Weaving Dreams in Oaxaca

Fiction - Drama
348 Pages
Reviewed on 12/09/2023
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Grant Leishman for Readers' Favorite

Weaving Dreams in Oaxaca by Karen Samuelson is an intricately plotted romance that takes the reader into the mysterious world of shamanism and pre-Columbian myths and mystique. Frankie is a professional dancer from New York who is undergoing a crisis of direction and purpose. She is torn between continuing her successful dance career and an overwhelming desire to have a family. Needing space to think and decide her future direction she takes a break from everything in Oaxaca, Mexico. While in Oaxaca she meets Enrique, a mechanic and DJ, who is struggling to come out as gay to his conservative and deeply religious father. Frankie pretending to be Enrique’s girlfriend for his family gives the young man the space and time necessary to decide to tell the truth to his beloved father. Mac, a university professor in pre-Columbian history, receives a shocking announcement from his parents that sends him to Oaxaca on a personal quest. The lives of these three will become intertwined in Oaxaca and beyond as each seeks their peace and direction in life.

Weaving Dreams is a wonderfully rewarding and satisfying read. Author Karen Samuelson has created several readily identifiable characters that readers will immediately empathize with and cheer for in their different ways. The difficulties of gay men and women to live their true lives in societies that are dominated by the church and tradition are vividly displayed in this narrative. This will elicit not only sympathy but also some degree of frustration at Enrique’s lack of courage and belief in himself at times. I particularly appreciated the links to shamanism, mystical beliefs, and natural remedies that the narrative encompasses and was thrilled by the sympathetic manner in which the author expounded on these areas. The potential romance between Frankie and Mac was the highlight of the story for me and their slow but seemingly certain drift together, although fraught with difficulty and doubt, was a pleasure to read. The orphanage as the setting for the meeting and relationship between Frankie and Mac was perfect, as adoption was indeed a key element in both characters' lives and the two children, Esme and Leonel, became critical to the thought processes of both characters. I love reading about and absorbing other cultures and this story immerses the reader in the local culture of Oaxaca and Mexico from both a current and historical perspective. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and can highly recommend it.