The three most important parts of a book are: a well constructed plot, compelling characters, and a satisfying conclusion.

Friday, January 30, 2015

THE COCONUT LATITUDES: Secrets, Storms, and Survival in the Caribbean By Rita M Gardner

Publisher:  She Writes Press

Publication Date:  September 16, 2014
Pages:  206
Genre:  Memoir

Book Description:  "The Coconut Latitudes" is a memoir about a childhood in paradise, a journey into unexpected misery, and a twisted path to redemption and truth. Leaving a successful career in the U.S., a father makes the fateful decision to settle his wife and two young daughters on an isolated beach in the Dominican Republic. He plants ten thousand coconut seedlings and declares they are the luckiest people alive.

In reality, the family is in the path of hurricanes and in the grip of a brutal dictator. Against a backdrop of shimmering palms and kaleidoscope sunsets, a crisis causes the already fragile family to implode. "The Coconut Latitudes" is a haunting, lyrical memoir of surviving a reality far from the envisioned Eden, the terrible cost of keeping secrets, and the transformative power of truth and love.

Wanda's Thoughts: 
This is an intriguing story with vivid descriptive writing - simply captivating! The reader can easily feel the world the Gardner family lived in. With a strong theme of forgiveness, the writer takes you on a journey of sadness, survival, and healing. This is a heart-wrenching and riveting story about a dysfunctional family living in the Dominican Republic during turbulent times.

Rita Gardner's father makes a decision to leave a successful career in the states and move his family to a coconut farm, in a small village in the Dominican Republic, that he describes as Paradise. It is ruled by the dictator, Rafael Trujillo, and is in political turmoil.

Rita and her sister, Berta, were exposed to evenings of drunken rantings by their father that never seemed to end, and often turned into something scary. Their mother rarely exhibits any affection toward her daughters, and Rita sadly never receives much needed hugs from her mother. And the story unfolds ...

My only negative comment - I wished for more information about Mitch. What happened to him?

The Coconut Latitudes is an incredible and well written memoir that is certainly worth reading. My rating is 4+ stars. 

I received an autographed copy of this book from the author as a Goodreads winner.

About the Author: Rita M Gardner
Rita Gardner grew up on her expatriate family’s coconut farm in the Dominican Republic during the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo. Living in a remote coastal village, she was home-schooled and began reading, writing and painting at a young age. She returned to Florida to finish school and later moved to Northern California where she follows her passions – writing, trail hiking, traveling and photography. Her published essays, articles, and poems have appeared in literary journals, travel magazines, and newspapers. She has been awarded writing residencies at Hedgebrook (Washington) and Lit Camp (California.) She continues to dream in Spanish, dance the merengue, and gather inspiration from the ocean; her favorite color is Caribbean blue.
In December 2014,her memoir,"The Coconut Latitudes" was listed in "Best of 2014 in Expat Books" by The Displaced Nation, an international blog for creative expatriates worldwide.