Book reviews à la bookworm...The good, the bad, and everything in between.
***this title is available for free on Wattpad or Yumpu (beware of typos)***
Demetrio San Telmo discovers his half-brother Ricardo Silveira had committed suicide because of a woman. The woman's identity is a mystery to anyone who'd known Ricardo, and the man had even destroyed her photo. The only proof Demetrio has, is a handkerchief with an embroidered initial. The woman's name begins with a V.
He travels to Rio de Janeiro and the house of the Castelo Branco only to discover there are two young ladies living under their roof. The shy and sickly Virginia and a brazen, outspoken beauty, Veronica who quickly catches his eye. And although he ardently hopes that she's not the one he's looking for, an overheard conversation between the son of the Castelo Branco, Juan a.k.a. Johhny, and Virginia opens his eyes to the truth. Veronica had been the one that led Ricardo to his death, and apparently his brother hadn't been the only one to fall into the temptress's trap.
Decided on exacting his revenge, making the woman suffer as much as Ricardo had, Demetrio makes Veronica fall in love with him, marries her, and whisks her away into the jungle, into the same village Ricardo had lived and died in. Little does he know that both he and Veronica are victims of a lie, a mentira that will irrevocably change their lives.
For those who watch telenovelas, this is a well-known story, rehashed and refurbished so many times it's impossible to find any original elements in it anymore. But let me tell you, there is a vast difference between a TV rendition of the story, and the written "original".
Sure, it reads like a Harlequin of old (having been written in the seventies), but it's written better than most Harlequins nowadays. Although it consists mostly of dialogs, with an odd descriptive sentence thrown into the mix from time to time, it's easy to keep pace with, and far from boring (go figure). The characters are nicely fleshed out, and although it falls rather short of explaining just how and why Veronica would and could forgive Demetrio in the end, it provides the requisite happy ending. Although I wished for a longer resolution and an epilogue wouldn't have hurt.
Now, as Harlequin story would and should, La mentira also falls prey to the usual misunderstanding-fueled plot, but let's face it, without the misunderstanding (and the lie), If Demetrio had had the presence of mind to ask the neighbor how Ricardo's woman looked like or, once married, asked the same neighbor if Veronica was that woman, there would be no story.
So, if you decide to read this (it's in Spanish and the versions available on line are full of typos!), make sure you get into the right frame of mind. Suspend your disbelief and immerse yourself into the story that has inspired so many telenovelas. You won't be sorry.