Cigar Barons

Blood Isn't Thicker than Water—It's War

Fiction - Drama
283 Pages
Reviewed on 08/07/2019
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Rabia Tanveer for Readers' Favorite

Cigar Barons: Blood Isn't Thicker Than Water - It's War by Isabella is a family drama with a little bit of suspense and romance to go with it. The story follows the ever exclusive Huerta family. Their story began when the patriarch of the family, Alejandro Huerta, came to Nicaragua and started his cigar business. Fast forward to the present where the new generation of the Huerta family is now taking the business to new heights. While Sofia Huerta is working hard to make sure the family legacy lives on, her brother RJ is busy merry-making and womanizing. When their father died, RJ expected that he would be the heir to the family’s fortune, but his father left everything to Sofia. Surprised and out of his mind, RJ believes that he has been wronged. Now there is a tussle between the siblings, no one is giving up and no one is ready to let go. What can they do now? With such a family dynamic, can their business survive this?

This was a fast-paced, action-packed family drama that had me on the edge of my seat. I lived for the family dynamic, how the sibling war started and how Sofia was just trying to do the best for the family. I loved to hate RJ. He was despicable, needy and greedy, but he was very well written. He knew what he wanted and he knew how he was going to get it. He was not shy to exert force to get what he wanted. Sofia’s growth was tremendous, she was fighting for her rights and what was right without backing down. This is one of the best novels I have read so far this year! Brilliant!

Maria Beltran

Cigar Barons: Blood Isn't Thicker than Water - It's War by Isabella is a Huerta family saga set in Cuba, Nicaragua and the United States. When Alejandro Huerta was a poor young boy in pre-Castro Cuba, he had always dreamt of cultivating one of the best tobaccos in the world and perpetuating a family legacy. Emigrating to Nicaragua with Maria, the couple went through a lot of hardships to do just that. Huertas Cigars became a legend and their sons Roberto and Manuel took over the family business with Roberto at the helm. But when Roberto died in a freak accident, the family is torn apart because he willed most of the business to his accomplished daughter Sofia. Now his son Roberto Jr. will go to any lengths to wrest the family business away from her.

Isabella's Cigar Barons is an engaging family saga that pits brother against sister. The story unravels with the suspicious death of the patriarch Alejandro Huerta and, as such, the conflict is immediately established. The colorful characters in this novel are beautifully well developed so it is fascinating to follow the various twists and turns of the plot with them. And as Roberto and Sofia are locked in the struggle for control of Huerta Cigars, a family secret is revealed, a relationship is in danger and the very survival of the business empire is threatened. Author Isabella weaves together a tapestry of motives, emotions, and personalities and the result is a novel that definitely informs and entertains.

K.C. Finn

Cigar Barons is a work of dramatic and romantic fiction penned by author Isabella. Written for adults due to its mature language and romantic content, the novel centers around the cigar business of magnate Alejandro Huerta. He and his two sons emigrated from Cuba to Nicaragua, leaving a family legacy of wealth and success to their children and beyond. But when a freak accident kills one of the original Huerta men, Sofia and her brother Roberto are pitted against one another for control of the empire. Surprises, secrets, romance and heartache lie at every corner of this complex family drama and mystery tale.

One of the things I really liked about this novel was the commitment to the culture of the Cuban people, their highs and lows and attitudes to hard work and building a successful empire. The characters all came from those passionate roots, which gave them a lot of power in their dramatic scenes, and author Isabella drew on that frequently to make this a very passionate novel in general. The plot was intriguing and had a lot of surprises and new information along the way, and slowly we fall in love with some of the characters and root for them to overcome the obstacles put in their way. Isabella has crafted a solid pace for the events to unfold, with time enough in between to develop relationships and a very good romance plot. Overall, Cigar Barons is a highly engaging romance and drama novel that is sure to please fans of intense family sagas.

Kathryn Bennett

In Cigar Barons: Blood Isn't Thicker than Water—It's War by Isabella, we have all heard of a legend or two, but do you know that legends can’t be built overnight? If you want to be a legend, be prepared to put in hard work for a long time and to make many sacrifices for that title of legend. Huerta Cigars has been a labor of love for emigrant Alejandro and his sons Roberto and Manuel, and over the decades they put in the work to make their cigars legendary. When Roberto passes on, his only daughter Sofia is left to tend the legendary flame. But legends, like life and family, are never that simple. Sofia has a hard-drinking, womanizing brother Roberto Jr. and he is sure he should be the one in charge of the cigar barony. What happens when brother and sister square off in a battle to keep a legend alive?

I have to say I know nothing about cigars, but I do know a bit about family infighting when a member passes on and it was the original blurb of this book that made me want to pick it up. I am so very glad that I did because Cigar Barons is a very well written, sometimes slightly telenovela, super enjoyable book. Sofia is a strong woman who has a creative drive and everything it takes to keep a family business going, and I love a lady boss. For me, that made Sofia a character that I was very quickly drawn to and I wanted to stay on her side. Her brother, well, he doesn’t make a very great first, or second impression at all, but the more you read the more you dig beneath the surface of these characters and find out what makes them tick. Nothing about either one is as cut and dried as it might seem at first. Author Isabella writes in a truly engaging way that flows well and makes you curious about what surprise could be next around the corner. Let me tell you, I had no idea some of those surprises were coming. So if you want a great read that will keep you focused, entertained and maybe even teach you a little bit about cigars along the way, I highly recommend this book for you.

Divine Zape

Cigar Barons: Blood Isn't Thicker than Water—It's War by Isabella is a powerful novel with wonderful characters, filled with drama, action, and mystery. While Castro is launching the revolution in Cuba, Alejandro Huerta flees to Nicaragua and starts Huerta Cigars, a dream that is quickly embraced by his two sons Roberto and Manuel. This is a business that flourishes and becomes a brand name adored by cigar lovers. Sofia Huerta, the daughter of Don Roberto, runs her own line of fine boutique cigars, but her life is about to change when she receives a phone call. She quickly leaves San Francisco for Nicaragua to save her father. Sofia discovers she is the heiress to the cigar empire on the death of her father, but there is a huge problem: her brother has always believed the business would fall to him in the event of their father's death.

The novel explores a family feud that is deadly and pits brother against sister. Written in powerful prose and in language that is hugely captivating, Cigar Barons offers a realistic background against the rise of the Fidel Castro revolution in Cuba and the cigar business. I would be surprised if the author doesn’t run his own cigar business. The story is deftly written and balanced, with well-developed characters and plot twists that are designed to fuel the conflict and to increase the level of interest in readers. I enjoyed the lively and natural-sounding dialogues, the emotional intensity of conflict, and the strong premise—siblings fighting over a lucrative business. The story is spiced by themes of romance, family and brotherhood, and what happens when personal interests override the bond of family.