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One Hot Summer

One Hot Summer

3.5 6
by Carolina Garcia-Aguilera, Carolina Aguilera Garcia
Margarita—along with her 30-something Cuban-American friends Vivian and Anabel—is still trying to figure it all out. DO the right pair of Manolo Blahniks equal happiness? Margarita is pretty sure that an empty life can't be filled simply with material pleasures. SO when she begins to fall back in love with her old college flame, jeopardizing the strong


Margarita—along with her 30-something Cuban-American friends Vivian and Anabel—is still trying to figure it all out. DO the right pair of Manolo Blahniks equal happiness? Margarita is pretty sure that an empty life can't be filled simply with material pleasures. SO when she begins to fall back in love with her old college flame, jeopardizing the strong marriage she prides herself on, her world starts to rumble. Will Margarita throw away everything she ha worked so hard to build with her husband and young son, for the love and passion of her life? Or will she tuck her passionate love life back into the history books, along with her fast-track legal career, in order to be the perfect stay-at-home wife both her husband and her old-fashioned mother want her to be?

Witnessing Margarita's and her friends' lives transform from crippling self-doubt to powerful self-doscovery—with some side-splitting comedic romps in between—One Hot Summer is the summer's hottest read. It's the story of three women trying to get it right—and having some fun along the way.

About the Author:
Carolina Garcia-Aguilera, born in Cuba, was a private investigator for ten years and eventually turned to writing full time. Her previous books include Bloody Waters, Bloody Shame, Bloody Secrets, A Miracle in Paradise, Havana Heat, and Bitter Sugar—all wonderfully acclaimed mysteries in the Lupe Solano series. In 1999, she was awarded the Flamingo Award, and in 2001, she was honored with the Shamus Award.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
On her way to a wake in Coral Gables from her Miami Beach home one July evening, 35-year-old Margarita Solana savors her purchase of a new black dress with practical joie de vivre. Margarita has the proverbial everything: she enjoys a successful career as an immigration lawyer and a good marriage to a handsome, successful self-made Cuban lawyer who adores her; their life in the upper-class Cuban-American enclave is enviably comfortable. The only question troubling her is whether she should resume her career now that she's reaching the end of parental leave following the birth of her son. Her husband, Ariel, and her mother are encouraging her to have another child, but what does she truly want? Things heat up when Luther Simmonds, her gorgeous, Anglo college boyfriend and first love reappears, intent on winning her back. Even after a visit to her psychic, Margarita can't decide whether to change her life, but soon questions about adultery and other moral choices are inevitable. Meanwhile, her best girlfriendsVivian, an attorney, and Anabel, an architectare facing decisions of their own. Garcia-Aguilera perfectly captures the conflicts of these cosseted Cuban-American women. Her tongue-in-cheek humor enlivens the situations she describes with intimate familiarity, and she treads gently around other aspects of the exile experience (including the Eliyn Gonzalez case). Despite Margarita's emotional conflicts, the outcome is never seriously in doubt, but no matter, it's how she reaches it that provides this zesty tale with its sparkle. Garcia-Aguilera's Miami sleuth, Lupe Solano (Havana Heat and Bitter Sugar), has won her the Flamingo and Shamus Awards. By sticking to a world she knows well, the author has produced another crowd pleaser. (June 18) Forecast: The Cuban-American demographic Garcia-Aguilera writes about here will gleefully recognize themselves, and snap this upexpect exuberant sales in Miami and in affluent Hispanic communities around the country. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
The Cuban-born author of the popular "Lupe Solano" mystery series here makes a foray into contemporary romance with disappointing results. Living in Miami, successful Cuban American lawyer Margarita inexplicably threatens her admittedly wonderful life with her Cuban American husband and their young son for a tryst with her "American" (i.e., not Cuban) college flame, who wants her to leave her husband and marry him. Margarita also has to decide whether to return to work after a yearlong leave of absence to spend more time with her son. Her husband and mother think that she should stay at home and have more children, but Margarita has worked hard to become a partner and doesn't want to throw her law career away. This book is often laugh-out-loud ridiculous, with unbelievable plotting straight out of a daytime soap opera. In addition to frequent references to Margarita's gas-guzzling Cadillac Escalade and designer clothes, barely a page goes by without a reference to Cuba or something Cuban. Although the characters are Cuban American, these references often seem gratuitous and overstated; the author's opinions on the Bay of Pigs invasion and the Eli n Gonzales ordeal, for instance, have no bearing on the story and seem particularly out of place in this romance. Not an essential purchase, though there may be demand. Samantha J. Gust, Niagara Univ. Lib., NY Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
After five mysteries, Garcia-Aguilera (Bitter Sugar, 2001, etc.) offers a tawdry romantic comedy about family and adultery among the upper echelons of Miami's expatriate Cuban community. Margarita enters the last two months of a yearlong leave from the law firm where she's already a partner knowing she must decide soon whether to return to her career as an immigration lawyer or buckle to her family's pressure and remain a full-time wife and mother. The problem is that all the actual cooking and housework, as well as most of the care of Margarita's three-year-old son, is in the hands of hired help, so that Margarita has way too much time on her hands-one reason that she's vulnerable when she gets a call from her old law school boyfriend Luther, a tall, blond, blue eyed Wasp who never breaks a sweat (except when the sex is really good). After their three-year romance at Duke, Margarita had returned to her upper-class Cuban community while Luther ended up in New York. Their long-distance relationship fizzled and Margarita ended up marrying Ariel. From a more humble Cuban background and with more liberal political views, Ariel, also a lawyer, won acceptance from Margarita's very traditional family only after his profitable victory in a headline-making personal injury case. Margarita loves him and considers herself a devout Catholic with a strong sense of her Cuban roots (at least twice she wishes Castro dead). But after one short lunch with Luther, she's swept off her feet, and a passionate affair begins. Soon Luther asks her to leave Ariel and marry him. Then Margarita discovers that, thanks to collusion between Ariel and her mother, she's pregnant. And either man could be the father. Miamiand its Cuban elite deserve better than two-dimensional characters with bad taste in expensive clothes, cars, and home decor.
Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel
“Tropical politics, culture and identity...are at the center of One Hot Summer.”

