Tag Archives: Chile

You’ll Book Your Ticket to Chile After Reading Audra North’s One Night In Santiago

30 Dec

One Night in Santiago by Audra North (Entangled: Flaunt, December 30, 2013)

Now, I don’t know if you can afford the Executive Suite at the Ritz in Santiago, but I bet there will be plenty of women loitering in that hotel’s lobby looking for a hero like Bruno Komarov after reading this story. Hot. Damn.

Lily Stanton is stressed and tired. She’s ready to leave Santiago and her so-called vacation behind but the airport isn’t cooperating. Rolling in the lobby of the Santiago Ritz soaking wet in yoga pants isn’t her most elegant moment, but she’s a seasoned traveler with her consulting company so she can handle it. Waiting in line, she can’t help but notice the gorgeous guy who has come in from the storm on her heels. When they are both told by two different hotel clerks that there is only room left, there’s a scrabble for it. When Lily is declared the winner (by Mr. Hunkalicious giving it to her – his Ritz Rewards card trumped her claim), the least she can do is offer to share the suite. After all, the sofa turns into a bed and there is something inherently trustworthy about Bruno Komarov and his voiced worry that he wouldn’t want his sisters to offer to share a hotel room with a stranger.

Santiago, Chile – surrounded by the mountains Lily skiied in is a modern city filled with contrasts between its historical buildings and modern architecture (Image courtesy of Wikipedia)

While Lily has nothing to fear from Bruno, she should still worry. He’s done nothing but have lascivious thoughts about her gorgeous body and megawatt smile since he spotted her in line in the lobby and the thought of sharing a room is a bit more than his nether region appears capable of handling. Even worse is watching her talk to her sister and discuss her life and work over their dinner – Bruno realizes that this kind, intelligent, capable and slightly damaged woman is exactly what he’s been waiting for while immersing himself in his family’s California and Chilean vineyards. He desperately wants to be a gentleman but when her face reflects his obvious arousal, all bets are off, and this Santiago hotel room is about to get a lot hotter. Convincing a woman he’s known for hours that they might have a future even when they live so far apart is going to be a bit harder, but Bruno is going to make it happen – if she doesn’t escape in the morning, that is.

Audra North – where has she been all my life? A newer addition to Entangled’s stable of authors, her writing proves that the editors at this publishing house have an incredible nose for talent. I was astonished looking over the specs that One Night in Santiago was only about 58 pages. You could have easily convinced me that it was twice as long (and charged me twice as much) because I felt so emotionally invested in the characters. Bruno is Latino-Russian sex on a stick and such a great person that it’s impossible not to fall for him right along with Lily. Lily is a smart, sexy heroine recovering from her ex, but so full of optimism while she rebuilds her confidence that she genuinely deserves Bruno and what he can give her. I’m going to keep my fingers crossed that while North continues to write, she might consider giving us a glimpse of these two amidst their HEA while telling us the story of another wonderful couple.

Happy reading!

What is truer than truth? Answer – The Story: Isabel Allende on Passion

7 Mar

Like many people I have loved Isabel Allende‘s work for a long time.  Her work has always typified what is powerful about “saga” books – books that span a lifetime or two, often in one family.  I learned so much about Chile and its politics from her novels, but it was her ability to craft strong female characters which ensured my total devotion.  Her stories capture heartbreak, political oppression, misogyny, mysticism, love, and endurance in a way that I have not seen from any other novelist.  I think The House of the Spirits is probably my favorite work of hers.  If you haven’t read it, I’d encourage you to give it a try.

Anyway, I was surfing TED Talks (do you know about TED Talks?  They are videotaped speeches or lectures from some of the world’s leading artists, writers, scientists and thinkers and I’m addicted) and came across one entitled “Isabel Allende tells tales of passion.”  Color me there!

It’s a sad fact that lyrical writers are often quiet or lackluster public speakers, but Allende does NOT fall into that category.  She spoke for about 20 minutes about passion using the story arc of her experience as a flag bearer in the 2006 Winter Olympics.  Observing herself surrounded by athletes who embodied the very idea of passion as their driving force, she expounded upon the theme of living a passionate life.  Her personal experience of the Olympics provided wonderful levity while showcasing her charm and humor.  This humor provided an emotional respite from the harrowing tales of women working to save their families or others from desperate situations (warning: you probably will need a tissue for a few of them).  But she uses these stories as inspiration and I certainly came away inspired.

There are definitely some nuggets of wisdom for any student of literature or any writer in this talk.  Take this gem for example (the words in parenthesis are the audience reaction as noted by the transcription):

Heart is what drives us and determines our fate. That is what I need for my characters in my books: a passionate heart. I need mavericks, dissidents, adventurers, outsiders and rebels, who ask questions, bend the rules and take risks. People like all of you in this room. Nice people with common sense do not make interesting characters. (Laughter) They only make good former spouses. (Laughter)(Applause)

She mentioned that she had no need to make up the strong women characters in her novels – she was surrounded by them, so she simply observed the women around her and used them as inspiration.  She also took the time to connect her feelings about women and passion into her personal passion for feminism, noting how for many young women in the West, there is a feeling that feminism is outdated or passe while in actuality, feminism, defined as “the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men” is needed everywhere, but particularly in the areas of the world where women and children make up the majority of the poor.  She quoted the statistic that 80% of the world’s refugees are women and children.

Some readers might think that this famous author discussing feminism has nothing to do with reading romance fiction, but think for a moment.  How many novels are about women leaving a past filled with violence (usually at the hands of a man) behind?  Or going up against a government or villainous entity determined to silence her?  While we might not think of a romance heroine’s journey as one of feminism, often it is, at its core, about that individual recognizing that she is an equal to the people around her and especially to the men in her life.  Even if the heroine is totally actualized and empowered, sometimes our heroes (particularly in historical fiction) must take the time to undergo an evolution in which they realize that the woman in their life is a partner and an equal.  It doesn’t mean that they are the same, but that, in their differences, they are each intelligent people worthy of respect. Food for thought!

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