Book: Fiesta of Smoke by Suzan Still
Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance
For: Book Tour
From: TLC Book Tours
You know, whenever I get an email from TLC saying "Hey, Suey! I think you'll LOVE this book!" I have a hard time passing it up because... they are pretty much almost always right!
And this book was no exception. A book and author I'd never heard of, and now I'm giving it five stars? When I first saw how big it was I was a bit worried and thought, oh man, can I fit this thing in right now? Well, I blazed right through it and loved every bit of it.
This book is one of those sweeping sort of stories that covers a lot of time and territory. It follows three main characters throughout their lives and how they all connect eventually in the end. Along the way, we get many different flashbacks to other times in each of their lives, including stories within stories that they were told as they were growing up or learning or experiencing different things.
However, the main year of the story is 1992, the main location is Mexico (and a little bit of Paris) and the main conflict is the Mexican Revolution, where toward the end everything comes together in a harrowing, nail-biting climax worthy of any movie!
Speaking of movies, I couldn't help thinking a bit of Romancing the Stone while reading this book! (Switch out Michael Douglas with Antonio Banderas, change the place from Columbia to Mexico and bam!) And while the details are quite a bit different, it has that same sort of feel to it! It also reminded me a bit of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's books, only with just a touch of that magic realism stuff that is really awesome when it comes in small doses! Know what I mean?
The book starts out in Paris where a newsman named Hill happens upon our heroine, Calypso, an American writer, who appears to be running away from something or someone. He falls pretty much instantly in love with her and they talk and talk for the evening, and then she disappears. He is now obsessed with finding out more about her and learning her back story. We follow him on this quest which takes him all over the place, meeting all sorts of interesting people, and ending in Mexico.
Meanwhile, we ourselves, are learning the details of her story, which includes going to college at Berkeley when suddenly this Mexican kid (named Javier) shows up at her door. She, for some crazy reason, lets him stay. He is Gorgeous (yes with a capitol G!) and so of course, Calypso cannot resist and they hook up and it appears they fall deeply madly in love.
But then some really bad stuff happens (read the book!) and he disappears... for YEARS! She goes on with her life, which ends up quite miserable, because all she can think about is Javier.
Meanwhile, he is having quite the many adventures himself, but all he can think about is Calypso! Oh, and leading a revolution of course!
Oh my word! It's so good! The writing is totally wonderful with that rich, beautiful, flowing style that makes you feel totally immersed in the story and the world and feel the passion and emotions of these fascinating characters. They are truly something and it was a blast to read their story and feel all these things right along with them. It's one of the best overall romance stories I've read in a long long time. I totally loved it.
For those squeamish sorts of readers, do beware, there's some graphic and disturbing scenes and some strong language now and then. But for me, it had a place and was not abused, which I appreciated.
Bottom line: This book was a blast to read and I loved every minute of it.
Hey and you are all so lucky because for just one more day (through today the 17th) you can grab this book for your Kindle at Amazon for only $1.99! Totally worth it!
Also, if you are interested in winning her previous book, Commune of Women, leave me a comment here (tell me a favorite historical fiction book that you've read) and I'll randomly choose a winner and the TLC people will send you a book!
If you'd like to see what others have to say about Fiesta of Smoke, check out the list of reviews here over at the TLC site. And be sure to drop by the author Suzan Still's, website and say hi!