Saturday, June 8, 2013

The Devoted by Jonathan Hull

5 Star

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.

Sabrina-Kate - 5 Star

I have to admit, I was a bit skeptical about this book at the beginning as I am not the world's biggest historical fiction fan. I also feel that the blurb on the back on the book (and on websites where you can purchase the book) does not do this book justice. Not at all, not even close. And I am happy to say that I was pleasantly surprised by The Devoted and that, in the end, I had trouble putting down.

I loved the way Hull wove together the stories of all of the people involved in this story whether their lives directly intersected or not. There were definitely many things that ended up surprising me when they were revealed in the plot but everything fit together in such a sensible and wonderful way that I have to say Jonathan Hull is a master storyteller in my opinion.

Sometimes when author skip between characters and even characters of different sexes, I find that the characters are not well represented but I can attest to the fact that I never felt this while reading this book. Whether he was telling Ryan's story or Alessandra's (present and past), both characters were so well written and described that you could relate to both of them despite the fact that they are very different and only connected by an isolated and very terrible incident many years previous.

The dialogue and descriptions were rich and powerful with many lines in the book that captured me and made me think, "What a great way to put that," and I would sometimes go back and read a section again as I enjoyed the words so very much. The entire book felt very sincere and heartfelt, almost like the author was writing a true story about his own life.

This story had many twists and turns and again, much of it was unexpected, especially the ending that truly brought everything together. I can't recommend The Devoted enough as it was definitely an unexpected jewel.

Thank you to Jonathan Hull for our review copy. All opinions are our own. 

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