The Truest Reviews

One of the first pre-publication jobs for a writer is to collect some reviews. Of course you can’t go out into the woods and pick them as you would some mushrooms. Harvest might be the right word, for first you seed some tubers, hoping for a good return. You send advance readers copies out to review publications and writers you respect, trusting that they’ll respond favorably.

Sometimes they do. The starred review from Kirkus was a delight, and here’s what Foreword Reviews has to say:

“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

Quite lovely and welcome. Yet I respond even more when some reader captures the absolute heart of the book, ferreting it out and describing it more exactly than I ever have myself. This is from Paul Kafka-Gibbons, author of Love [Enter], Dupont Circle, and The Last Murder:

“John Thorndike brings a resonant emotional sensibility to the days of Clare Miller and her baby girl, Alameda. Thorndike knows that to become a father or mother is a revolution in itself, and projects this against the big screen of political revolution, with its savage and often tragic logic.”

That is the true revolution going on in A Hundred Fires in Cuba. Castro and his reforms get the headlines, of course, but the deepest changes are those within us. Daily I’m fascinated by all kinds of politics, all kinds of revolutions, but what goes on among Clare, Camilo and their daughter is what drives me to write a book.

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