BookReview of “Columbus and Caonabó: 1493-1498 Retold” by Andrew Rowen.

Book Cover of Columbus and Caonabo by Andrew RowenDESCRIPTION of Columbus and Caonabó: 1493-1498 Retold by Andrew Rowen.

Columbus and Caonabó: 1493–1498 Retold” dramatizes Columbus’s invasion of Española and the bitter resistance mounted by its Taíno peoples during the period and aftermath of Columbus’s second voyage. Based closely on primary sources, the story is told from both Taíno and European perspectives, including through the eyes of Caonabó—the conflict’s principal Taíno chieftain and leader—and Columbus.”

When you read a Historical Fiction novel you have a certain thought in mind of what to expect. Andrew Rowen gives you more than that, much more. The press release discusses the research he’s done through the years but many do the same. But I haven’t run across anyone who puts the detail of the people into their work as much as Rowen has. Given as much life to a people we know so little about but by the end know so much and gain a fuller Andrew Rowenpicture of a part of the American foundational background. I’ve taken U.S., European, and Latin American studies at the University level and not been given any of the detail given here, nor even heard of the vast majority of the people given in this work.

Being a history person I of course loved the specifics pertaining to the events of the past but even more I enjoyed Rowen’s interpretation of the people involved, especially the Taíno peoples. Also the conflict between the crew of Columbus left behind and moving forward. There was no simple black and white, right and wrong to the story. I suppose overall you would say there is one, but as far as the actions of both peoples the ideas made a lot more sense than what we learn in school.

Rowen shows the use of the Europeans and Taíno forming alliances whether they be real or merely for appearances, the use of Christianity as a subjugation strategy as well as a tool by the Taíno. The Taíno religion is also a major issue in the progress of negotiations and relations. (I don’t want to say too much here.) The actions of Columbus are laid bare, warts and all. Even coming to be questioned by Isabella and Ferdinand. The presence of Spanish settlers in the islands is devastating in more ways than the disease we’ve so often read about.

Ultimately you feel what is happening as it happens. The anguish of the Taíno peoples, the settlers, and even the soldiers who didn’t sign up for what happens. This along with 42 historic and newly drawn maps and illustrations bring life to a part of history glossed over by the victors.

I’m not an anti-Columbus or anti-Western Exploration person. I like history. I am a historian. I want as many of the facts as possible. Unfortunately those who are the victors tend to suppress the ugly parts they played to achieve their victory. “Columbus and Caonabó: 1493–1498 Retold” provides more facts while being entertaining at the same time.

The author includes an interesting final chapter titled Agonies and Fates. We learn about just what the title says, Agonies and Fates. Plus many definitions are given for the Taíno language.

RATING

A solid 4 out of 5 Stars. A 4 because of all the great information and the life given to the historical figures. Also a 4 and not a 5 because it is a bit of a heavy read. This is not a read in one or two sittings. You will likely want to do so but take  your time so you can absorb everything you’re being given.

I rate using:

Realistic Characters/Character Development based on genre,
World Building
Editing
Believability based on genre
Overall Enjoyment
Readability/Clarity
Flow

RECOMMEND?

I would read the previous book, Encounters Unforeseen: 1492 Retold, of which this book is the sequel.

504 pages with the reading portion ending with Agonies and Fates on page 417. The remaining pages are filled with great information for further understanding, including a Glossary.

Available 11/09/2021

$11.49 for Kindle.

$33.95 Hardcover at Amazon


Andrew RowenAbout the author

Andrew Rowen has devoted 10 years to researching the history leading to the first encounters between Europeans and the Caribbean’s Taíno peoples, including visiting sites where Columbus and Taíno chieftains lived, met, and fought. His first novel, “Encounters Unforeseen: 1492 Retold” (released 2017), portrays the life stories of the chieftains and Columbus from youth through their encounters in 1492. Its sequel, “Columbus and Caonabó: 1493–1498 Retold” (to be released November 9, 2021), depicts the same protagonists’ bitter conflict during the period of Columbus’s second voyage. Andrew is a graduate of U.C. Berkeley and Harvard Law School and has long been interested in the roots of religious intolerance.

https://www.amdrewrowen.com/
Facebook @andrewsrowen


© 2021- Ronovan Hester Copyright reserved. The author asserts his moral and legal rights over this work.

#Bookreview ‘Havana Jazz Club’ by LolaMariné (@bcnlola) Love doesn’t conquer everything but art is a great consolation. And an opportunity

Hi all:

I have quite a few reviews that I have accumulated and I plan on sharing some in the coming weeks, but I saw an opportunity for other people who love to review books, and also a chance to help a Spanish author whose books I enjoy.

Lola Mariné (here her Amazon page) is from Barcelona too, and although I haven’t met her personally, I’ve had the pleasure of interacting with her on a variety of occasions, mostly in Facebook. Yesterday, through Twitter, she sent me a message to let me know that one of her novels ‘Havana Jazz Club’ that I read a while back and thoroughly enjoyed (although when you read the review you’ll see that enjoy is not perhaps the best word to use, as the book really pulls at one’s heartstrings) had been translated to English (it was chosen by Amazon and they’ve managed the translation) and was now available to reviewers in Net Galley, FREE. I am signed to Net Galley and it’s a great way to get a flavour for new books (both from independent authors and publishing companies, big and small) and yes, it gives one access to books before they are published. Not all the books (some have copyright restrictions and it might depend on where you live if you have access to it or not).

