5 stars for Agave Blues: a novel by @MarleneeRuthie #literaryfiction #fiction #bookreview
Title: Agave Blues: a novel
Author: Ruthie Marlenée
Genre: Literary Fiction
"...Marlenée keeps up a wondrous, life-affirming ambiance." — Publishers Weekly
Mix together a little family, drama, ghosts, and tequila, and you get a hell of a cocktail! Sometimes, la sangre atrae, "the blood calls you back," and when Maya gets the call to go back to her agave roots to claim the body of her long-missing father, her world changes forever. Set against the backdrop of her childhood in Mexico, Agave Blues is the story of ailing attorney Maya, in a broken relationship and butting heads with her teenage daughter, Lily. Maya swore never to return, but once she sets foot on mystical grounds, she uncovers her family's turbulent history and how tequila infuses deep secrets that have altered her life, both emotionally and physically. She realizes what's missing in her life―magic, mystery, art, unconditional love, and the stories of her past, including the myth her father used to share with her about her grandfather, Pancho Villa. The fields seem to heal her and her relationships, so she extends her stay and reconnects with her family. But when she encounters the handsome yet haunted Antonio, a childhood crush resurfaces, only to cause her more grief as she tries to master the art of tequila. Ruthie Marlenée is the Mexican-American author of Isabela's Island and Curse of the Ninth and is currently working on the sequel, And Still Her Voice. Marlenée's work can be found in several literary publications. She was born and raised in Orange County, California, and lives in Los Angeles and the desert in the Coachella Valley with her husband. ~~~~Praise for Agave Blues~~~~ "Fighting tooth and nail at work, in her love life, and in US culture, Maya is having a rough time. Despite her success as an attorney, she feels like an outsider, ashamed of her Mexican heritage. Called back to Mexico due to her father’s death, Maya rekindles her joy and revels in the deep well of mystery and magic in her culture, past, and history. She grapples with what has haunted and hindered her and heals parts of herself she didn’t know needed healing. By the end of this rich, evocative novel, you will come full-circle with Maya as she finds ‘home' in all ways possible. A wonderful read." — Jessica Barksdale Inclán, author of 15 novels including The Play’s the Thing, The Burning Hour, Her Daughter's Eyes, The Matter of Grace, and When You Believe.
Sometimes the best way to reconnect with your true self is to go back to your roots. Maya vowed to never go back to Mexico but when she gets a telephone call of her father’s death and how she needs to claim the body, she goes on a road trip with her daughter. There, she embraces all that has been missing in her life while also learning the art of tequila making. She allows the mystical land of her family to transform her while coming to terms with her own insecurities, her family’s dark secrets, and reconciling her own relationship with her daughter. She even reconnects with an old crush, Antonio. Maya must learn the difference between going through life ashamed and accepting of her heritage and what life is really all about. After living so long in America and never feeling at home, has Maya finally found a place to call home?
Agave Blues: a novel is a beautiful, poignant piece of fiction from start to finish. Once I started reading, I couldn’t stop. Maya is a character most any reader can identify with and connect with on so many levels. Her shame over her heritage casts far-reaching consequences and the journey to discover her path was so well-written, I cried several times. The journey of self-discovery is interwoven in the descriptive narration, and I was captivated the whole time while reading. The plot moves at a perfect pace with plenty of characters to interact with. The setting in Mexico is beautifully described. I thoroughly enjoyed the tequila-making details. Ruthie Marlenée is a gifted writer who pours her heart and soul into her writing. Once you start reading, you won’t be able to stop. If you’re looking for a moving story about life, love, and home, pick up Agave Blues: a novel. Highly recommend!
My Rating: 5 stars
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Ruthie Marlenée is the Mexican-American author of Agave Blues, Isabela's Island and Curse of the Ninth and is currently working on the sequel, And Still Her Voice. A Pushcart nominee, Marlenée's work can be found in several literary publications. She was born and raised in Orange County, California, and lives in Los Angeles and the desert in the Coachella Valley with her husband.
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Reviewed by: Mrs. N