Reviewer Amy Lignor: Amy is the author of a historical fiction novel entitled The Heart of a Legend, and Mind Made, a work of science fiction. Presently, she is writing an adventure series set in the New York Public Library, as well as a teen fiction series, The Angel Chronicles. She is an avid traveler and has been fortunate to have journeyed across the USA, where she has met the most amazing people, who truly bring life and soul to her books. She lives in the Land of Enchantment (for now) with her gorgeous daughter, Shelby, her wonderful Mom, Mary, and the greatest friend and critic in the entire world - her dog, Reuben
Author: Jen Bryant
I was beyond pleased to receive a novel about an extremely intense, volatile romance between two young adults…and there wasn’t a vampire fang between them. In fact, this highly-entertaining author has drawn on the classic story of Carmen to create this contemporary version that will truly speak to teens and parents alike.
Ryan and Will have been best friends since grade school; they’re currently cadets at the Valley Forge Military Academy. Talk about complete opposites: Ryan is a young man who comes from a long line of proud, military men who’ve served their country well. His brother is currently on his second tour of Iraq; and, his father – Papa Sweeney – is a man who you must always salute before leaving the room. The weight of his family’s legacy is heavy on Ryan’s shoulders, and he spends most of his time busting his “medals” in order to get straight A’s to make his father proud, and head on to West Point. Will, on the other hand, is a handsome young boy who likes to have a good time. Although he does appreciate Ryan for helping him to change his ways a bit and make something out of his life, Will still likes the little things – like selling confiscated cigarettes to the other cadets for extra money.
This is where our tale truly begins. Poor Will is losing his cigarette “connection,” which means he will soon also lose all his extra income. Ryan and Will are considering this new dilemma as they walk into the local sandwich shop to order their lunches, Will flirts a bit with the front counter girl, who is just about the most beautiful female either of them have ever seen. In the blink of an eye, and a short conversation, Will gets a carton of cigarettes, Ryan gets a rose from the stunning girl, and they walk out.
Carmen and Maggie are two friends who have also known each other a long, long time. They live across the street from each other, and both have been transferred from the sandwich shop located in the working-class “hard hat” area to the newest store in Valley Forge – a swanky neighborhood filled with money and handsome cadets. Maggie comes from a huge family who all love to stick their nose into her business, whereas Carmen comes from a much odder background. One day, when she was a baby, her mother appeared on her grandparent’s doorstep, dropped her off, and simply…disappeared. Carmen has grown up a great deal like her mother; she has that itch in her to wander the world, and never wants to be tied down or stopped from doing what she wants to do. She is the lead singer for a band called The Gypsy Lovers, and she boasts a dragon tattoo on her arm that seems to be able to foresee the future.
It’s as if the fates brought Ryan – the handsome cadet – into the store that day. Carmen was intrigued by Will, who was extremely funny. But the other, quieter boy was even more interesting, especially when she gave him a rose and his cheeks turned as red as the flower, itself.
The story that follows is, at times, lovely; and, at other times, extremely frightening. It is amazing how utterly possessive or completely obsessed a person can become with another. The story of Ryan and Carmen’s relationship really makes you think of how something so simple – a word, a gesture, the wink of an eye – can be taken as far more than what it was originally meant to be. In addition, as with the original, the freedom that Carmen wanted so desperately was also something she was extremely afraid of because, in the end, ultimate freedom can also produce a lifetime of loneliness. A lot of great lessons are taught in this extremely entertaining story. Enjoy!
Click Here To Purchase The Fortune of Carmen Navarro