Thursday, December 6, 2012

Review: The Devoted by Jonathan Hull

Title: The Devoted
Author: Jonathan Hull
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Dancing Muse Press
Publish Date: August 12, 2012
Source: I received a copy from the PR; however, this did not affect my review.

Why You're Reading This Book:

  • You're a historical fiction fan.
What's the Story?:

From "From wartime Italy to the American West, Jonathan Hull takes readers on a heartrending passage through the lives of three families torn by history and bound by an unshakeable - and at times forbidden - devotion.

Ryan Brooks never forgot the powerful hands that pulled him from the wreckage of his parents' station wagon that summer in 1960 when he was ten and his childhood came to a fiery end during a family vacation. Thirty years later, Ryan returns to Wyoming to thank the dying rancher for saving the life he is still trying to be worthy of. The chilling sight of Mike O'Donnell's deeply scarred hands is just the beginning of Ryan's journey as he soon finds himself caught between the rancher's captivating - and married - daughter, Shannon, and his mysterious Italian wife, Alessandra.

When Mike's deathbed confession sets Ryan on a search for the truth of what really happened the day his parents died, he unearths a long-buried secret that leads to a mountain cave in Northern Italy and Alessandra's dangerous love affair with a haunted young German soldier. As past and present collide in an intricately woven story of love and redemption across generations and continents, Ryan discovers that the answers he seeks are inscribed deep in the hearts of those whose lives - and courage - he must measure against his own."

My Two Cents: 

Oh man, do I love stories about family secrets. They are just so much fun to read! The Devoted definitely was no exception. Spanning several decades, this story is really about love and loss. There is both a more present day story as well as two historical stories. The stories of Ryan's (the main characters parents) are told through love letters, which I thought was a really interesting tactic as this is the only way that we really get to know his parents. The other historical story is about Alessandra, the wife of the man who saves Ryan from the car accident. Alessandra grew up in wartime Italy and seems to be holding back on a lot of stories from her life there, even from her husband, who her daughter believes she never truly loved.

Alessandra's story makes up a lot of the sort of intrigue in this book. Her story is the most interesting to me. This is where the action is! The whole story was pretty well written but this storyline was especially well written and enjoyable to me. It's a lot of twists and turns and entanglements and I really enjoyed it.It's also Alessandra's part of the story where the historical detail really shined through. Historical Fiction lovers who like really good descriptions will enjoy this part of the story a lot.

One thing I didn't care for was the love affair between Ryan and Shannon. Shannon is the daughter of Mike and Alessandra. Ryan goes to meet Mike many years after Mike saved him from a car accident. Mike is dying. I didn't care for the love between them because they seem to fall way too quickly for each other, which I found sort of strange. However, their love affair definitely moved the plot forward in some places so I guess it was there for a reason.

Also, the book skips in time and changes narrators and there wasn't anything at the beginning of the chapter to make that clear, which kind of confused things for me.

Bottom line: Pretty good Historical Fiction full of family secrets.



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