First Love

Just Once in a Lifetime: A Memoir

Romance - Historical
224 Pages
Reviewed on 06/01/2015
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

First Love: Just Once in a Lifetime: A Memoir is a non-fiction memoir written by Violeta Barrett. Barrett was a young career woman when she went on a vacation to Mexico in the summer of 1956. She had been working for an investment firm on Wall Street for ten years since graduating from school, and was separated from her husband of two years. The upcoming trip seemed like a thrilling adventure and, when she arrived at the Mexico City airport, the first person she met there was her tour guide, Jorge, from Felicity Tours. The tour through Mexico proved to be every bit as exciting as she had hoped from the very first day, and she soon found herself falling in love with the romance, culture and history of the country. She also fell in love with Jorge, though they had just a few days to share exclusively with each other. Their romance continued after her return to the States through their correspondence. Though the two of them were never able to fulfill their deepest dream of being together forever, they shared a close and indelible bond that transcended all else. Barrett's memoir is followed by the letters Jorge sent her from the time she left Mexico until July, 1960.

Violeta Barrett's nonfiction memoir, First Love: Just Once in a Lifetime: A Memoir, is a beautifully written and heartwarming tribute to the man who captured the author's heart and never quite let it go. This is a bittersweet tale of love that is simply and honestly told in the author's words, which are echoed so marvelously in Jorge's letters from long ago. I kept thinking to myself how different the ending might have been if Barrett's romance had begun more recently, even while I marveled that these two lovers were able to maintain their amazing romance despite the geographical and cultural challenges. Barrett includes a number of photographs taken during her holiday in her memoir and the happiness on her and Jorge's faces shines clear and bright even some fifty odd years later. I was enchanted by their fairytale romance even if there wasn't to be, at least in this life, a happily ever after. First Love: Just Once in a Lifetime: A Memoir is most highly recommended.