In the summer of 1959, as Castro clamps down on Cuba and its first wave of exiles flees to the States to wait out what they hope to be his short-lived reign, Emma Gant, fresh out of college, begins her career as a reporter. Her fierce ambition and belief in herself are set against the stories swirling around her, both at the newspaper office and in her downtown Miami hotel, which is filling up with refugees.
Emma's avid curiosity about life thrives amid the tropical charms and intrigues of Miami. While toiling at the news desk, she plans the fictional stories she will write in her spare time. She spends her nights getting to know the Cuban families in her hotel, and rendezvousing with her married lover, Paul Nightingale, owner of a private Miami Beach club.
As Emma experiences the historical events enveloping the city, she trains her perceptive eye on the people surrounding her: a newfound Cuban friend who joins the covert anti-Castro training brigade, a gambling racketeer who poses a grave threat to Paul, and a former madam, still in her 20s, who becomes both Emma's obsession and her alter ego. Emma's life, like a complicated dance that keeps sweeping her off her balance, is suddenly filled with divided loyalties, shady dealings, romantic and professional setbacks, and, throughout, her adamant determination to avoid "usurpation" by others and remain the protagonist of her own quest.
"A master stylist." (Booklist)
A bit of a slow start but once it gets going it was a great read - until it ended with a dud. It truely seems she just ran out of steam (or ideas?) and wrapped it up. A huge disappointment from one of my favorite authors. Stephanie Zimbalist reading was great, as usual.
I should have probably taken the unabridged version as the writing was quite good. However, the ending left me wondering as it did not come to any type of closure whatsoever. Ithought there was more to the book as it ended.