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Haven Antonelli and Carmine DeMarco had vastly different childhoods. Haven, a second-generation slave, grew up isolated in the middle of the desert, her days full of hard work and terrifying abuse. Carmine, born into a wealthy Mafia family, lived a life of privilege, never having to answer for anything he did. Both now seventeen, a twist of fate causes their worlds to collide, making them question everything they ever believed. Entangled in a web of screts and lies, they learn that while different on the surface, they have more in common than anyone would thinksempre

My opinion:

I simply loved it! I read it a few times while it was a fanfic and now a few times as a published work. I couldn’t believe it when I saw that it was published, I think I jumped up and now almost an hour. I remember calling all my friends who knew that I loved this story to tell them all about it. They don’t read fanfics but they have no excuse not to read it now. The book was self published by the author, but Simon and Schuster bought the rights so now it will be republished in another format.

Enough of my rambling…

This is a Mafia tale so be aware that it contains a lot of violence, but also some other sensitive themes such as slavery.

This book is more than just a complex story with at times themes you need to reflect on. This book makes you, actually forces you to accept a part of yourself that you did not even know that was there. There were a few times I couldn’t believe that I enjoyed certain things that I normally find repelling. This book is a true emotional roller coaster, well more than any other book I read so far. Both main characters go though so many horrifying things, but they still manage to get past all the bad and start over. I can’t even begin to imagine how it was for Carmine to date Haven after he found the truth about his mother. He is impressively strong and mature, he is able to comprehend that a child should not be punished for something that was out of his control. Not many are able to do that especially when they were hurt by the consequences.

The thing that affected me the most while reading this book was that I truly understood that sometimes we have to do bad things. Sometimes there is no other choice. I have friends who would try to prove me otherwise, but I really do believe that sometimes we have to do everything we can in order to survive even if it is immoral. This was quite hard for me to admit.

Haven is a young innocent girl who paid for the mistakes of others. She was born a slave and accepted her condition. She never aspired for more. She knew that there was nothing she could do to change that fact. There are a few times when she starts to believe that life will get better and that everything will change, but then something horrible happens: a death occurs or a secret is unraveled.

I loved the fact that the author focused a bit on the DeMarco family as well. I loved Carmine’s brother. He and Carmine were really close and they did not hesitate when it came to helping each other. The father is a true pater familias. I loved that the author explained why he did certain things and not focused only on Carmine and Haven especially since he is a huge part of everything as well.

This book is by no means a short one or an easy read. If you plan on reading it make sure you have time because I guarantee that you will not be able to stop once you start. The plot is very intricate and needs your full attention, but at the same time there are certain aspects you should analyze and reflect on.

The cover is truly amazing and I don’t think there is one who would be a better fit. I like to think of the flower as Haven’s innocence and also Carmine’s because in the end he was a bit innocent as well and the gun is the symbol of the world they live in, of the world they belong to, but also the symbol of the people that try to keep them apart.

There are so many thing happening in this book and so many secrets that you wouldn’t believe. Before reading this book I couldn’t imagine a world filled with such cruelty(maybe it was because I was quite young at the time). This book is eye opening.

Even though slavery is a huge part of this book in the end everything leads to sacrifice so I consider it to be the most important theme. How far is someone willing to go for the people they love? Haven’s mother sacrificed herself for her daughter’s sake, the same happened with Carmine’s mother. Everyone had to lose something/ make a sacrifice for protecting the things/ people they love.

Another thing I loved was the fact that writer inserted some Italian line which make the book even more realist.

The author perfectly combines different genres such as thriller, mystery with romance in this book. This book is truly a work of art that you shouldn’t postpone reading.

From me: 10/5

Favorite quotes:

“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.”

****

“Go for it, while you can. I know you have it in you. And I can’t promise you’ll get everything you want, but I can promise nothing will change if you don’t try.”

****

“Nella vita: chi non risica, non rosica,” he said finally, his voice quiet. “In life: nothing ventured, nothing gained. My mom used to tell us that. It’s been a long time, but I can still hear her saying it.”

****

“You can play it safe, and I wouldn’t blame you for it. You can continue as you’ve been doing, and you’ll survive, but is that what you want? Is that enough?”

****

“Can I keep you? he whispered, laughing and pulling away from her as soon as the words came out. “Whats wrong with me? I’m quoting Casper.”

****

“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.
She took in his expression. “You think I’m beautiful?”
“I don’t think you’re beautiful, Haven,” he said. “I know you are.”

****

“some things in life only happen once, the memories of them lasting forever. they’re moments that alter you, turning you into a person you never thought you’d become, but someone you were always destined to be.”

What do you think?