After reading and reviewing Isobel Blackthorn’s ‘Clarissa’s Warning’, I couldn’t hold back on the chance to read another one of her works. Thank you Rachel’s Random Resources for bringing that chance to me.
Sleuthing ain’t easy
Especially, if you have never done it before………never even thought of doing so in your entire life
Especially, if you have to sleuth out your missing husband.
Especially, if all the while there is a nagging doubt in your mind – ‘Is he really missing or did he just walk out on me?’
Not the kind of situation you would ever want to be caught up in.
Unfortunately though for Paula, that is exactly where she finds herself.
On a tiny island off the coast of Africa called Lanzarote, Paula can’t seem to find her Painter/Anti-Corruption Campaigner husband Celestino anywhere.
A few years back, Celestino, a local Lanzarote and Paula, a British tourist on a holiday at the beautiful island fall in love.
For the sake of love, Paula takes a huge leap of faith. She leaves her friends, her career and her country behind to stay with Celestino on an island where she knew no one. As a woman, I can feel how difficult and risky that decision must have been for her.
After an unexpected pregnancy, Paula and Celestino get married and have a beautiful daughter, Gloria.
And now we are here. It is little Gloria’s 2nd birthday and Celestino is nowhere to be found.
Nature played her part to. On that very day a rare tropical storm raged on Lanzarote.
Celestino was driving up to his daughter’s birthday party in that fierce storm when a vehicle slammed into him and ran his car right off the road.
Celestino barely managed to get a hold of the rucksack carrying his daughter’s birthday gift and get out of his mangled car before it exploded.
His arm is broken and the searing pain of the burns is messing him up. All Celestino can focus on now is survival and…..Paula. It is slowly becoming apparent that someone is after him. How will he be able to hide and get back to his family?
But Paula doesn’t know any of that.
After Celestino is a no show at his own daughter’s birthday party, Paula (like any Mother) is angry. Angry at Celestino’s irresponsible behavior. With all his anti- corruption campaign Celestino has been hardly paying any attention to his wife and daughter. But this…not being present for his daughter’s birthday was taking it too far.
But as the day passed Paula’s anger was replaced by anxiety. Celestino seemed to have vanished without a trace. She hadn’t the first clue where to look for him.
Would Paula and Celestino be able to find each other before it’s too late? In an Island where she is always an outsider, who could Paula depend on to help her?
All the Bookish Feelings
What is always noticeable about Isobel Blackthorn’s writing is the amount of dedication she puts into bringing the culture of her locations to the forefront. In both ‘Clarissa’s Warning’ as well as ‘A Matter of Latitude‘, I cannot help but admire her efforts to respect the identity of the locations where she sets her story.
Which made the character of Richard, a British author living in Lanzarote where he sets his stories all the more engrossing to me.Richard is one of those supplementary characters in ‘A Matter of Latitude‘ who makes you wonder initially as to what contribution is he making to the plot until he proves more useful than you would imagine.
As an author, Richard definitely has the talent and imagination warranted of a storyteller but where he fails is his inability to understand the gravity of doing justice to Lanzarote’s culture and history in his novels. This is so at odd with Isobel Blackthorn’s own style of writing focused on giving ample attention to her locations that this particular characterisation of a supplementary character is intriguing.
The beauty of ‘A Matter of Latitude‘ is in the use of two prominent and distinctive voices in the story. That of Paula and Celestino.
While Celestino’s narrative is molded as that of a man struggling to survive and reflecting on his life choices, Paula’s voice is rife with anxiety and confusion. You will find that the sentences in each of their narratives carry their essence. The cracks in their marriage is also explored through both Paula and Celestino’s perspective in drastically different situations.
The exploration of Paula’s conflicting feelings of love and hostility towards Celestino and her guilt of being at home in a place where she doesn’t feel included adds another dimension to the story. Paula’s heartfelt attempt at learning the local language but always being conscious of the lack of fluency in her communications draws the reader in effectively. Because insecurities are something that we all understand, in one way or the other.
‘A Matter of Latitude’ is an exciting thriller that has many layers. It is definitely worth a read.
[From the acclaimed author of The Drago Tree comes a riveting thriller about survival, revenge and long-hidden secrets.]
When local Lanzarote anti-corruption activist, Celestino, is T-boned on a lonely stretch of road, he knows the collision was no accident.
Wounded and fearing for his life, he hides in an abandoned fishing village, waiting for a chance to make it home. Meanwhile his wife, English expat Paula, is distraught. Her pursuit of answers is deflected when her neighbor, troublesome retiree Shirley Mobad, co-opts Paula on her escapades around the Canary Islands.
Paula’s search for her husband quickly descends into mayhem, danger and intrigue. Before long, she realizes she’s being followed. She needs answers, and fast.
But where is Celestino, and will he ever make it back alive?
“A Matter of Latitude simmers with danger, betrayal and treachery, drawing the reader into the island’s history of shady dealings and uneasy relationships between natives, tourists and expats… Isobel Blackthorn has crafted an atmospheric and setting-rich novel with alluring lyrical style.” – Sandi Wallace, award-winning crime fiction author
Isobel Blackthorn is a prolific novelist of original fiction across a range of genres.
Including psychological thrillers, gripping mysteries, captivating travel fiction and hilarious dark satire.
Isobel holds a PhD in Western Esotericism for her ground-breaking study of the texts of Theosophist Alice A. Bailey. Her engagement with Alice Bailey’s life and works has culminated in the biographical novel, The Unlikely Occultist.
Isobel carries a lifelong passion for the Canary Islands, Spain, her former home. Many of her novels are set on the islands, including The Drago Tree, which was released in 2015 and is now in Spanish translation, Clarissa’s Warning and A Matter of Latitude. These novels are setting rich and fall into the broad genre of travel fiction, and the novels are as much stories about the islands themselves as they are straight-ahead entertainment.
Isobel has led a rich and interesting life and her stories are as diverse as her experiences, the highs and lows, and the dramas. Some of her writing is dark, like the psychological thriller, Twerk, which is based on six years of research and first-hand accounts of dancers working in what are euphemistically called gentlemen’s clubs.
A life-long campaigner for social justice, Isobel has written, protested and leant her weight to a range of issues including family violence. A Londoner originally, Isobel currently lives near Melbourne, Australia.
Know more about her at-
Publication date: December 7, 2018
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