Paradise Misplaced by Sylvia Montgomery Shaw
Book 1 of the Mexican Eden Trilogy

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Synopsis

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 Benjamín 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, Benjamín 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?

 

About Sylvia Montgomery Shaw

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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.
 
Published April 1, 2012 by Swedenborg Foundation Publishers. 304 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Paradise Misplaced

Publishers Weekly

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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.

Feb 13 2012 | Read Full Review of Paradise Misplaced: Book 1 of...

Historical Novel Society

Despite the mystery plot, this is first and foremost a character-driven story, and I would gladly turn to the next book in the series to reconnect with the same characters, cliffhanger or not.

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ForeWord Reviews

Especially interesting is when Benjamin meets and befriends fellow prisoner El Brujo, “The Witch Doctor,” a Tarahumara Indian shaman “both youthful and old” who, with the help of a murky, lime-scented elixir, is able to run non-stop around the prison yard, a secret he shares with Benjamin.

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