Esperanza


Fiction - General
578 Pages
Reviewed on 08/19/2018
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Tommy Tutalo is an independent author, writer, photographer, painter, and visual artist, whose work is considered to be diverse, and universal. A native of West Orange, New Jersey, Tommy comes from a hardworking, and loving blue-collar background, and grew up in an ethnically diverse community. Both Tommy’s up-bringing, and the melting pot he grew up in have been two influential factors in his life and the arts. At an early age Tommy discovered a love for both the arts and the beautiful game, soccer. Soccer would become Tommy’s outlet and craft, which he would nourish and pursue, putting the arts off as secondary. Tommy’s hard work ethic, devotion, and perseverance with soccer, would enable Tommy to play at a very high level during his adolescent years, becoming one of the most decorated and recognized players in New Jersey, and eventually sought by, and play for The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, where he would win a DIV. III National Championship with the 2001 team. This would be the pinnacle of Tommy’s soccer career, and the foundation for the next phase in his life. As one door shut, another door opened, and Tommy would then pursue the arts, learning many different art mediums during, and after graduating from college, with a Bachelor of the Arts degree, Art History, and by any means devote his life to living as an independent artist and author.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite

Esperanza by Tommy Tutalo is a historical fiction novel that revolves around a young woman named Sarita who, following the unexpected death of her mother Gabriela, is left with three journals. While initially hesitant to read them out of fear that the written word of her mother might sully what had been shared verbally, Sarita soon discovers a story so intriguing that, once unleashed, it is a family saga cannot be forgotten. “Sarita found solace within the pages filled with a life battling fear, doubt, disbelief, yet thriving with passion, desire, love and happiness.”

Esperanza dances between the past and present, bringing to its pages fiction that is so timely and so true to life that it could pass as a non-fiction story if it wanted to. Gabriela and Dante's story of an illegal migration into the United States through Mexico is enough to stand alone, but the trials of their relationship in the midst of a horrible entanglement with a cartel is brought to the forefront and catapults the narrative from an emotional drama to a suspenseful thriller. Tommy Tutalo is able to skillfully balance the two very well, delivering an engrossing tale in a writing style that is reminiscent of classic fiction, which will appeal to those who enjoy true literary fiction. The characters are fully developed and wonderfully fleshed out, and the narrative is thoughtfully layered and multi-dimensional. I became emotionally invested in Gabriela's story in particular and hope to read more by Tutalo in the near future. I highly recommend this author's debut novel.

Romuald Dzemo

“It wasn’t until the night I risked everything for a dream that I regained my faith in God…” Esperanza by Tommy Tutalo is an engaging story featuring sophisticated characters. Lured by the American Dream, Gabriela illegally travels to the US. But her journey brings her into the life of an artist, Dante, a man struggling to escape from an invading darkness. Both are embroiled in a syndicate known as the Nada Mas that eventually masterminds the abduction and subsequent deportation of Gabriela when she and Dante decide to break ties with it. Can they both escape the vengeful pursuit of a ruthless crime cartel and the FBI? And can Sarita, Gabriela’s daughter, learn the truth about her parents?

This is a story with a lot of originality, a story that builds on a powerful premise, a young girl’s curiosity and desire to know her roots. The narrative style is unique, and the author does an impeccable job with the cultural elements of the setting, including words and expressions and capturing gestures that reflect the soul of the Mexican people. Gabriela is a fascinating character, a broken soul seeking her path, but can her connection with Dante help her heal, help her find the light and discover her path? Esperanza is an engaging story and Tommy Tutalo uses a narrative voice that is simple and irresistible. The writing is atmospheric and the author creates a spiritual tone that permeates the entire narrative. There is a lot to enjoy in this novel — the steady pace, the sense of suspense and mystery, the compelling characters, and the strong conflict.

K.C. Finn

Esperanza is a continuing family drama epic by author Tommy Tutalo, and is a hefty standalone read which is well worth the journey. The diaries of a mother, Gabriela, are discovered by her daughter, Sarita, when Gabriela dies before her time, and these are the women who deliver our tale through two generations of Mexican and American life. Gabriela’s tale begins as a child in Mexico, where the American Dream of success and safety is on everyone’s mind, and she moves to the States illegally to try to achieve it. She meets a young artist, Dante, through the notorious crime gang Nada Mas and despite these unsavory connections, Sarita is born to them. From here the tale bounces back and forth over the border as the couple try to break away from Nada Mas for the sake of their daughter and their dreams.

Tommy Tutalo presents a beautifully written tale which is extremely pertinent to the socio-political situation the world is currently facing. As we in the privileged parts of the world take our security for granted, ordinary people like Gabriela and Dante are embroiled in crime as a natural mode of survival, and their struggle is heartbreaking to read through. Yet there’s a strong sense of hope among the pages too, a never-ending spirit that seeks peace and stability beyond the chaos, and that element of Esperanza is what makes it such an engaging and 'unputdownable' read. Overall, I’d highly recommend this uplifting story to readers who want a family drama with heart, shock, tears and modern day relevance.