Having escaped crumbling, socialist Venezuela, Yola Palacios and her family are settling into their new under-the-radar life in Trinidad.
But when the formidable* Aunt Celia dies, the Palacios discover that she’s been keeping one hell of a secret. She’s seriously in debt to a local criminal called Ugly, a debt that is now theirs to repay.
He might dress like David Bowie, but Ugly’s business style is pure Pablo Escobar. What he says, the Palacios must do, otherwise: big trouble.
Ugly’s right-hand man Román is tasked with keeping an eye on the family but Yola can barely keep her eyes off him. Forbidden fruit is the original aphrodisiac, and when Yola and Román fall in lust, even bigger trouble is on the horizon…
Told with raw, acid humour, One Year of Ugly is a story of family, first love and finding home. A blisteringly fresh take on the migrant experience, set in a beautiful corner of the Caribbean, and a poignant reminder that no matter what form of ugly crosses your path, there’s always a way to laugh through it.
The Palacios family fled Venezuela to make a new life in Trinidad, but when Aunt Celia dies they find she has amassed a large debt with the criminal underworld, namely Ugly. When Ugly comes calling for repayment the family end up ‘working’ for him to repay this debt.
Yola, who narrates the story, has a razor sharp wit that will have you laughing out loud at the family antics, the dark humour helps deal with the darker moments of life…..
Will the Palacios family manage to free themselves from Ugly?
This is a tale of the harsh realities of being a refugee, of the daily exploitation they suffer, but it’s also a tale of family, love and humour in adversity. It’s all mixed with such great characters to make an amazingly entertaining read.
Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour, for the promotional materials and an eARC of the book. This is my honest, unbiased review.
You can buy a copy here: https://amzn.to/3bIncf0
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Caroline Mackenzie is a freelance translator living in Trinidad with her husband and son. A national scholar, she studied in the UK on an Open Scholarship for four years to qualify as a specialist translator before returning to her native Trinidad, where she began writing more extensively. Her short fiction has appeared in literary publications around the world, and in 2017 she was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize. In 2018 she was named the Short Fiction winner of the Small Axe Literary Competition. One Year of Ugly is her first novel, and the TV rights have already been snapped up by Netflix.