In the Shade of the Jacarandaby Nikki Arana
From the award-winning author of The Winds of Sonoma comes this compelling second installment in the Regalo Grande series. When privileged lawyer Angelica Amante marries a handsome but illiterate Mexican stableman against her parents' wishes, she thought their happiness could overcome any hurdle. But their challenges are only beginning. Prenatal tests show troubling information about Angelica's expected baby. Her husband's fledgling landscape business is struggling. And Angelica's lonely, divorced boss takes an interest in her work-too much of an interest. Can the power of love--and prayer--bring Angelica and Antonio to a new place of acceptance and happiness? Romance readers will delight in this story of God's sovereignty, the value of human life, and the importance of commitment.
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.91(d)
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I was eager to pick off the story of Angelica and Antonio where the first book ended. I wanted to know how their relationship would survive because of the radical differences between the two. I was not let down. The book describes how they had to accommodate to not feel like they were letting the other down. Their many adventures held both laughter and tears. There were at times however when I felt very frustrated with Antonio and his way of thinking. Because he is not used to the technology and advances of this country, he would rather have everything simple and does not want Angelica to go through the tests regarding their baby. It just felt that throughout the book, Angelica is in the wrong for wanting to use technology instead of just relying on faith alone. Not that there's anything wrong with having a child like faith, I just felt frustrated that it made her look like the bad person for wanting more instead of just trusting. I did enjoy their relationship and the love they had for each other. The language barrier is not so much a problem anymore although there are obvious culture differences. I also liked how Angelica's parents begin to open up to Antonio even though they still have some resistance toward the relationship. The scene with the cradle was very touching for both ends. I also was intrigued with how Antonio tried to start his own business and the prejudice and stereotyping he faced because of his race. He handled the situation with more dignity than most people would. The story is beautifully written however and the characters are realistic with plot that is very relevant with this time period.
Although at first I doubted the probability of this wealthy girl marrying an uneducated stable hand, Arana handles the story in a way that I believed. She documents the difficulties of an immigrant, and the prejudices, with sensitivity. I found myself drawn to the prayer-warrior grandmother, and I liked how Arana portrayed the woman. The husband, Antonio, while uneducated is intelligent, and untainted by American culture, he reveals a strong, child-like faith. The second book in the Regalo Grande series, In the Shade of the Jacaranda delivers a simple message wrapped in a story of love: Believing IN God isn't enough¿you have to believe God.
In Nikki Arana¿s previous book, The Winds of Sonoma, we bit our nails hoping that Antonio and Angelica would beat the odds, fall in love, and show the world that two disparate individuals can find love and happiness. And so they did. And now, in this masterfully written sequel, Angelica and Antonio Perez fight the odds again. The first years of marriage are difficult enough under the best of circumstances, and for Angelica and Antonio, the challenges abound. Angelica¿s parents disapprove of her marriage. While they can appreciate Antonio¿s work ethic, they still believe him to be beneath their family stature and unworthy of Angelica¿s love. Antonio struggles to study English and support his wife through a fledgling landscaping business, while Angelica must deal with a troublesome boss in trying to re-establish her legal career. Like most newlyweds, the adjustment to the merger of two different upbringings creates roadblocks in and of itself. When that conflict is broadened by cultural and economic variances, the stage is ripe for bitter dispute. Can this marriage survive? When Angelica discovers she is pregnant, the news is at first greeted with great joy. Hope arises that a grandchild will help unite the Amantes with their son-in-law. At the same time, Antonio¿s grandmother makes a fortuitous visit. Although uneducated, her wisdom is steeped in a faith that transcends logic. The young couple will need her prayers and steadfast faith as the the hardest challenges are yet to come. Angelica learns that her baby may have developmental problems. Within this backdrop, Arana weaves an engaging story of simple faith, expertly showing the difference between knowing of God and believing in Him for all things in our lives. Through emotionally gripping scenes and sympathetic portrayal, the reader identifies with all the main characters, feeling their struggles and pain.
Her family, especially her parents, and her friends still wonder why Angelica Amante, daughter of a renowned wealthy heart surgeon, would marry an illiterate poor Mexican stable laborer (see THE WINDS OF SONOMA). In spite of the whisperers that he is fortunate to have her, she feels lucky to have an honest caring partner as her spouse as Antonio is that and more to her. --- However, this is not a fairy tale in which the Perez duo lives happily ever after. Life is filled with setbacks. As defense attorney Angelica becomes pregnant, Antonio¿s landscaping business looks doomed to failure. When her doctor tells her she needs to rest more and work less or jeopardize the health of her unborn, her boss demands more of her. Even her parents have doubts about having a grandchild that could serve as the anchor to a marriage they oppose while Antonio worries how he will feed his two charges with his business on the brink of bankruptcy. Love no longer seems enough, but their belief in God might give Angelica and Antonio the inner strength to get through a marital crisis. --- As with THE WINDS OF SONOMA, IN THE SHADE OF THE JACARANDA is inspirational the way it should be told. The insightful story line contains a fabulous cast struggling with bringing a baby into the world at a time when finances are low and loving relationships are falling apart under pressure. Nikki Arana provides a fascinating character-driven tale of multifaceted faith in oneself, loved ones, and God that enable light to shine when everything seems darkest at a time that should be filled with euphoria. --- Harriet Klausner