Readers’ Corner – Oct. 2021: Exotic Locations and People
By Bonnie McCune & Kathleen Duhamel ~
Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows, Balli Kaur Jaswal. East meets West in this genre-smashing romance-thriller-cultural expose, with dollops of soft erotica. That’s India and Great Britain, not the US. Take a fascinating tour with first-generation Muslim Nikki, who’s thoroughly modern and distains the traditional arranged marriage as she carves a niche as an English lit teacher to women immigrants. Widowed women still trying to rebuild their lives are students, and they’re more interested in erotica than grammar. As they begin to become a true community, they’re endangered by the nontraditional activity when a fundamentalist fanatic threatens. Comic, tragic, thought-provoking.
Embassy Wife. “In Namibia, you cry when you come, and you cry when you leave.” Katie Crouch’s witty contemporary novel follows two accomplished women who accompany their husbands to southern Africa. Brilliant Persephone, whose husband works for the State Department, strives to be the perfect embassy wife while keeping an eye on her husband, who she suspects is a CIA spy. She befriends newbie Amanda, whose Fullbright scholar spouse harbors an old, potentially explosive secret that threatens to destroy their marriage. The author deftly weaves images of Africa with themes of racism, colonialization and white privilege, without becoming heavy-handed.
A Salty Piece of Land. Jimmy Buffett is not only a master singer/songwriter (Margaritaville), but also a compelling storyteller with a writing style that is as easy-going and fluid as his music. When we first meet cowboy Tully Mars, he is on the run from an unfortunate romantic entanglement when he wakes up from a ganja buzz on the Caribbean island of Caya Loco. A chance encounter with an ancient female sea captain involves him in her quest to restore an historic lighthouse. Buffet blends eccentric characters and exotic locales with a touch of romance into a satisfying adventure that goes down as easily as a tropical smoothie.