Damas, Dramas, and Ana Ruiz by Belinda Acosta was a good read. At first I had thought it would be a funny book and it is amusing but there is also a much deeper thread running through that involves family drama and a coming of age for both daughters and mothers as women. It’s an interesting story that kept me turning the pages and I was really pleased with it.
The story focuses on Ana Ruiz, recently separated from her husband Esteban, and their two children Diego and Carmen along with her niece Bianca thrown in for good measure. The separation has caused a lot of anger with the children especially Carmen as she’s a daddy’s girl. Carmen of course blames Ana for the separation and is very angry with her and shows her no respect whatsoever. Ana decides to plan a quinceanera – a fifteenth birthday party for Carmen as a way for them to spend more time together and maybe mend some fences. However all best laid plans usually go awry especially when you’re trying too hard and Ana’s are no different. Carmen agrees to the party but she’s not going to make any of it easy on Ana.
Ana is having such a hard time adapting to being without her husband and having her life in a shambles. She’s so frustrated with her daughter but she just can’t tell her the truth about her father and ruin her little girl’s starry eyed picture of her daddy. She’s also hurt, betrayed and still wanting to keep her marriage together for her children. Along the way a very hot artist comes to work at the university where Ana works and she plays at flirting for a while with him. It feels good to be attractive to someone again and feel beautiful.
However, Ana’s focus is really her children. The author portrays all the characters very realistically. You really get a sense for Carmen’s anger and her son Diego’s sweetness towards his mother. He’s a really mature young man considering all that is going on in his life. Ana’s niece Bianca is another character you grow to care about. Her mother has a mental illness and Bianca is left to try to come to terms with it and how she handles it. All the characters really grew in one way or another throughout the novel and I cared about them all and wanted to see the best happen for them.
The novel is well written. I did have some trouble with the Spanish used throughout the book although not to any great length. You won’t have any trouble at all understanding is being said as there is enough said to put the idea across quite well. I think it might have been nice to have a little mini page at the end of the novel with some of the words and sayings but as I said not really necessary. The best thing is this is a start of a Quinceanera Club series and I can’t wait to read the next one called Sisters, Strangers, and Starting Over. Oh, and as I was reading this novel I thought that it would really make a great book club pick and there’s even a Reading Group Guide available here. There’s so many issues to discuss between marriage problems and the difficulties kids face dealing with all the drama and just plain learning to find yourself in all the craziness.
I read Damas, Dramas, and Ana Ruiz by Belinda Acosta for her blog tour with Hachette Book Group – yet another wonderful novel published by Hachette. Many thanks to Miriam with Hachette for sending me the book and having me participate in the tour. Make sure to visit Belinda Acosta’s website here and you can purchase Damas, Dramas, and Ana Ruiz here in the US and here in Canada. Also, make sure to check out all the other blog tour stops that are planned for Belinda – you can see a listing of them here.