My Hidden Life is the Brothers of Camelot series prequel and the first book in My Life series by Necie Navone. I was really taken with the first book in the Brothers of Camelot, and as a prequel, this is such a fantastic addition to the storyline and ‘bigger picture’ that Ms. Navone is painting.
After the tantalizing snippet that we got at the end of ‘The Only One’, this book has only heightened my interest, even more than it already was. I practically inhaled this book, zipping through it in one sitting because I was desperate to find out what happens, who the elusive Aless was, and how she and Greyson meet. Well this book is far more complex than I had imagined. Yes, I did get some of my answers, but I also got more of Aless’s compelling story- because this book starts from Aless’s early years and works its way through to her later teen years.
Alessandra Canzano was born into an Italian crime family, the only child of the powerful and ruthless Capo (boss). She is their Princess, treated as royalty and living a fairytale life- until her sixth birthday when danger makes itself known, changing her life forever.
Her father had big plans for her right from the moment she was born, but after the events at her sixth birthday, he becomes even more controlling and obsessive. Alessandra’s beloved Uncle was tasked with training her, as he would one of the men. From the age of six she learnt hand to hand combat, then at eight she began weapons training as well. She was to tell no one of her training, or the reasons behind it. She was to keep that part of her life hidden from her mother, grandmother, family and friends.
Aless soon became one of the best fighters in ‘the family’, easily able to out shoot and defeat any of the men in hand to hand combat. But she was also learning a lot more about her family, their business, and the role in it all. She feels the heavy burden of responsibility and expectation, wishing she could just live a normal life. She has one brief encounter with a boy that stays with her long after he’s gone. Holding that moment in her heart and dreaming of a life with someone who loves her passionately.
Although she may be the family Princess, she feels more like a prisoner. The more she learns, the more she questions whether she can be a part of that world anymore. She starts to wonder if she would be better off running away and leaving it all behind. With danger an ever-present part of her life, Aless will have to remain vigilant. She is determined to find a way to avoid what her father has planned. But what can she do? Will she have no choice but to buckle under the pressure to preform to his expectations? What exactly does her father have planned for her? What does she uncover along the way? Where does Greyson fit into all of this? Does she end up staying because she’s afraid of losing everyone she loves? O will she finally escape her gilded prison? What does her future hold?
While we do get some of those answers in this exciting instalment, there is still a lot to uncover in the next book, “My Tragic Life”- which I have already devoured, because I just couldn’t wait to continue Alessandra’s story. Shocks, twists, tragedy, lessons and more await Aless.
Ms. Navone is a wonderful storyteller, weaving a superb story that plucked at my heart strings, had me on the edge of my seat most of the time- whilst also creating characters who came to life, pulling me into their world and holding my attention right through till the end. The story is told from several POV’s which gave the story an extra element of interest. There was a lot going on in this book, lots of action, suspense, some violence, emotion, drama, and just a drop of romance.
Thank you, Ms Navone!
Reviewed by @angelahayes