cover image ONE HOT SUMMER


Carolina Garcia-Aguilera, Carolina Garcia Aguilera, . . HarperCollins/Rayo, $23.95 (288pp) ISBN 978-0-06-000980-9

On her way to a wake in Coral Gables from her Miami Beach home one July evening, 35-year-old Margarita Solana savors her purchase of a new black dress with practical joie de vivre. Margarita has the proverbial everything: she enjoys a successful career as an immigration lawyer and a good marriage to a handsome, successful self-made Cuban lawyer who adores her; their life in the upper-class Cuban-American enclave is enviably comfortable. The only question troubling her is whether she should resume her career now that she's reaching the end of parental leave following the birth of her son. Her husband, Ariel, and her mother are encouraging her to have another child, but what does she truly want? Things heat up when Luther Simmonds, her gorgeous, Anglo college boyfriend and first love reappears, intent on winning her back. Even after a visit to her psychic, Margarita can't decide whether to change her life, but soon questions about adultery and other moral choices are inevitable. Meanwhile, her best girlfriends—Vivian, an attorney, and Anabel, an architect—are facing decisions of their own. Garcia-Aguilera perfectly captures the conflicts of these cosseted Cuban-American women. Her tongue-in-cheek humor enlivens the situations she describes with intimate familiarity, and she treads gently around other aspects of the exile experience (including the Elián Gonzalez case). Despite Margarita's emotional conflicts, the outcome is never seriously in doubt, but no matter, it's how she reaches it that provides this zesty tale with its sparkle. Garcia-Aguilera's Miami sleuth, Lupe Solano (Havana Heat and Bitter Sugar), has won her the Flamingo and Shamus Awards. By sticking to a world she knows well, the author has produced another crowd pleaser. (June 18)

Forecast:The Cuban-American demographic Garcia-Aguilera writes about here will gleefully recognize themselves, and snap this up—expect exuberant sales in Miami and in affluent Hispanic communities around the country.