2 out of 4 stars
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Love Across Lifetimes is a romance story by Debbie Ng. The story follows Raphaela, a young woman with a troubled past. Years ago, she ran away from home to escape abuse and neglect. Now, her life is great. She has a circle of supportive friends, she’s continuing her education, and she is following her passion for horseback riding. She is also pursuing a relationship with someone. In the midst of this, she meets a handsome cowboy named Octavio. The connection she has with him is very intense. She feels like they have a deep soul connection, almost as if they have been with each other in a past life. This feeling causes her to break up with her boyfriend. Before long, she is swept up in a whirlwind romance with Octavio. However, many challenges await these two lovers before they can be together forever. The question is whether they will be able to overcome them in this lifetime.
What I liked most about this story was the exotic setting. The story was set on the beautiful islands of Hawaii. I enjoyed reading about the different islands, the beaches, the food, and the culture of the Hawaiian people. One of the most interesting Hawaiian traditions I learned of was that relatives scatter shredded plumeria flowers in the ocean to honor the life of a deceased loved one. Portuguese and Native American elements were also included in the story. These made the book more culturally dynamic and interesting.
Another thing that I liked about this book was that the author made the book seem more than just a simple romance story. She did this by including poems at the beginning of each chapter. There was also a request for readers to look up the lyrics of a particular song which embodied the love between Raphaela and Octavio. This was the first time I read a book where an author incorporated music and poetry together with storytelling. Furthermore, astrology and reincarnation were integrated into the story. This gave it a mystical twist. I was fascinated by these aspects of Raphaela and Octavio’s love.
What I liked least about this book was the author’s conversational style of writing. This resulted in a story that was written very informally. Some sentences were lengthy and incoherent. A few of the terms used were also informal, such as ‘chicken skin’ which referred to goosebumps and ‘slippahs’ which referred to ‘slippers’. Additionally, the second half of the book seemed slow because the author included many insignificant details of the characters’ lives. Whether Raphaela brushed her teeth, overslept or took a shower wasn’t really relevant to the story. These details only prolonged the book unnecessarily.
Furthermore, I did not appreciate the multitude of errors that detracted from my reading experience. The two main types of errors I noticed were run-on lines and poor punctuation such as missing apostrophes. This combination of errors, the informal writing style, and the inclusion of irrelevant details made the entire book seem messy. However, these were balanced out by the exotic setting and the incorporation of poetry, music, and mysticism. Therefore, I am rating this book 2 out of 4 stars. Love Across Lifetimes will appeal to adult readers who like romance stories with a twist, but people who don’t like reading about abuse, neglect, and infidelity may not enjoy this book at all.
Love Across Lifetimes
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