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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.