ONE YEAR OF UGLY by Caroline Mackenzie

Another book chosen by the lovely girls from the Book Club and I have to say, another great read for this year. Not to mention this is book thirty on my Goodreads challenge and I set my target to exactly thirty for the year. WOW! It’s July and I already achieved my target. I went on my account and upped the number of books I want to read . It is so motivational, making me push further.

Back to our book now šŸ™‚ ONE YEAR OF UGLY was definitely what I expected. I usually read the synopsis before starting a book but not this time. I wanted the element of surprise and I got it in full. The subject treated is so deep and tragic but Caroline Mackenzie wrapped it in comedy and made it exceptional.

The book is built upon countless true stories, the stories of Venezuelans fleeing their homeland to settle in a place that is far from an idyllic refuge: Trinidad. Although in June 2019 Trinidad and Tobago offered a period of amnesty to the tens of thousands of Venezuelan refugees on the island, allowing them to register and work legally for up to one year, things were very different prior to that moment.

The novel is set in 2016 when arrest, deportation and detention were constant fears for refugees. Raids were conducted frequently on the known “hotspots” and workplaces, refugees were given no access to protection or public service, and the criteria for anyone hoping to regularize their status were near impossible to meet.

And with this in mind, meet the Palacios. Such strong characters, full of strength and determination. Having escaped crumbling, socialist Venezuela, Yola and her family are settling into their peaceful new life in Trinidad.

But when her beloved Aunt Celia dies, the family once again find their lives turned upside down. For Celia had been keeping a very big secret – the Palacios are seriously in debt to a local criminal called Ugly, and without the funds to pay him off, they must do his bidding until the debt is cleared. So far, so ugly.

In the midst of the turmoil appears Roman – Ugly’s distractingly gorgeous right-hand man. And although she knows it’s foolish, not to mention dangerous, Yola just can’t help but give in to the attraction. Could this wildly inappropriate (and very messy) romance be the perfect antidote?

This book made me laugh so hard and it also made me cry at times thinking of the reality of it all. It is such a wonderful story of first love, family, staying together and finding home. It is one hell of a debut for Caroline Mackenzie and I am so happy I read it.

The book is out only on Kindle version at the moment but it’s worth the read. You won’t be able to put it down

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