As the book is not going to be officially published until late in August, I thought I’d take the chance to leave you my review for the Spanish version (translated, don’t worry), and would see if any of you who might be signed onto Net Galley could be interested in reviewing it too. I didn’t see any restrictions on the page that is this one:

https://s2.netgalley.com/catalog/book/69985

First I leave you some information about the book and the author.

Havana Jazz Club by Lola Mariné
Havana Jazz Club by Lola Mariné

Description

Translated from Spanish by Rosemary Peele

Like Lady Day, Billie is young when she falls in love for the first time. Lured by her new playboy husband, the beautiful, trusting woman leaves her close-knit and caring family in Cuba to follow him to Spain. Once there, he reveals his true—and violent—nature, and Billie chooses the dangers of the street over the abuses of the man she once loved. Soon she finds herself with trouble to spare and nowhere to turn, but when her voice lands her a spot at the Havana Jazz Club, she discovers a new, unconventional family in a city far from the one she left behind. And with every high note and heartbreak, Billie skirts destiny to write her own song.

A Note From the Publisher

Lola Mariné is a writer, licensed psychologist, and actress. Born in Barcelona, she worked in show business in Madrid for twenty years before returning to her hometown. There, she earned a degree in psychology while teaching theater workshops to children. She has contributed to four anthologies, Tiempo de recreo (Playtime), Dejad que os cuente algo (Let Me Tell You Something), Atmósferas (Atmospheres), and Tardes del laberinto (Evening of the Labyrinth), and wrote Gatos por los tejados (Cats on the Roofs), a collection of short stories. Her first novel, Nunca fuimos a Katmandú (We Never Went to Kathmandu), was published in 2010.
And here, my review (a word of warning. As explained this is a review of the original Spanish book, although considering Amazon has handled the translation I assume it will be good, but I’ve downloaded the book and will try and check as soon as  I can).

Havana Jazz Club by Lola Mariné. Love doesn’t conquer everything but art is a great consolation

The novel Habana Jazz Club by Lola Mariné narrates the adventures of Billie, a Cuban girl, daughter of a woman who adores jazz and decides to call her Billie as an homage to Billie Holiday, despite everybody telling her that ‘it’s a boy’s name’. Billie inherits her mother’s love for music, particularly jazz music, and luckily for her, that love never disappoints her. Unfortunately, the rest…

I’ve never been to Cuba and I only know about it what I’ve read in books or watched in movies. I wouldn’t dare to comment on how realistic or not the description of Billie’s life before leaving Cuba is, but her home life is endearing and loving and shows us a close and happy family. Although we all know mothers’ are always right, unfortunately Billie ignores her mother’s advice and her mistrust, and marries a boy, who isn’t only handsome but also knows it, Orlando. Billie leaves Cuba and a big chunk of her heart there, and follows her husband, and things don’t work well for them. Billie’s story once they arrive in Spain becomes one of domestic violence and exploitation. And things only go from bad to worse, to the point when she ends up living in the streets of Barcelona, where she is rescued by her guardian angel, Armando. And when things start to look up, the men in her life continue making her miserable. And I won’t tell you anything else because you must read the novel.

Lola Mariné has written a masterful melodrama. There are irredeemable baddies, goodies as sweet as sugar, terrible suffering, and talent and music, plenty of music. There were moments when I couldn’t help reading ahead convinced of what would happen, and that it would be bad, but the same as when we’re dragged by a fast current, I couldn’t do anything else but let myself go and see if I came up, unscathed, at the other side. And despite her trials and tribulations, and the disasters that pepper her journey, or perhaps because of them, the protagonist makes her dreams come true (in a small-scale but…), and creates a family made up of people who love her because she is who she is, and not because she’s been born here or there, or because it is their duty.

The part I enjoyed the most (and I loved it all) was when towards the end, the author, first through Gerardo and later through Billie herself, reflects upon the nature of creativity, about what the really important things in life are, and the tranquillity of feeling happy and comfortable in one’s own skin, without pretending or having to worry about appearances. I hope we can all reach such a state at some point in our lives.

If you enjoy novels with a heart, with unforgettable protagonists, and the stories about self-improvement and personal achievement, I wholeheartedly recommend it to you.

Here is the link to the novel in Amazon, but as I said, it’s not published  yet. Although you can pre-order it.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00U2ZMTZC/

Sorry for not following the usual format but it’s a bit of a novelty. And once the book is out and the author has had a chance to recover, I’ll try to bring her here for an interview. She’s a fascinating woman.

Thanks so much for reading, and you know, if you’re interested, like, share, comment, and CLIC! And if you do, don’t forget to leave a review!

 

Olga Núñez Miret

@OlgaNM7

http://OlgaNM.wordpress.com

http://www.OlgaNM.com

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