In 1989, Rita, a 16 year old girl lives with her family in a remote small town in Columbia.  It is a dangerous time when guerrillas have just about taken over the town and church.  There is the sound of men talking outside her second story window and she can help taking a look out.  She made eye contact with one of them.

“He smiled when he met her eyes behind the bars that shielded her from him, a bold smile of utter self-assurance- the assurance that comes from being armed and in a group and…simply from being assured.”

Soon after that, she encounter him, the guerrilla they call Lucas, in the street several times, actually he follows her around.  He tries to convince her that he is a nice guy and she finally falls for it.  The meet in secret and have an affair, which results in pregnancy.  By the time she realizes she is pregnant, Lucas has been sent away by his commander.

With nowhere else to turn, she eventually tell her parents, who tell the local priest.   After hearing her confession, he drives her to a orphanage, far away to have the baby and give him up for adoption.  She names him Sebastian, after her little brother and writes a letter to him at the prompting of a nurse after giving birth.

Asher Sebastian Stone grew up in California with wonderful parents.  He always knew he was adopted, his parents even read a letter to him from his birth mother.  However, he was never really curious to know more about her until his accident.  He started wonder if she ever thought of him and if she wondered how he was.

All of a sudden he can’t get her off his mind.  With the help of his parents and girlfriend, he embarks on a journey to try to find her.

I loved the story of Rita, how she girl up with extremely strict parents in a small town, what she did to pass the time at the orphanage while pregnant and her new life after in Bogota.  Bogota has always been a fascinating place to me because my brother, Steve play French horn in the symphony orchestra there in the later 70’s.  He painted a pretty bleak picture, with men with machine guns on roof tops to keep the peace. 

While in Bogota, looking for Rita, Asher and his girlfriend see those same machine guns on roof tops.  Asher’s search is a roller coast ride.  With assistance he pieces together bits of information and embarks on what appears to be fruitless.  I could feel his frustration but he doesn’t give up.

Leila Cobo paints a story of what it is like to grow up in guerrilla infiltrated Columbia as well as what is means to be adopted.  At times it felt like it was lacking in something, though I can’t quite figure out what.  Nonetheless, this is a great character study and the well written story kept me turning the pages. 


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I received this book from Grand Central Publishing for my honest review.


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