Author: Claudia H. Long

+Blog Book Tour+ The Duel for Consuelo by Claudia H. Long

Posted Monday, 1 September, 2014 by jorielov , , , 3 Comments

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The Duel for Consuelo by Claudia Long

Published By: BookTrope (@booktrope)
Official Author Websites: Site | Blog@clongnovels | Facebook
Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

Converse via: #DuelForConsueloBlogTour & #TheDuelForConsuelo

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I was selected to be a tour stop on the “The Duel for Consuelo” virtual book tour through Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours. I received a complimentary copy of the book direct from the author Claudia H. Long, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

+Blog Book Tour+ The Duel for Consuelo by Claudia H. LongThe Duel for Consuelo
by Claudia H. Long
Source: Author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

History, love, and faith combine in a gripping novel set in early 1700’s Mexico. In this second passionate and thrilling story of the Castillo family, the daughter of a secret Jew is caught between love and the burdens of a despised and threatened religion. The Enlightenment is making slow in-roads, but Consuelo’s world is still under the dark cloud of the Inquisition. Forced to choose between protecting her ailing mother and the love of dashing Juan Carlos Castillo, Consuelo’s personal dilemma reflects the conflicts of history as they unfold in 1711 Mexico.

A rich, romantic story illuminating the timeless complexities of family, faith, and love.

Genres: Historical Fiction

Places to find the book:

Series: The Castillo Family, No. 2

Also in this series: Invincible

Published by Booktrope Editions

on 2nd of June, 2014

Format: Paperback

Pages: 231

Author Biography:Claudia H. Long

Claudia Long is a highly caffeinated, terminally optimistic married lady living in Northern California. She writes about early 1700’s Mexico and modern day and roaring 20′s California. Claudia practices law as a mediator for employment disputes and business collapses, has two formerly rambunctious–now grown kids, and owns four dogs and a cat. Her first mainstream novel was Josefina’s Sin, published by Simon & Schuster in 2011. Her second one, The Harlot’s Pen, was published with Devine Destinies in February 2014. Claudia grew up in Mexico City and New York, and she now lives in California.

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The breadth of history knitted into the text:

I will admit, part of the reason I was drawn into reading this novel, is because although I have travelled to Mexico in my youth, I haven’t had the proper chance to seek out Mexican stories in fiction since the days I spent climbing pyramids and enjoying the local cuisine. I always appreciate stories whose characters are not only culturally diverse but religiously diverse as well – we live in such a beautiful melting pot of a world, that through literature we can all enlarge our compassion and empathy for others simply by picking up books whose characters have strong historically enriched backgrounds and are set during times in the world’s history that may or may not be highlighted in schools. I will admit, very little was covered about the Mexican history concurrent to the Americas time-line, outside of the more well-known events that are briefly covered. I was always a bit curious about our neighbour to the South, wondering about their own historical stories and the growth they had endured as their country grew through the centuries. I thankfully have started to make a bit of headway on my quest to seek out literature of Mexico and South America, as I previously read City of Promises.

I made an exception to read this novel out of sequence from its series, as when I read the full descriptions of the previous novel and cross-compared it with this novel, I felt this second novel was a better fit for me overall. I liked how the story was centered around a tumultuous slice of history with the family’s struggle for balance in a world that is fighting against their very will to find a measure of normalcy.

My Review of The Duel for Consuelo:

As soon as I opened the pages of The Duel for Consuelo, I was greeted by a passionate story-teller who wanted to not only impart the history of the time the story is set but to curate a connective thread to the family within the story itself. In the Prologue, there is a full sense of urgency to gain freedom on distant shores where both time and distance can help restore a blight on a family’s heritage moreso than staying where they have always lived. In this story, there appeared to be an issue of religious heritage that was giving the family a bit of grief, but as the next generation moved forward with their own life lived in the Americas, a sense of compassionate forgiveness was evident as was the hope for a new day for a family I had just barely begun to become acquainted with as the clock moved forward a century.

Yet, as I am settling into the story, the voice of Rosa’s granddaughter comes out quite strong as the narrative vehicle for which this story revolves; through her eyes it is evident that compassion and acceptance is still quite far away from being given. Through her maternal line of origin there is a history of Judaism, a reverence for Jewish culture and faith which is not aligning well for her family during the Spanish Inquisition. Her father comes across rather bearish as his ideal capitalistic pursuits are less shallow than his vain attempts to clarify his role in the community. Consuelo herself feels pulled through this duality of purpose – to be the daughter her father can be proud of and the caregiver of her mother, whose health is not as well as it had been in previous years. She is tied to the home, yet her dreams carry her outside the walls as she goes about her daily routines.

