Well this book took a decidedly different turn from where I thought the storyline was heading at the end of Sempre. However, I will say that we got to get inside the head of one mean SOB in uncle Corrado Moretti. And while I didn't like that for the majority of the book Carmine and Haven weren't together, I loved the guessing game that went on with who was a good guy and who wasn't.
I'm going to start off with what I loved about this story and that was Corrado Moretti. There were times where I really wanted to hate this man, but then he would do something that would save Carmine's ass or drop everything to help Haven. And his love for his wife, Celia. It was unwavering. No matter what he may have done, she was always in his thoughts. Those times made it really hard not to like him. Even though he came off as a mean bastard, Corrado's loyalty and faithfulness to his family (that being his wife, Vincent, Carmine, Dominic and Haven) swayed me to his side. He straddled a very dangerous fence, but he was good at playing the game and knowing just when to make a stand. Plus, how can you hate a man who went to such lengths to make a man's dreams come true?
I was torn about Vincent DeMarco. He was someone I didn't really like in Sempre, but I understood why he was the way he was. I kind of redeemed himself in this one. He was trying to right some wrongs, but he went about it in a way that turned the very thing he was fighting against him, which at times ended up hurting Carmine more. But then he would show up when it was least expected and dispense advice that would put Haven or Carmine on the right path again. I often wondered what kind of man Vincent would have been if he hadn't been a pawn like he was. You could see the goodness in him, it was just shrouded by too much pain, grief, guilt and death.
Onto Carmine and Haven. I understood why they had to be apart for the majority of this story. But given how not so well things went while they were apart, I'm wondering if Haven could have had her chances to grow and go to college without having to be separated. It might have made a world of difference for Carmine, who seemed to suffer the most from their separation. Have grew a bit, at least when it came to her classes, but she lost a piece of herself when Carmine wasn't with her. Carmine was the same. He didn't care about much, almost going back to the old Carmine before he met Haven. It was painful to follow both of their struggles, knowing that it would only take one of them to bend for them to find happiness again.
I enjoyed this one, just not as much as Sempre. The storyline was still very dark and gritty, with the violence ratcheting up a few notches. But it was a story of redemption for Corrado and Vincent. To right the wrongs that had happened many years before. For Carmine and Haven is was the redemption of the decision made the year before that turned both their worlds upside down. But in the end peace was found and Carmine and Haven got their happily ever after.