Title: Legend of the Lost Ass
Author: Karen Winters Schwartz
Genre: Literary Fiction, Historical Fiction, Women’s Fiction
The missent text I think we should take it through Guatemala inspires agoraphobic adventure novelist, Colin, to leave the safety of his NY apartment. First stop is Brownsville, Texas, where he meets the sender of the text, a half-Mayan woman named Luci, who, at thirty, has yet to confront her role in the death of her father when she was six. They instantly find each other annoying. He also meets a bright orange Kubota tractor named Miss Mango and Luci’s ancient but feisty Great Uncle Ernesto. It’s Ernesto’s dream that Miss Mango be driven to Belize as an atonement to his family, which he abandoned nearly seventy years prior.
In 1949, British Honduras, seventeen-year-old Ernesto falls painfully in love with Michaela, an American redhead nearly twice his age. Their brief but intense affair changes everything Ernesto has ever known. When she leaves, Ernesto is devastated. Determined to find her, he “borrows” a donkey from his uncle and starts off for Texas. He meets a flamboyant fellow traveler, and the three of them—two young men and the donkey they name Bee—make their way to the States.
Past and present unfold in two parallel journeys where newly formed friendships and circumstances resolve past traumas, responsibilities, and sorrows.
Adventure writer Colin receives an inviting text from a woman he doesn’t know. I think we should take it through Guatemala. Curiosity gets the better of him and he decides to take a leap of faith and reply. Before he knows what’s happening, he’s meeting Luci and a bright orange tractor affectionately known as Miss Mango. He also meets Luci’s great uncle Ernesto. While Colin dislikes Luci immediately, he loves the adventure Ernesto plans for them all. So off they travel to Belize to atone for Ernesto’s past mistakes and bring a fractured family back together. Will Colin find what he’s searching for and more importantly, will he see what’s awaits him if he follows his heart? Will Luci mend her family’s rift and her own scarred heart? Will Ernesto finally get closure and right his past mistakes?
Legend of the Lost Ass is a beautiful story on love, loss, friendships, and making amends. Life is an adventure and this theme is clearly presented in this tale. Told from two distinct time periods, the reader sees into the past to understand the present. At the heart of the story is a bright orange tractor named Miss Mango. She is symbolic of so many things, depending on which character you ask. But for me, she represents the essence of life. Descriptive, almost poetic narration breathes life into the story and makes for a lush reading experience. I found myself spellbound the more I delved into the story. The characters leap from the pages. While reading, Fans of Joanne Harris will soak up this lush piece of fiction. Highly recommend!
My Rating: 5 stars
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Karen Winters Schwartz wrote her first truly good story at age seven. Her second-grade teacher publicly and falsely accused her of plagiarism. She did not write again for forty years.
Her widely praised novels include WHERE ARE THE COCOA PUFFS?, 2010; REIS’S PIECES, 2012; and THE CHOCOLATE DEBACLE, 2014 (Goodman Beck Publishing). Her new novel, LEGEND OF THE LOST ASS, was released by Red Adept Publishing on July 21, 2020.
Educated at The Ohio State University, Karen and her husband moved to the Central New York Finger Lakes region where they raised two daughters and shared a career in optometry. She now splits her time between Arizona, a small village in Belize, and traveling the earth in search of the many creatures with whom she has the honor of sharing this world. This is her second year as a Rising Star judge. Author website: http://www.karenwintersschwartz.com/
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Reviewed by: Mrs. N