Friday, November 5, 2010

TODOS SANTOS by Deborah Clearman

Publisher: Black Lawrence Press
Date published: August 2010
ISBN: 978-0982520406
Reviewed by Valerie
Obtained by publisher

Catherine Barnes is an artist and children’s book illustrator. She is also a mother to 14-year-old Isaac and a wife to Elliot who is a professor at the University. Elliot has been having some clandestine relationships with his students, and Isaac has just failed eighth grade. So she packs her bags, takes her son and travels to Guatemala for the summer. There she deposits her son with her sister-in-law Zelda, hires a guide and goes to the mountains, to a village called Todos Santos. Catherine’s adventures have just begun. She gets closer to her guide, Oswaldo. Her son is kidnapped. She is accused of being a baby-snatcher and she feels she will never be able to complete the research on her new book. But, Catherine’s adventures take her down a road of self discovery too.

This is an interesting and deep story. The setting is vividly described so that the reader gets a clear picture of the beautiful and not-so-beautiful sights of Guatemala. Ms Clearman also gives her reader a vivid insight into the people of the village, their fears, beliefs and joys. In this story, you are taken beyond the picture postcard ideal of Guatemala. I enjoyed going on this adventure with Catherine, even though it was sometimes heartbreaking and scary. I enjoyed all the characters. They seemed very real and believable. This is not only an exotic trip to another country, but the age-old story of a mother’s love and the need to protect. This isn’t the kind of book I would voluntary pick up, but I am glad I got the opportunity to read it. I think readers will enjoy the adventure too.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.

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