4 out of 4 stars
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Upon learning of her aunt Dorris's passing, Anna Stark is shocked to notice that she is the sole inheritor of her aunt's apartment in Rome, Italy. Before she has a chance to decide what she will do with the property, her husband, Michael, demands that she sell it and use the money for their daughter's college fund. Anna isn't convinced that she wants to part with the beloved apartment that floods her with memories of her life in Rome.
When Anna receives an email from Sergio Buria, an Italian lover from her younger years, she is quickly transported back to a time in her life that was both passionate and heart-wrenching. They begin corresponding back and forth, and Anna is flooded with memories, reminding her of their tumultuous love affair many years ago.
She must choose between selling the apartment, which would mean severing all ties with her past or running back to Rome.
Nothing Forgotten by Jessica Levine is an emotionally charged story that dissects the inner workings of love and relationships. Is it possible to love and be faithful to one person for your entire life? The book challenges the notion of monogamy by relying heavily on flashbacks of Anna's past with a married man and then fast-forwarding to her marriage with Michael.
The book will remind readers of their first love—the unbridled lust, the intensity of feelings, and willingness to make foolish decisions. Anna's desperation to be with Sergio was thoroughly depicted through the ability to ignore her moral compass. By befriending his soon-to-be-wife, she was being deceptive and putting herself in a dangerous position where she would likely end up heartbroken. By continuing this deplorable behavior and agreeing to be the other woman, she was devaluing her worth. She confessed, "I was doing something morally indefensible—having an affair during the workweek and spending weekends with my lover's fiancée."
While Anna was an excellent choice for a female protagonist, there were a handful of other characters that left a lasting impression on me. Sergio was a complex character—one that I loved to hate. While he had an undeniable charm that was difficult to ignore, he also tended to be reckless with the feelings of those he loved. Olivia was Anna's best friend and Sergio's fiancée; her selflessness and trust in Anna made me adore her and feel sorry for her all at once. Nathan was Anna's goofy roommate, who liked to push her buttons, but when push came to shove, he was the one person who would do anything for her.
Another thing that I loved about the book was Anna's inclination to follow Buddhism to gain clarity in her life. The author expertly weaved in the teachings of Buddha and meditation as a way for Anna to deal with heartbreak.
For the most part, I adored everything about the book. Still, I would have liked to have seen Michael and their daughter play a more significant role in the story. Perhaps, this could have been accomplished by flip-flopping between the past and the present, rather than focusing on the past for the majority of the book.
Nothing Forgotten was professionally edited with no apparent errors in spelling or grammar. The writing was immersive and the characters were captivating, and I have chosen to give it a rating of four out of four stars.
If you are looking for a conventional love story, you will not find it within this book's pages. Never Forgotten uncovers the complexities of relationships—the good, the bad, and the ugly. For mature readers who like books with flawed characters and dysfunctional relationships, this book is for you. The book has several erotic scenes that are thoroughly described and profanity, so I would not recommend it to young readers.
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