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 secrets and lies, they learn that while different on the surface, they have more in common than anyone would think.
I read this story originally as the fanfiction Emancipation Proclamation and it was one of my favourites. After the whole 50/MotU debacle, I admit I was wary about reading the published version in case it was a mere find/replace job as E. L. James did. Someone please slap me for waiting so long!
This book was different from the original which proved that Darhower put a lot of time and effort into making the book the best it could be for both new fans and those who loved EP.
Haven and Carmine are great lead characters in that they are relateable despite the situation they have been put in. Haven is instantly likeable due to the reader pitying her and her background. Yet it soon becomes clear that she is much stronger than she initially appears.
Carmine on the other hand, Carmine at first glance is a brat. Rich, spoilt, and a bit of a manwhore. As the story moves on and the reader gets to know him as Haven does, he becomes far more likeable.
They are supported by an amaxing support cast of characters. Sometimes, secondary characters can often read as filler or a bit flat, but none of the Sempre characters do.
The pace of the story is rapid yet never feels rushed. There’s just enough action or romance to keep us guessing and wanting to read what happens next. I literally read 3/4 of the book in one night without even realising.
Darhower has a fluid writing style that just sucks the reader in and makes them care about the story and characters. The reader becomes invested right up to the very final word.
Knowing this is the first book in a series is quite possibly the best news as even though Sempre ‘could’ stand alone, it leaves far too many loose ends. Haven and Carmine’s story needs to continue and I can’t wait to read more!