Hello all! It’s Friday! Just finished with The Price of Paradise by Susana Lopez Rubio, a Spanish author. Here is my book review!!
In a city as corrupt as it was luxurious, those who dared to dream were bound to pay the price.
Havana, Cuba, 1947. Young Patricio flees impoverished Spain and steps into the sultry island paradise of Havana with only the clothes on his back and half-baked dreams of a better life. Blessed with good looks and natural charm, he lands a job as a runner at El Encanto—one of the most luxurious department stores in the world.
Famous for its exquisite offerings from French haute couture to Arabian silks, El Encanto indulges the senses in opulent extravagance. It caters to visiting Hollywood stars, rising politicos, and prerevolutionary Cuba’s wealthiest power players, including the notorious mobster César Valdés.
Falling in love with the mobster’s young wife, Gloria, is suicide. But Patricio is irresistibly drawn to the beautiful girl with sad eyes, a razor-sharp intellect, and a penchant for both Christian Dior’s clothes and Einstein’s theories. Within the walls of El Encanto, anything seems possible, even a love that promises to heal them and a desire that thrums with the mambo beat of the city itself.
In a reckless love affair that spans half a century, Patricio’s and Gloria’s lives entwine time and again, challenged by every twist of fate—for in a world of murder, betrayal, and revolution, those who dare to reach for paradise seldom survive unscathed.
- Print Length: 374 pages
- Publisher: Amazon Crossing (June 1, 2019)
- Publication Date: June 1, 2019
- Genre : Historical Fiction/ Romance
Susana López Rubio was born in Madrid, Spain, in 1978. She is a screenwriter who wrote the popular television adaptation of the novel Time In Between by María Dueñas. She writes short stories for adults and children.
I got this book free from Amazon during the “World Book Day”. This is a historical fiction, set in late 1940’s in Cuba. Patricio, the main protagonist of the story flees from impoverished Spain and moved to Cuba, in the hope of a better life. He gets a job as a clerk in a well reputed and prestigious department store in Cuba, El Encanto. While working in the store, he meets a beautiful girl named Gloria. The two first become friends and eventually starts a love affair secretly. But there’s a problem. Gloria is the wife of the notorious mafia gang leader, Cesar Valdez who is known to be ruthless, violent and cruel, feared by many people. What will happen if Cesar finds out about their affair? The story continues with how both their lives are entwined as Cuba is going through political changes and in a world of murder and corruption.
This is just going to be a lazy review so I will just say in point form.
- The author seemed have done tremendous research on the lifestyles of rich and poor in Cuba during the 1940’s till the Cuban Revolution in 1958. Rich people seemed to be enjoying a luxurious lifestyles and splendor in Havana while poor people seemed to be struggling with day to day activities. This was outlined in Gloria’s lifestyle as she is married to a rich mafia and enjoying a lifestyle of luxury (though she doesn’t really) and Patricio who is struggling with the money.
- As a reader, I learned a lot about the Cuban culture (like the fact that the children are dancing in the rain), many of the names of the Cuban cuisine. We also learned about the politics in Cuba–from being having a corrupted dictatorship regime to communism. As such, I learned a lot about Cuba and in my mental image,I felt as if I am in Cuba with Patricio and Gloria.
- The story was told from Patricio’s and Gloria’s perspectives so we get to know what each of them thinks about each other.
- I also like the friendship between Patricio and the two men that Patricio befriended after arriving to Cuba. Even after Patricio flees from Cuba, I like how he maintains his friendship, showing strong bond between the three friends.
- I like how Patricio, though he is not a Cuban embraces Cuba as if it is his own country and how much he misses being in Cuba.
- I like the relationship between Patricio and Gloria–how their innocent friendship soon turns into a romantic affair. Sometimes, as a reader, I was afraid of them getting caught!
- The only bad side about this book was, it was a bit too long but I enjoyed reading the book nonetheless
Overall, this is a good romantic historical fiction, learned really a lot about Cuba and its culture. Worth five stars!