SEMPRE Forever By J.M. Darhower

teardropsOnly 15% into this book and I found myself sobbing, having to put the book down and walk out of the room.  Emotionally charged doesn’t even begin to describe this story.  

Sempre Forever

SEMPRE forever

By J.M. Darhower

★★★★★

The Definition of Freedom: 1. The state of being free or at liberty rather than in confinement or under physical restraint: He won his freedom after a retrial. 2. Exemption from external control, interference, regulation, etc. 3. The power to determine action without restraint. 4. Political or national independence. 5. Personal liberty, as opposed to bondage or slavery”
– Dictionary.com

Born into slavery Haven Antonelli has never known anything other than horror and pain.  Living on a desert ranch with her mother, taking care of her “Master” and his family, unsure if she’ll live another day hard work, abuse and fear are part of her everyday life.  At seventeen she has seen a world that most can’t even imagine and the last thing she ever expects to find is hope.

Carmine DeMarco is Mafia royalty.  While overcoming a tragic past that almost tore his family apart Carmine struggles to find someone to understand him and continues to let his pain and anger fuel his actions.  He knows his future will most likely be in following in his father’s footsteps when he turns 18, moving back to Chicago to join “La Famiglia”.

But then she happened. The girl who had never been able to call her life her own taught a boy who had the world at his fingertips exactly what it meant to live. He wasn’t alone anymore.” 

Haven and Carmine may have grew up under vastly different circumstances, both yearning to break free,  but now a twist of fate causes their worlds to collide.  Entangled in a web of secrets and lies, they learn that while different on the surface, they have more in common than anyone would think.  While falling in love with each other may be easy a string of events that began before either of them were born threatens to destroy them.

Murder and betrayal are a way of life, and nothing comes without a price—especially not freedom. But how much will they have to sacrifice? Can they escape their pasts? And, most of all, what does it mean to be free?

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Wow this book rally surprised me, I wasn’t prepared for it to throw me on the emotional rollercoaster I found myself on while reading it.  While a story of love there is so much more here.

Colpo di fulmine. The thunderbolt, as Italians call it. When love strikes someone like lightning, so powerful and intense it can’t be denied. It’s beautiful and messy,
cracking a chest open and spilling their soul out for the world to see. It turns a person inside out, and there’s no going back from it. Once the thunderbolt hits, your life is
irrevocably changed.”

Sempre is a complex story that in my opinion has the right balance of  “Character Emotional Development” plotlines or “Dramatic Action” plotlines. It isn’t a feel good romance or a fluffy mobster story.  This book is dark and at times disturbing.  There were characters in the book that I had a very hard time liking and finding redeeming qualities in, even when the motivation for their actions became clearer.

Carmine and Haven are both heartbreaking characters and I found myself questioning whether or not I would have been able to survive in their world.  Haven has a strength and a way of looking at life that I admired.  Carmine is willing to risk it all for Haven and in the end he does without hesitation.

“Ti amo, mia bella ragazza. Per sempre.”
“Sempre?” she asked.
Cracking a smile, he brushed his pointer finger softly across her lips. “Always and forever.”

 With such a complicated group of characters I felt an authenticity to the story that I appreciated.  While sad and upsetting this is still a must read.  If you love books with a modern take on Romeo and Juliet, if you loved The Godfather or Boardwalk Empire this is a story I am sure you will enjoy. Fair warning though, it is a longer book, over 500 pages so be prepared to spend some time on it.

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To find out more about Author J.M. Darhower:  www.jmdarhower.com