agave blues book cover

Agave Blues – Book Review

Agave Blues by author Ruthie Marlenee

Thank you to author Ruthie Marlenee for providing me with a copy of her book in exchange for this honest review.

Agave Blues is a contemporary fiction novel that focuses on Maya, an American immigrant who has tried to leave her home in Mexico and the family agave farm behind her. She has attempted to live her American dream by becoming an attorney and being a single mother to her daughter Lily.

Unfortunately, living with Crohn’s disease and being recently separated from her fiancee have made it difficult to find happiness in her life. When Lily calls to tell her that her father has died she is brought into the realization that she must go home at last.

Maya means well and tries hard but she is not good at taking care of herself. She smokes cigarettes, drinks tequila, forgets to eat, neglects sleep, and is generally stressed out all of the time. This might actually be a pretty normal life for a lawyer. Alas, all of this makes it unsurprising that her health is declining.

She keeps that a secret as she returns to Mexico to reconnect with her family. Maya attempts to heal old wounds with her daughter as well as learn about the family she left behind. As she stays with them she finds that her body begins to feel better in line with her spirits. However, this does not stop the occasional hallucination or ghost siting.

Agave Blues has meaningful elements of magical realism woven into the narrative. In the tradition of many great Mexican works of literature the spiritual realm can drift into the physical one to those who are open to receive it.

Although Maya’s family is largely welcoming there are conflicts that do not get resolved easily. To many of the relatives, her leaving for America was a betrayal. They do not know about her reasons and why it might have been the best decision for her at the time. Agave Blues drifts from current day to flashbacks that slowly reveal what the past had previously kept contained.

Just as the characters around Maya, the reader has the truth unveiled to them. She cautiously opens up and the more she does the more she realizes how understanding people can be. Instead of swallowing feelings down to her sick stomach it’s much better to talk about them with those who care.

Agave Blues has the lovely prose that Marlenee should be known for. She lovingly describes details with the eye of a painter and an artist. It is clear that she sees the world in more vibrant hues than many of us.

I would recommend this novel for anyone who appreciates a little magic mixed into their dramas.

4/5 pours of tequila 🥃🥃🥃🥃

For more Ruthie Marlenee please check out Curse of the Ninth

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