Monday, May 23, 2011

Review: Evenings at the Argentine Club

Today we feature Evenings at the Argentine Club by Julia Amante

Victor and Jaqueline Torres imagined moving to the U.S. would bring happiness and prosperity-instead they found a world of frustration. While Victor put long hours into his restaurant business, Jaqui devoted her life to her daughters, until they grew up and moved on. Even their eldest, Victoria, is torn trying to reconcile being the perfect Argentine daughter and an independent American woman. Antonio and Lucia Orteli face the same realities, especially when their only son Eric leaves their close-knit Argentine community in pursuit of his own dreams. When Eric unexpectedly shows up at the Argentine Club-the heart of the Argentine community in southern California-he starts a series of events that will bring these two families closer than ever. New relationships are formed and old ones are put to the test, as everyone must learn how to balance different

Reviewed by: Sandra Lopez

Review: The whole story centers around the Argentine Club--a business owned by a working family that migrated to America for a better life. Victor, the father, who wants to leave something "great" before leaving this life; Victoria, the daughter, who never wanted to run her father's business; and Jaqueline, the mother, who fears she may no longer love her husband. Eventually, another family enters the story: Antonia, Lucia, and their son, Eric.

Written from a multi-character perspective, this book pulls you into a world of Argentine culture and values. With every character's personal issues, the story takes on a complexity that intertwines into the livelihood (and gossip) of the club. At times, I felt that there were too many characters to keep track of. I usually like it when a story is centered more on one, two, or even three characters at most. With this story, I sometimes asked myself, "Whose dad was he again?" I kept forgetting. But that was mostly in the beginning. Luckily, I got to know the characters more and more as I got deeper into the book.

Each chapter had a tad too much drama for my taste that it sometimes felt exhausting; however, as secrets are slowly revealed, you can't help but find out how it all ends. I enjoyed the blossoming romance between Victoria and Eric. Growing up, they began as friends; but they ended up falling into a deep love that they could not get anywhere else. It was like falling in love with the kid next door--the kid that kept all your secrets, the one that never made fun of you, the one that always accepted you for the way you were and still hung out with you. Those two were great together! But with Eric at the possibility of leaving again and Victoria finally going after her dreams, I couldn't help but wonder how things were going to turn out for them. A must read!

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