The most sinister moment was when it was revealed that despite her father’s efforts to quiet a blackmailer, his efforts were found out and his family was thus unprotected by the wrath of justice that would follow if he did not find a way to amend for his actions. This was a curious sideline of the opening structure of the story, as he barely agreed to the blackmail on one breath and he was found in the wrong on the next. I had almost felt that this might have carried forward as a dark secret for the duration of the story, but instead, it flickered and died.

Consuelo’s own gift was in her nurturing attentiveness to those who were ill and her maternal instincts to care for those who needed assistance. Although, I gathered she would have preferred to do more in her life than care for her mother, it was in so doing that she learnt her greatest gift was in the understanding of apothecarist healing practices and the strength of herbs. Her life was overshadowed by the forbearing presence of her father, a man who ruled his roost with a strong hand, and yet, never gave much consequence to his daughter or wife. He was much more interested in keeping up the appearance of who they were rather than being honest inside his relationships and business affairs.  How she found the strength to rise above each adverse and brutal moment of shocking distrust is a credit to her confidence in herself. She was not dealt an easy life nor one that aligned with how she believed her life would fall together – in life as in love, she was betrayed and it was through anguish she started to rise again.

Her father’s inability to forestall the Inquisition’s ransom and blackmail demands (although earlier I felt they were relieved of) played a larger part of the trials in which Consuelo found herself in the middle of succumbing. Her life was not necessarily her own, and her choices although valid in their own right, rarely had the light to shine on their own accord.  The most distraught part of the story is watching Consuelo attempt to right her stars only be dragged by through the mud carved out of her father’s transactions and misdirections of attempting to escape a worser fate. She was used as though she were a pawn, and despite that, she always had the hope for a future she could no longer envision probable. The acidity of rumours and insinuated falsehoods plagued her from the very start, as where truth and lies forged together as though welded in steel, it is within this nest of vipers Consuelo truly had to find a sword stronger than her entangled woes.

On the writing style of Claudia H. Long:

Long tells the story from different points of view which lately I am appreciating being given the opportunity to read with such frequency; as I originally only occasionally had come across this style of the craft. Each sequence is broken down into each of the character’s mindfulness of the events or the daily trials as they arise. As you shift through their connective chapters, you draw out more insight into how the family structure is maintained and who has the keener knowledge of what is actually going on. The ailing mother for instance is given reflective chapters where you are reading her internal thoughts rather than her spoken words in the moment. This is a bridge to understand and accept her husband and daughter, as she is revealing a bit of the unspoken truths that the other two leave amiss.

Long has infused her historical novel with such a breadth of history, you cannot help but acknowledge the dedication she had to researching this part of Mexico’s 17th and 18th Century past. She stitches into the everyday dialogue bits and bobbles of Spanish as well, and as I always lament, I appreciate when a native tongue can be included as it helps to strengthen the picture we have in our mind of the characters whose heritage is not only important to their identity but helps visualise who they are as they live inside the story.

The story is truly emotionally gutting in its intensity throughout the narrative arc, as the story is rooted in the historical knowledge of the time in which the events unfold. The brutal injustice and the prejudicial judgments of those who did not understand a different in faith and belief is quite shocking to read; even if the knowledge of the era is already known. The hardest part for me, was shifting through the more difficult passages to entreat back into the light and to see where Consuelo found her resolve and the strength to carry-on. I credit this to Long who gave her readers resolution even with the realisation that many might not have found the same in real life.

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Virtual Road Map of “The Duel for Consuelo” Blog Tour found here:

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{SOURCES: Cover art of “The Duel for Consuelo”, author photograph, book synopsis and the tour badge were all provided by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours and used with permission. Blog Tour badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. Bookish Events badge created by Jorie in Canva. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • Go Indie

Posted Monday, 1 September, 2014 by jorielov in 17th Century, 18th Century, Apothecary, Blog Tour Host, Christianity, Civil Rights, Cultural & Religious Traditions, Cultural Heritage, Domestic Violence, Equality In Literature, Family Drama, Family Life, Father-Daughter Relationships, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Geographically Specific, Good vs. Evil, Herbalist, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Indie Author, Judaism in Fiction, Light vs Dark, Medical Fiction, Mental Illness, Mexico, Psychological Abuse, Trauma | Abuse & Recovery, World Religions