Welcome, bookworm, come in from the snow; goodness, it’s so heavy your footprints are already filling up. I have some hot chocolate and toasted marshmallows from when the Supernatural Fiction genre held their monthly ‘tales around the campfire’ gathering earlier this evening, if you’d like to help yourself? It’s the perfect treat for the trek you’ve made to get here tonight. Speaking of treks, have you heard about Legend Of The Lost Ass by Karen Winters Schwartz? Snuggle up under these blankets with your treats and I’ll tell you all about it.
Firstly, here’s the blurb: I think we should take it through Guatemala.
Legend of the Lost Ass is a beautiful story on love, loss, friendships, and making amends. Told from two distinct time periods, the reader sees into the past to understand the present. At the heart of the story is a bright orange tractor named Miss Mango and a donkey named Bee.
Adventure writer Colin receives an inviting text from a woman he doesn’t know:
“I think we should take it through Guatemala.”
Curiosity gets the better of him and he replies. Before he knows what’s happening, he’s meeting Luci and a bright orange tractor affectionately known as Miss Mango. He also meets Luci’s great uncle Ernesto. Colin and Luci instantly find each other annoying. While Colin dislikes Luci, he loves the idea of adventure and it’s Ernesto’s dream that Miss Mango be driven to his family in Belize, which he abandoned nearly seventy years earlier. So off they travel across Central America to atone for Ernesto’s past mistakes and bring a fractured family back together.
Will Colin find what he’s searching for and will he see what’s awaits him if he follows his heart? Will Luci mend her family’s rift and her own scarred heart? Will Ernesto finally get closure and right his past mistake.
Here’s a little about the author: Karen Winters Schwartz was born and raised in Mansfield Ohio. She wrote her first truly good story at age seven. Her second-grade teacher, Mrs. Schneider, publicly and falsely accused her of plagiarism. She did not write again for forty years.
Educated at The Ohio State University, both Karen and her husband have shared a career in optometry in Central New York’s Finger Lakes while raising two daughters together.
Her widely praised novel on mental illness, Reis’s Pieces: Love, Loss, and Schizophrenia was released by Goodman Beck Publishing in the spring of 2012. The follow-up to her critically acclaimed debut, Where Are the Cocoa Puffs?: A Family’s Journey Through Bipolar Disorder, Reis’s Pieces is not only an honest and engaging story but an advocacy tool, an educational tool, and a comfort to those dealing directly and indirectly with mental illness.
Through her books, Karen opens up discussions about the need for empathy and the impact of the negative stigma associated with these neurobiological brain disorders. Through literature, she educates while entertaining, elicits empathy while telling a great story, and advocates by reaching those who just don’t “get it.”
Here’s my review: I was pleased to receive a digital copy of Legend Of The Lost Ass from the author via Booksirens but it sat in my virtual To Be Read pile for a while until the hubbub of Christmas and New Year had passed and I could enjoy the journey.
I have to say that I fell in love with the obstinate Bee and faithful Miss Mango immediately. Don’t get me wrong, I liked the human characters too but Bee stole my heart with her biting and kicking ways until she felt affection. Miss Mango took me back to my childhood when I would climb on the back of my dad’s vintage tractor in the fields, sometimes being allowed to steer the wheel if I had been really good that week, and I always ended the journey with a little pat on her red bonnet. So I understood the affinity and care Ernesto had for his much-loved tractor (and Miss Mango for Ernesto!).
I didn’t like Colin much at first but the bickering between him and Luci was comical at times and poignant in others as a friendship began to take root and by the end of the book, I’d changed my opinion of him. Luci’s self-discovery of not only her heritage but also more about her own challenges and hopes was interesting to explore. Ernesto was my favourite human character, as he bravely struggled to achieve his dreams whilst placing his trust in a stranger and trying to avoid being bitten by Bee.
The descriptions of the landscape, sights, sounds and smells made me want to trek across Central America. The country felt vibrant and bursting with life, even if that life came with a bite…
I enjoyed this story of hope and friendship, which reminded me to seize opportunities and dare to step out of my comfort zone because who knows what wonders I might discover if I do. 4 / 5 stars from me.
If you like the sound of this story, just click on the book image above to visit the relevant page on Amazon. I don’t receive anything for providing the link, I’m just being a helpful bookworm. Thank you to the author and Booksirens for the digital copy of this book in return for my honest opinion.
Well bookworm, it’s time for me to put the books to bed, give the cats their supper and the dragons their charcoal. Until next time, bookworm, farewell!