Customer Reviews for

Broken Paradise: A Novel

Average Rating 4.5
( 7 )
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  • Posted June 11, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    LOVED THIS STORY I loved this story, the author has a beautiful

    LOVED THIS STORY
    I loved this story, the author has a beautiful way of writing, you feel your on the warm beach in Cuba. All the characters are so well written and blend in the story perfectly. Nobody leaves their home Country because they want to, there is always a reason, its very very difficult to leave family and friends and start your life in a new country. Loved Nora, Alicia and Beba. Cecilia Samartin is one of my favorite authors and I thank her for her beautiful stories.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2014

    Awesome!

    My favorite! Great story & characters that keep you longing for more!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2008

    Great Book!

    This book has it all: historical and cultural insight, suspense, vivid imagery, characters that become real and a story that engages you from beginning to end. I was so incredibly disappointed for the book to end. I hated not being able to spend more time with these characters. Be sure to read this author's second novel (Tarnished Beauty) as well. If you're not reading Cecilia Samartin you should be!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2007

    'Fear doesn't float...But courage...not only floats, it flies.'

    Cecilia Samartin blooms in the garden of new novelists as a rare and exotic species of flower, a gifted artist whose talent is mature, making it difficult to believe that BROKEN PARADISE is a first novel. Samartin bears watching: she seems to have the gifts of such authors as Isabel Allende and Carlos Eire among others - very fine company for any writer. Samartin offers a story of two cousins - Nora and Alicia - who were born into status and money in Cuba during the Batista years, witnessed the Revolution led by Fidel Castro, and suffered the ultimate results of the changes that revolution brought to the citizens of Cuba: Nora, the pragmatic one, escaped to the USA to live in Los Angeles with her parents while Alicia, the beautiful one, stayed behind, falling in love with a revolutionary black man Tony whom she married and gave birth to a blind child Lucinda, caring for her daughter after Tony's disillusionment with the revolution lead to his imprisonment. The two cousins continue their bonded relationship via letters and through these letters we are able to visualize the gradual crumbling of life and sustenance in Havana, the extremes to which the ever-optimistic Alicia must submit in order to maintain life, and the manner in which the two cousins reunite in Cuba years later, a time when the conditions of the current life in Cuba sadly separate them forever. Gabriel Garcia Marquez once wrote 'Life is not what one lived, but what one remembers and how one remembers it in order to recount it': Samartin's gift is the ability to invite us into the lives of her characters and allows us to create our own memories of what we have been told. Samartin's writing style is a dichotomy of tone. When she is telling the lives of the girls and their wondrously colorful families and extended families caught up in the paradise that was Cuba, her language is apropos to the tenor and rhythm and illusion of life as a child speaks it. When the Revolution changes (or 'breaks') the paradise, the maturing girls speak with the reality of adults, able to perceive the realities of the changed land and psyches of the people. This movement from the child's voice to the adult's narration is subtle but secure and adds enormously to the credibility of the novel's flow. 'Some people sell their bodies and others sell their souls' Nora tacitly observes as she returns to her beloved Cuba of the past to care for Alicia now fading from disease (presumably AIDS) she contracted in her only way of providing money for her imprisoned husband and blind child. The needs for sustaining life meet the needs for preserving soul and it is this pungent message that Samartin weaves through her novel. No matter what version of the 'change' in Cuba each reader may own, Cecilia Samartin invites us to revisit a paradise broken by a hopeful change from the Batista reign into the Castro communism. She paints her version with words in a way few authors can or have: Cuba is her native home, Los Angeles her adopted one. She is a very bright light beginning to glow in the literary world and we can only hope she is already at work on her next novel! Highly recommended. Grady Harp

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2007

    Very impressive!

    I have read countless books in my day - novels, biographies, histories, but there have only been a handful of instances when I did not want to reach the end of the book. This was one of those times. Samartin has an evocative writing style, with an ability to expressively convey joy, passion, & pain, and at the same time bring that era into sharp focus. I was dazzled.

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