Author: Belle Malory
Genre: Drama, Romance, Fantasy
Rating: 3/5 Stars
"Lola Moori is hiding a secret she doesn't know she's keeping. She begins to remember someone. Someone important. His name is Gabe…and whatever they shared, she could feel that it was epic. Yet it seems Gabe wanted her to forget him. Forever. The curse that repressed Lola’s memories for the span of several lifetimes is coming undone. But unfortunately, she discovers that some secrets are better left buried."
I don't know what it is about gypsies that just freaks me right out. Maybe it's because my grandma used to threaten to "sell me to the gypsies" when I misbehaved or maybe it's because in every movie ever made about gypsies some idiot messes with one and ends up with some horrible curse. I don't know, but whatever the reason, the whole idea just gives me the willies. So when I came across this self-published love story about gypsies I had my reservations. Luckily for me, the story wasn't all that scary so I was able to read on and actually enjoyed this book!
The story centers around Lola, a gypsy girl on the run from her father who wants to sell her into prostitution (real nice dad!). She ends up at her grandmother's house in Florida where she meets the devastatingly handsome Gabe. She is inexplicably drawn to him and we find out this is because they were lovers in a past life (Lola has no memories of her past lives unlike other gypsies who remember everything). Gabe, remembering the love he has for Lola, tries and tries to get her to be with him again but she is resistant until she finds out that some of her memories could prove dangerous for them both.
Let me start off with what I liked about this book. The story was unique. I haven't read a ton of books about past lives but it is an interesting concept and the way that Malory uses it in this story is charming. Lola's inability to remember anything about her past lives and Gabe's painful realization that she cannot feel the depths of what he does because she has not lived it like he has is truly a heartbreaking concept. I also like that Lola doesn't just drop everything and run headlong into his well-toned arms the second she finds out who he is. It adds a bit of realism to an otherwise fantastic tale. Lola is a very sympathetic character. She is not whiny, helpless or bratty. She is self-reliant and strong but has some depth and vulnerability as well.
Now, onto the not so great parts of the book. The grammar! This is a big one for me. There were times, while reading this, that the grammar was pretty poor. Now, I'm not accusing Malory of having bad grammar throughout the book. On the contrary, most of it was very well-written, which made the parts that were bad puzzling. There was a lot of ending sentences in prepositions, spelling confusion and even some subject-verb agreement issues. Then again, maybe I'm just being a stick in the mud. Another thing I didn't like about this book was that there wasn't a great payoff with the relationship. Without giving anything away, I didn't feel like Lola and Gabe ever had the big, emotional talk or moment that I had been waiting to see. They sort of just went back and forth with the "I love you, but I can't love you" deal for most of the book. Along the same lines, I didn't feel like Malory really explained how the relationship came to be during the past lives. I would have like for her to delve into that a little more. Finally, there was one conversation that really irked me. When Lola finally sees her dad again they have the obligatory conversation about the whole prostitution thing (yeah no big deal). The problem is that instead of a big dramatic confrontation, it plays out like an episode of a mid-90s sitcom. Basically she calls him out on trying to pimp his own daughter and he brushes it off like she's accusing him of leaving the milk out on the counter all night. She should respond by being furious and maybe beating him with a pipe or something. Instead she kind of shrugs her shoulders like "well, that's just dad!" (studio audience applauds, roll credits). I mean come on! We're talking about parental neglect and human trafficking here among other things! Then again, that's just my opinion.
Overall, though, I really did enjoy this book and I will probably read the next one "Fortell" when it comes out. This is a good rainy day book and you do feel connected to the characters. Especially for a first novel, this is a welcome addition to the bookshelf.