:Sempre|13111733|Sempre|J.M. Darhower|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1340797919s/13111733.jpg|18285292] is the story of these people and those around them. It's a story about the harsh realities of slavery and life in the Mafia. It's a story about family and loyalty. It's a story about sacrifice, of doing something other than what you want to protect those you love. It's a story about hope and hopelessness. It's a story of survival and the lengths people would go to survive. It's a story of good people doing evil things. It's a story of greed and power and stopping at nothing to get what you want.

Overall, I thought and felt that the author had a good story to tell. I especially loved reading about Vincent and Corrado. The single star taken out of my rating has more to do with my preference of writing style and my ocassional feelings of indifference towards Carmine. I cared more for Vincent DeMarco than his son, truth be told. But it's nothing a few years of growing up and a sequel can't fix ;) While the story ended on a relatively happy note, there is soooo much more to go into. The world Haven and Carmine live in is nothing short of complex. Saving themselves from one complication just digs a deeper hole for them and I am sure that as they mature and understand their world better, things will complicate further.