As with most things not related to my work, I am very late on posting about Café Au Lait by Liane Spicer, an author and blogger from T&T who is also a reader of this blog. Aka_lol reviewed the novel a year and a half ago for example. Liane, I apologise…
But I can rectify this now. Easily.
Café Au Lait is a romance novel set in Trinidad and Tobago, with real Trini characters and best of all, T&T scenery. Apart from the well-written drama of a romance, the book takes you on a virtual tour of both islands – with its characters smack in the middle of Carnival (albeit at an acknowledged unusual time of year), going to see the scarlet ibis at sunset in the Caroni Swamp (an absolute MUST for any visitor to Trinidad) and liming on the beach in Tobago.
Two things in particular struck me about the novel.
Flash flooding in Port of Spain is a vital plot device, spurring a key development in the romance between Shari and Michael Floods in town! Imagine that. In a book. Anyone who ever work in Port of Spain, or went shopping or running errands in town, at some point must have encountered sudden floods that stalled your car, prevented you from leaving the store you popped into on Henry Street for 5 minutes, or caused mass chaos at City Gate (public transportation hub). So, I was highly entertained by the characters having to drive up and down and through all kinda back road to avoid flood. Made it so real.
I also loved that, although the dialogue is written in “standard English” the rhythm of the speech still flowed naturally with a Trini accent. (I read parts of the dialogue aloud to ensure this – I don’t read many romance novels with Trinidadian characters so I wanted to make sure.) I thought that was brilliant, and evidence that Liane can really capture the way real people speak. It’s a bugbear of mine, with any kind of literature, when the characters don’t speak like real people.
So, whether you’re “into” romance novels or not, if you want to read some Trinbagonian fiction, well written and with beautiful scenery, don’t delay like me – go get your hands on a copy of Café Au Lait. You may also enjoy visiting Liane’s blog, where her most recent post illustrates her love for and the beauty of our homeland, in an homage to El Tucuche.
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