Carla M. Soares
Publisher: Porto Editora
While writing my thesis, I had some issues writing stuff in Portuguese… Also I thought “What the hell, the book is Portuguese, so we all know what it is about, but what about the others?” Hence this review will be in… German! Yeah, right… So let’s begin: Alma Rebelde “Wild Spirit” (Alma should be translated directly into soul, but that would be cheesy) is a new book released by one of the greatest Portuguese publishers: Porto Editora. I understand why the book was published, the story scheme has a lot of resembles with other authors such as Johanna Lindsey (in her best books) and Lisa Kleypas. I actually believe that this book should be read not due to the story, which is predictable, but for the language in use. When we read Kleypas or Lindsey, we read it for the characters, but the work behind the language is not that good.
The use of Portuguese here is highly admirable. It is not dull, it keeps the pacing, and you notice that the author is a Portuguese teacher in some sentences. It is light, without being brainless. I usually tend to call these type of books “light historical romance”, the romance is definitely the focus point and the historical part is just a set. Another positive issue is the fact that you see that the author did some research and placed it carefully every now and then, without heavy traces of “infodump”. The story is, as I have mentioned before, predictable.
There were two points were a bit forced (the lover and the attack), you can see the author placed them there to make you enjoy the characters, but it looks like it was only placed for troubles. The dilemmas meet the characters while they are innocent and do NOTHING to have troubles and yet they keep coming. I do not enjoy innocent characters, I want them to be silly and stupid. Make mistakes, you are human after all. Nevertheless, overall, the story is acceptable for the kind of book.
The characters, it depends a lot on the scenes. I enjoy Santiago until a certain point. He was way too light at the beginning. He did not “enjoy” the fact that he was marrying for money, but he looked like he did not care and tried to be too sweet with Joana. I would like him to be a son of a bitch at the beginning and more sweet in the end. He calls her “Joaninha” at the beginning, like a sister and I thought “ok maybe he is a decent guy” Of course he is! He is the hero! Still I like them tough… he did not sound though. I still prefer him to Joana. Joana is a typical woman from the XIX century, she hides a wild spirit. I loved when at the end she asks Santiago “Do you think I am afraid to work?” You have to hate female characters that only think about marriage, with Joana it is the opposite. Though she complains way too much at the beginning and may even think she is “a spoiler brat” (hey she is marrying a nice dude, while Ester her cousin married an old man who beats her, so yeah Joana is pretty damn lucky), when she arrives at Santiago’s house, she changes. She is the one that suffers the greatest change: from a woman who keeps complaining, to someone who actually do something. It was pity that she was not more “fiery”, there were some quotes from Santiago that I would love to personally answer him.
There was some symbolism left to explore, the constant mention of the word “Joaninha” certainly reminds everyone of the Portuguese book from the author Almeida Garrett “Viagens na minha terra” and the mention of Madame Bovary, where Santiago quotes Flaubert in French “Madame Bovary c’est moi”.
In the end the book ended with a four-star on Goodreads, because I seriously believe these minor things are, just small details and they do not rob the beauty of it. It is said that we are to support what is ours and this book proves it. Why buy horrible books like Sherryl Thomas, when we can have nice books with great Portuguese work in language? If you want to read a book similar to this one in English, try “That perfect someone” by Johanna Lindsey herself.
Also thanks to Wook for allowing us to spend 15€ on e-books!
Review in Portuguese coming soon.