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Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite
Bilongo by Brian Ray Brewer is the story of a man in love with two different women. The book opens with Rawley Aimes on a merchant ship, passionately making love to a woman named Lil. However, it turns out Rawley is already married to Marina, with whom he has made a life in Brazil. Still enthralled by Lil, Rawley returns home to say goodbye to Marina and end their marriage. Marina doesn't take too kindly to Rawley's indiscretions but finds herself unable to stop him from leaving. Meanwhile, Rawley has a chance encounter with a strange woman on the beach who warns him of heartbreak. He finds his way back to Lil, but things aren't the same anymore. Can he find redemption? Will Marina ever be able to forgive him?
Bilongo is a tale about heartbreak, forgiveness, and redemption. Brian Ray Brewer uses a gripping narrative with surreal overtones that pulls you into the world of Rawley Aimes as he struggles to navigate life loving two women who have stolen his heart and who couldn't be more different. Brewer's prose paints a colorful portrait of Latin American beaches and towns, which makes the setting all the more immersive for the reader. You find yourself hesitant to sympathize with anyone apart from maybe Marina, as all the characters have inherent flaws and vulnerabilities that they struggle to overcome. Whenever Rawley chooses between the two women, he inevitably regrets it afterward and starts feeling guilty about how he treated the other. The ending took me by surprise, but I found it satisfying nonetheless. Recommended to readers who enjoy literary fiction.