In this novel set in the ’70s and early ’80s, a free-spirited American girl struggles to fit in on a coffee plantation in the Colombian Andes.
Debut novelist MacKinnon tells the story of Alicia Collier, a young woman with no particular home and little connection to her family… Alicia has lived all over the world, especially South America … By the time she begins college in Virginia, she has spent more time outside the U.S. than in it, so it’s no surprise when she decides to follow her Colombian boyfriend, Jorge, to his country for the summer… Alicia rapidly becomes a part of the Carvallo coffee farm and, after a series of calamities, ends up running it alone… That is, until Peter Shalmers arrives from America. .. As he accepts hospitality from the Carvallo family, he and Alicia gravitate toward each other. An aspiring botanist, Alicia … (takes) Peter on tours of the forest, and her affection for him grows beyond her control. In the midst of this familial and romantic drama are many compelling, detailed descriptions of the rain forest. MacKinnon brings to life the forest’s flora and fauna, the ominous and ever-present wildlife, and the tribal people hiding in the forest. The author’s meticulous detail and knowledge of the locale bring a unique richness to the novel…through the glory of the surroundings she describes.
A quiet romantic adventure well-suited for those who enjoy travelogues.
Kirkus Reviews is a well-respected book review magazine that has been around for at least 80 years. Librarians and bookstores rely on their critiques and getting a positive review is coveted by writers so I am delighted to receive this review. I also received a review on Goodreads from a Canadian writer that has me glowing:
(excerpted) This well-written, riveting plot captures strong elements of friendship, love, freedom, perseverance and endurance amid all the physical and emotional challenges, heartache and pain. The pages of this novel are filled with the beauty, the grandeur, the sights and sounds of nature in the Andean cloud forest.
The characters are well-developed, their personalities adding depth and dimension to a story that’s heartwarming and emotionally-riveting. Alicia is an educated, lovely young woman with a soft-heart, who’s determined, capable and stubborn. She befriends Carmen, the Carvallo’s housekeeper, an illiterate, earthy Colombian woman with strong maternal instincts . Together they form an unshakeable bond that transcends class and nationality…The strength of this story not only lies in a well-developed plot and characters but in the sense of historical, political and economic change that affects Colombia and its people in the late 1900’s. It’s a fascinating and moving story…see the full review on Goodreads.com review.
I feel like here is a reader that really understands what the book is about and nothing is more rewarding to an author – but she went the extra mile and wrote so eloquently. Thank you Wendy from Ontario. It has been a good week!