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
6.32(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.09(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

I was in an unusually upbeat mood, riding that luscious high a woman comes by when she knows she's looking particularly fine and that she has a good time ahead of her. Earlier in the day I'd run over to Saks Fifth Avenue at the Bal Harbour Shops and picked up a new dress, a simple Armani sleeveless black sheath that fit me perfectly. I knew I would get a lot of use out of it. My previous black dress, reserved for trips to the Caballero Funeral Home, had been getting overexposed, I figured, since I'd worn it to more than a dozen wakes and funerals. It needed replacing with a fresher and more stylish model. My husband claims that I'll jump at any excuse to go shopping. I guess he's right.

Well, what of it?

In Cuban Miami, going to a wake at a funeral home isn't necessarily the depressing social trial it would be anyplace else. A wake doubles as a social setting where old friends get together and reconnect before setting out for the night. And that was Miami for you -- not even death can get in the way of the pursuit of a good time.

It was seven o'clock on a hot sultry early July night. I was driving on the MacArthur Causeway with the latest Marc Anthony CD blasting. The speed limit on the causeway was fifty but no one -- except maybe for tourists and old ladies'ever drove that slow.

I had just left Miami Beach, where I live, heading for Coral Gables to meet my best friends -- Vivian Mendoza and Anabel Acosta -- at the wake for the great-aunt of Maria Teresa Martinez, another of our friends. Neither Vivian nor Anabel nor I had ever so much asexchanged pleasantries with the octogenarian lady who had passed away peacefully in her sleep earlier that day, but because of our friendship with Maria Teresa, our attendance was mandatory.

I hoped it would be a closed-casket viewing -- however oxymoronic the concept. It gave me the creeps to make small talk with a dead body lying a few feet away. I could never banish the thought that the deceased was listening to us discussing what restaurant we preferred for dinner that night. It just wasn't seemly, and, now that I was thinking about it, I realized that this entire train of thought was threatening to dampen my mood. So I pushed it away. I really wanted, no, I needed, to have a good time that night.

In Cuban circles, wakes are actually considered a great place to pick up dates -- if not in the viewing room, definitely at the cafeteria behind the building. The quality of the pickings rose in proportion to how well-known the deceased might have been, or whether he or she came from a big family. When we were teenagers, Vivian and Anabel and I would check out all the boys at viewings and discuss their physical traits within earshot of the deceased. Not exactly proper behavior for three Catholic girls -- maybe my guilt over my actions lay behind my distaste for open-casket viewings now that I'm an adult. The worst part when we were girls came when the priest started to recite the rosary. It took forever, and there was no escape -- no one could possibly leave the room while the rosary was being said, that was one of the few rules that could never be broken. We used to try to time our visits to avoid encountering the priest.

I have countless memories from wakes throughout my life, and every so often my friends and I reminisce about all the viewings we've attended together. Of course we only remember as pleasant the wakes that involved an elderly distant relative and not someone we were close to -- those evoked a different kind of memory altogether. The wake that night was in the former category: None of us knew the departed, and we were looking forward to having dinner together afterward. Since two of the three of us were married, there was no need to check out the scene. It was a night out for us, something we hadn't enjoyed in at least a few weeks. Maybe longer, after I thought about it.

Driving always clears my mind. I watched Biscayne Bay shimmer like spun silver. There was some kind of regatta going on, boats with bright sails stretched taut against the wind, their masts almost touching water. They skimmed the surface, headed north in tight formation. Farther along I saw a Sealand container ship so heavily loaded that it lay ow in the water; it was pulled by two tugboats through the narrow channel, almost visibly yearning for the open seas.

There were three cruise ships, so enormous they looked like floating apartment buildings, docked in a line at the Port of Miami for service before heading south to sail the Caribbean. I'd never taken a cruise, and every time I saw one of these ships I fantasized about drifting off on one, removing myself from daily life and going completely incommunicado. My temptation, or desperation, had never built to the point where I was compelled to buy a ticket and go. Still, I read the Sunday Miami Herald travel section every week from cover to cover.

I passed the bridge that led to Palm and Hibiscus Islands, taking my eyes off the road for a second to look for one of the dolphins that could sometimes be seen cavorting in the distance. But it was not to be. I might have been a sophisticated thirty-five-year-old woman who'd seen plenty of dolphins in the wild before, but the sight of one of those majestic animals still always made my heart race. It wasn't such a bad thing to maintain some shred of innocence inside my soul. It wasn't easy, not in...

One Hot Summer. Copyright © by Carolina Aguilera Garcia. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Carolina Garcia-Aguilera is the author of the much-lauded One Hot Summer as well as the Lupe Solano mystery series. She was a private investigator for more than fifteen years before turning to writing full-time in 1996, The recipient of the Flamingo Award in 1999 and the Shamus Award in 2000, Ms. Garcia-Aguilera lives in Miami Beach.

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One Hot Summer 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
What a great book! Couldn't put it down. Perfect reading for the summer; a smart romance filled with insights on the Cuban exile experience in Miami. I really, really liked it!