elisa_rolle (elisa_rolle) wrote,

Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: Café y Chocolate by Johnny Miles

Café y Chocolate

"When it comes to the descriptions of the hurricane, the writing's pretty damn good. The calamity and the aftermath are shown well, apparently by the author's personal experience. The conflict between an easy life and a hard one that Sereno struggles with is relatable and understandable. Sometimes the harder choice is the more rewarding one. The story is very sensual, regards to both the sexuality and awakening the senses. The setting of Puerto Rico feels real, tangible and concrete. The bisexual aspect was handled rather nicely, but the unsafe sex threw me a bit. Beyond those few nitpicks, this one was surprisingly good. Certainly left me thinking about disaster areas and the very real problems people there face."

Sereno Hidalgo, newly divorced from his husband, flies to Puerto Rico to reconnect with Esteban, an estranged cousin who owns a coffee plantation. But with Hurricane María only days away, the reunited Hidalgo cousins—together with Esteban’s wife—are forced to prepare for the worst storm to strike the island in a century. As with any natural disaster, there is invariably something to grab you by surprise, something to take you by storm. For Esteban, it’s the shock of a family scandal long kept secret, but revealed by an unusual acquaintance. For Sereno, that surprise is Augusto Toro, the perfect blend of African, Native American, and Spanish cultures that produce the great majority of Puerto Ricans.

As María churns in the Atlantic, ever closer, Sereno finds himself inexplicably attracted to the handsome man everyone calls Chocolate. But Sereno was never noted for detecting red flags in his affairs. The only thing he was ever good at was running away from trouble. Now he can’t. He’s too far gone, in too deep, and the hurricane is way too close. Sereno must find a way to cope with both the fear of loving a bisexual man and handling the mind-numbing, horrifying impact of the ravaged land called La Isla del Encanto.

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Tags: rainbow awards 2018-2019

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