My New Book   Coming from Beck & Branch Aug. 15th

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A Hundred Fires in Cuba.   In the spring of 1956, a young American photographer falls in love with a Cuban line cook in New York. They have a ten-week affair which ends when Immigration arrests and deports him—but by then Clare Miller is pregnant. Few Americans know the name Camilo Cienfuegos. All Cubans do. In real life he was the most charismatic of Fidel Castro’s commanders, until his small plane vanished only months after Fidel came to power. In this novel, Clare must choose between the stable Cuban businessman she has married and her first love, Camilo. Though a true revolutionary, Camilo likes to dance and drink. He likes women, and too many women like him. His courage is legendary, yet when he comes to visit Clare he’s afraid of his own daughter and her moods. Clare worries that he’ll never make a good parent, but she cannot resist him.

“Thorndike weaves a complex love affair into one of the hemisphere’s great dramas, the Cuban Revolution. Evocative prose, timeless conflicts, and an intimate story full of surprises.” –Natalie Goldberg, author of Wild Mind and Let The Whole Thundering World Come Home

Thorndike is a talented, experienced writer, and Clare and Camilo especially are fully developed, attractive characters…. A highly recommended rendering of a love affair and mysterious slice of Cuban history.” –Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“The prose is elegantly crafted…. A Hundred Fires in Cuba is a sophisticated historical novel that effectively deploys a love triangle to capture the essence of a remarkable figure and the historic period that produced him, laying bare the yearnings of the heart.” —Foreword Reviews

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Kirkus Reviews isn’t known for coddling authors. I’ve published three books with New York houses and one with Swallow Press at Ohio University. Won some awards, good reviews in the New York Times and other papers—and never a starred review from Kirkus. But this time, hooray: they’ve given one of those coveted stars to A Hundred Fires in Cuba. 

The heart of the review: 

“Thorndike is a talented, experienced writer, and Clare and Camilo especially are fully developed, attractive characters. The dynamic between Camilo and Fidel is fascinating. Camilo is a joyous revolutionary and wants a revolution that really does fulfill its promises to the poor and dispossessed. Fidel, on the other hand, is a dangerous ideologue whose first directive is to eliminate perceived threats.

“A highly recommended rendering of a love affair and mysterious slice of Cuban history.” (Starred Review)

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