Publisher: Decent Hearts Press (2009)
Pages: 287 (Paperback)
My Rating: 5/10
THE COST OF DREAMS BY GARY STELZER
About the Book:
Flora, a Mayan teenager, has escaped Talapa, her civil war-torn Central American village where her parents have been slain - and where even being seen in native wear could result in summary execution. Following her dream with nearly superhuman determination, she makes her way to San Diego, and against all odds, becomes a wife, mother and teacher. By hard work and shrewdness, she even obtains legal U.S. status.
But her life takes a horrific turn when she's shot by her drug-dealing brother in-law. As she lays unconscious and bleeding in front of her house, Mexican immigrants traveling on a freight train kidnap and claim her as their daughter, caring for her on a long, grueling cross-country flight.
Nearly a year later, still gravely wounded and disfigured, a freed Flora arrives at the Lake Michigan home of Kate Bowman, an American aide worker who had previously befriended Flora in Talapa. Kate's nephew had vanished on that mission, leaving Kate devastated and overwhelmed with guilt for permitting him to remain in a civil war ravaged Central America while she returned home.
Flora, the main character in the story, showed incredible courage in not only escaping from the troubles in her country to the USA but she then got married, had a family and trained to be a teacher. But I didn't really feel as if I got to know Flora as a person, I didn't know what she was thinking or the kind of person she was most of the time and so I didn't care too much about her terrible ordeals ......... and she did have a tough time throughout the book....... which was a shame, as I do love to sympathise with my characters and I usually want them to come through and live happily ever after. But I'm afraid I wasn't that bothered about what happened to any of them.
The storyline was interesting and it never got boring, there was always plenty of action, but not a lot of narrative. It was mainly plot-driven and descriptive, some of the terrain scenes I found quite difficult to visualize. Also, particularly at the beginning of the book, some of the sentences were long-winded and it didn't make for quick and easy reading, but I felt that this improved as the story went on.
Overall, even though this wasn't a book that I particularly enjoyed, I do feel that Gary Stelzer has some good creative ideas, and it was interesting to learn about a different culture.
This is Gary Stelzer's debut novel and his website can be found here
Special Thanks to Robyn Schecter at Carol Fass Publicity for sending me this book.