Genre: Contemporary fiction
arrives in Belize, and almost at once becomes a catalyst for change among a
love triangle of ex-pats already in country.
is a big part of this book, to the extent one feels it could not have been set
anywhere else. Only a flawed paradise like this could enable the way of life enjoyed
by Kendal, Aaron and Charlie. When Mark blows in on a permanent bender,
bringing with him a whiff of the real world, he precipitates an unravelling of
the way of life the three other ex-pats have evolved together over a decade.
publicity tells us, “Karen
Winters Schwartz’s professional writing career began in 2010, when the first of
three widely praised novels, Where Are the Cocoa Puffs?, Reis’s
Pieces, and The Chocolate Debacle were issued by Goodman Beck
Publishing. Red Adept Publishing released Legend of the Lost Ass in
2020, and her latest novel The Vast Clear Blue in January 2023. Both these
last are richly emotional stories about love and relationships and take place
in the exotic setting of Belize.
splits her time between Arizona USA, a small village in Belize, and traveling
the world in search of the many creatures with whom she has the honor of
sharing this world.”
For more, visit the author’s website.
beautiful setting is rendered in some detail (but not so much as to waylay
pace) and great affection. It is a place the author knows well. Her previous
book was set there too.
characters are attractively realised through what they say and do, and an
occasional internal monologue. Their lives are slow and simple: and yet much
happens. They are special, unique, people: and yet they are just like everyone
else. I felt that an amalgam of the four of them (including the beer sodden
Mark) would together make the ideal person one would like to be (although I
wouldn’t want Mark’s liver). There is such warmth, loving, depth of
understanding, caring and encouragement going on here. There is no sense of
angst, rivalry, or jealousy such as underpins most relationships. Could such an
emotional paradise ever actually exist? Even in a geographical paradise like
this? Well, there is always the snake, in any Eden.
action of the book is like the careful placing of jigsaw puzzle pieces. The
construction is very skillful, and the finished picture has been a very
would, indeed, be a 5* book for me, except for the Author’s Note which ends
each chapter. I found the intrusion of the author in this way threw me out of
the book every time. I had to read them (on your behalf) and could not
understand why the author felt a need to include any of them, or why her
publisher let her. The book, as is, is novella length, so perhaps it was
decided to extend it to its current length through this ploy.
for you, you don’t have to contend with the Author’s Notes: you can skip right over
them and enjoy a cracking novel. And I recommend you do.
Rating: **** Four Stars
Reviewed by: Judi Moore
Approximate word count: 55-60,000 words