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Paradise misplaced - Sylvia Montgomery Shaw

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Paradise misplaced - Book 1 of the Mexican Eden Trilogy
Sylvia Montgomery Shaw
Paperback / softback
Swedenborg Foundation
UK Publication Date

I knew the secret as a child before anyone else did-that God planted the Garden of Eden just seventy-five kilometers south of Mexico City, near the town of Cuernavaca. He scattered seeds so only the most colorful flowers and the best climbing trees would grow in that semitropical paradise. He filled the stables with the fastest, strongest Arabians; mother's aviary with more birds than anywhere else in the world. Then he constructed a wall twice as tall as Father and encircled our Eden to keep it safe. We named the garden the Hacienda of San Serafin. I swore that I would spend the rest of my life there, where nothing bad ever happens . . .

Captain Benjamn Nyman Vizcarra, son of the wealthiest man in Mexico, has everything a young man could want. But in the days leading up to the Mexican Revolution of 1910, he finds himself questioning whether he can support the old regime-and more and more distracted by his brother's bewitching fiancee, Isabel. Setting out to expose her as a gold-digger, he instead falls deeply in love, setting himself on a path that leads to war, poverty, and alienation from his family.

Accused and convicted of his father's murder after a fateful late-night encounter, Benjamn faces his inner demons, beginning a process that Swedenborg describes as regeneration. As he plots escape with a fellow prisoner, a Tarahumara Indian known only as El Brujo, he relives his love affair and eventual marriage to Isabel. A new question begins to form: will he run, or will he stay to confront his mistakes and win back the woman he loves?

Sylvia Montgomery Shaw is a Mexican-American writer and scholar who was born in Mexico, grew up fully bilingual, majored in Spanish literature as an undergraduate and earned a doctorate degree in English. Her teaching career has taken her to the University of Rhode Island, Clark University, Boston University, and Bryn Athyn College, where she currently teaches English literature. Her research interests include Emanuel Swedenborg's influence on writers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and studies on the historiography of the Mexican Revolution of 1910. She currently divides her time between Sutton, Massachusetts, and Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania.

"Shaw has a killer of an opener: 'The plan was simple and well-intentioned. So, too, was the murder.' And thereby hangs an ambitious, three-part tale, set during the Mexican revolution of 1910 and centered on the Nyman family, headed by the domineering Gen. Lucio Nyman Berquist, a Swede whose marriage to the Mexican Manuela Vizcarra has produced three sons, a daughter, fabulous wealth, and strife. The narrative has two major pieces; one describes the immediate aftermath of the opening killing. The second is a flashback, a memoir penned in prison. Memoir writer Benjamin Nyman Vizcarra, one of the general’s sons, describes the events that have led him to prison, including his wild love for Isabel, a woman he thinks has betrayed him. The flamboyant story is equally colored by magical realism (El Brujo, a wizard-like Tarahumara Indian character who runs unceasingly in the prison yard) and Swedenborgianism (heroine Isabel is a Swedenborgian). But the reader need not be familiar with Swedenborg to understand and delight in the narrative arc."
? Publisher's Weekly

"What a compelling read this is, and so satisfying: a story of a man becoming free, a spiritual love story with all the tension of a thriller and a plot of mistaken identities worthy of Shakespeare."
? Linda Proud, author of The Botticelli Trilogy

"Paradise Misplaced, Sylvia Shaw's first novel, challenges readers to consider what the loss of Eden (which she places in Mexico) has meant to the world. She leads us through a moral landscape that is not necessarily new to us but newly imagined. The Mexican Revolution acts as the background to this novel of star-crossed lovers that recasts, however obliquely, the tale of the consequences of uncovering truth, and all that that, good and bad, can bring. In her pellucid and engaging prose, Shaw insists that we re-examine the hurried judgments we make about others. Only then, when thinking and compassion become one, as Milton would have it, 'over wrath shall grace abound.'"
? Professor Meg Tyler, Boston University

Keyword Index
Young men - Mexico - Fiction.|Metaphysics - Fiction.|Mexico - History - Revolution, 1910-1920 - Fiction.|Psychological fiction.
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