Beautiful. Raw. Gritty. Emotionally Impactful.
“What made you this way?”
“Sweetheart, I wouldn’t even know where to begin.”
I fell in love with Corrado Moretti in Sempre: Redemption (Forever #2). At the very end of my review I wrote, “Corrado was AWESOME!“. I was at odds with what seemed like his two different personalities. He was vicious and gentle, unforgiving and loving. He was an enigma. I wanted to know who he was and what made him that way?
Ms. Darhower answers that question magnificently. Corrado was born unto a father who loved him and cared about him, but put him second to his job, so he was absent most of Corrado’s childhood and left him to be raised by an evil, brutal, self-absorbed drunk of a mother. She didn’t love nor want Corrado around and made his poor childhood a nightmare. The things he saw couldn’t be unseen and physical and emotional abuse scarred him for life.
“Mom says she’s the good one. She likes her more than me.”
“…“but you’re a good kid. You have a heart of gold, Corrado.”
“If that were true, my mom would love me.. or somebody would.”
My heart shattered for Corrado when I read that. No kid should have to think that their parent loves their sibling more than them and every child should feel loved. His sister Katrina was horrific. She was vindictive and evil just like her mother. Doing anything to get attention, she told on Corrado for everything he did, even when what he did was benefiting her in some way. He was drowning in a house of horrors.
“You,” he ground out, his voice scratchy. She’d told. “How could you?”
She shrugged. “The more she hates you, the more she likes me.”
His “salvation” came on the rare occasions his father let him go to work with him. From his father, Corrado learned how to be a “man of honor”. He learned the importance of loyalty and making a name for himself. Oddly enough, he learned the importance of family and the importance protecting that family. He also learned how detach himself emotionally from events that would bring any man down.
“You don’t go crying that this turkey died, do you? No, you eat it… Well, not this one, but you know what I’m saying. The circle of life, it’s cruel, but it’s unavoidable. If the shark didn’t eat the man, the man would eat the shark. That’s just how it goes.”
Corrado was learning how to be a MADE man.
“After they invited you in, after they embraced you, there was no walking away. It’s a beautiful web of glorious silk, intricately woven together with deception, which draws you in like moths to a flame. But as soon as you’re close, as soon as you approach, the web snatches a hold of you and refuses to let go.”
Another question I had after reading Sempre: Redemption (Forever #2) was about his relationship with Celia. I didn’t know much about her and I didn’t understand their dynamics, but she was perfect for him. Their relationship was solid and they were a formidable pair. It made me question, how did they become this way?
Obligingly, Ms. Darhower answered this question too. Having met as young children during a time of crisis, Corrado and Celia form a life long bond breakable by no one. Not even themselves. Many years later they meet again when Corrado is working for her father, the head of the La Cosa Nostra. She was a fiery, independent, spirited girl. She went after what she wanted, despite what others wanted for her or told her to do.
“I know how to keep a secret,” she said. “That’s in my blood, too. And I know without a doubt that you know how, too. He wouldn’t have to now.”
“You’re worth more than that,” Corrado said. “You deserve to be somebody’s everything, not somebody’s secret.“
The beauty of strong-willed, spirited women, is that they don’t give up! Celia pursued Corrado, showering him with love, attention and understanding. She was slowly infiltrating the steel encasement he placed around his heart. “He’d lived his life in a box-she’d been right about that. A box where he felt nothing. it was only when he stepped from that box, when he treaded lightly into her domain, that he came alive.”
“I’d infect you with my darkness.”
“Or maybe I’d cure you of it.”
“You can’t know that.”
“Neither can you.”
I can’t say enough about the writing. It was so finely detailed, that you forgot this was a long book. I became absorbed in the story. Turning page after page, without regard to anything around me. When my real life interrupted my reading time, I still thought about what I had read. This is by far one of the best books I have read this year, and my favorite of the series. Which is a hard statement to make because I rated both of the first books 5 stars as well. But this one, is special. I highly recommend this to everyone. Read the first two in the Forever Series Sempre and Sempre: Redemption, first. I believe that’s how you will get the best impact from this book. If for some reason that isn’t possible, this is a stand-alone. Warning: you will read spoilers from the first two books if you read this first.
“You’re wrong about yourself,” she said seriously. “You said you were heartless, but that’s not true. I can feel it, Corrado. It’s in there. And as long as it’s beating, I know it’s there, working overtime, and you’ll never convince me otherwise.”
“I’ll never deserve you, I’ll never be good for you, but I’ll spend the rest of my life trying to be enough. And the simple fact that you’re letting me proves your beauty. Because your beauty, Celia, is more than skin deep.”
**The novellas are LIVE and will be free as ebooks**
| Sempre (Forever, #1)
by J.M. Darhower :: Amazon :: My Review
| Sempre: Redemption (Forever, #2)
by J.M. Darhower :: Amazon :: My Review