Review: Love, In Spanish by Karina Halle

My Thoughts

A boldly evocative, emotionally gripping novella.
It’s intense. It’s raw. It’s insightful. And it’s beautifully written.

5stars

Synopsis

Nov-11Successful, wealthy and absurdly handsome – Spanish ex-football player Mateo Casalles seemed like he had it all. A high-society wife, an adorable little girl, and flashy apartments in Madrid and Barcelona only sweetened the deal. But there was more to Mateo than met the eye – a life of uncertainty and regret that colored his black and white world.

That was until Vera Miles came into his life like a shooting star. Tattooed, wild and young, Vera seemed like Mateo’s polar opposite at first. But you can’t choose who you fall in love with and the two lost souls did everything they could to be together, all while suffering the grave consequences.

Now with Mateo divorced and living in Madrid with Vera, there is a whole new set of challenges and setbacks facing the couple and rocking the foundation of their star-crossed relationship.

Unfortunately for them, the brighter the star, the faster they burn.

My Review

“I am thirty-nine years old. I was a national football hero. I have a young daughter. An ex-wife. I lived with the woman of my dreams… Now she is gone. And I am nothing but a black hole.”

My heart hurt so much reading this book. Mateo and Vera’s relationship is rife with uncertainty, tumult and aching need. It’s misshapen by expectations, pressure, and the world. It hounds them. Judges them relentlessly. Deems their love inappropriate. Temporary. A fling. Tries to shatter everything they’ve built. Yet despite their trouble, one thing remains true.

They love each other.

Madly. Deeply. Wildly. Fatefully.

Perhaps nobody would put these two people together. Perhaps there were mistakes made upon following their hearts. Perhaps the world conspired against them, placing obstacle after ugly obstacle to break them and separate them. But the two of them together were like the stars and the sun, burning brightly in fervid color, for forever. And I certainly felt that intensely.

The way author Karina Halle pens this novel is very emotive. From the beginning (one year later after Love, In English concludes), there’s so much feeling, both unworded and expressed, and we really get to see the richness and depth of Mateo Casalles. A man who feels deeply as the weight of the world presses heavier on his shoulders.

“Our journey has never been easy. The only thing easy in all of this is my love for her. It is pure, it is simple, and it is true.”

And the story opens with just that… a feeling… a restlessness Mateo can’t seem to shake. A foreboding that his whole world is about to change. He and Vera have been living together in Spain for a year. Vera has found a job and is taking Spanish lessons. Mateo has decided to make a change in his career too, realizing his heart was not in the restaurant business. Before he knows it, he has the opportunity to take a job that rouses an old passion back to life, and Vera’s job (and thus stay in Spain) is in jeopardy. And to make matters worse, the paparazzi have remembered Mateo and have caught Vera’s wild ways in print, for them to exploit to the world.

“One would think that after all we have been through together, the tears and the torment, the witch hunts and the slander, at some point the path would become clear, smooth, and even. But the road only twists and turns.”

Mateo’s situation is precarious. With an angry ex-wife who prioritizes reputation above all else, a daughter caught in the middle, a new job and a now-tense relationship, it all seems too much for him. I think Mateo feels pulled apart between his old life and his new one… between the pull of tradition and reputation, and the freedom of living life as you choose, opinions be damned.

“You brought me colors and stars and cosmos and wonders. I wanted you so badly, craved you so much, that I knew I would suffer whatever bad things would come my way.”

Mateo and Vera have found something special in each other… with each other… but they are so different still. They come from different worlds. They have different responsibilities. Different ways of dealing. And I think there’s a chasm they must bridge, that truthfully, they continue to work through as this is not something that’s overcome in this novella.

“It’s like the only time we’re really together, really a couple is when we’re both here. Other than that, our lives don’t mesh at all, and whatever way I’m living it is all completely wrong to you.”

This story felt intimate. Emotional. All aching raw need and hurt and love and so many other sobering, real things. It’s one man’s journey of dealing with it all as he works through his fears and insecurities to hold onto what is most important in his world. The woman he’s found that’s brought color into his life. Who has lit it on fire. Who has turned everything around in his life, yes, but who was exactly what he needed.

This is Karina Halle’s best writing. So evocative and powerful and even poetic. Visceral. I really felt my way through this novel, more than anything. I love that not all the ends of it are tied, that their love, although not perfect, is perfect for them and still very much a thing that requires work. Halle does an amazing job with character connection and development, with shaping the story to evoke every ounce of emotion, stripping unnecessary layers from the fairytale to give us the story of two people who love each other madly as they struggle to find a way to make it work. It was love, in the raw. And it was beautiful.

“You are my star, my light, my love. And it doesn’t matter if you believe in it or not because it is the truth and the truth always finds a way to shine.”

Reading Order and Links

$0.99 Nov-11 22609201

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Comments

  1. Great review! I totally agree. Karina has a way with making you feel everything!

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