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Unsettling    by Lynda Sandoval Amazon.com order for
Unsettling
by Lynda Sandoval
Order:  USA  Can
HarperCollins, 2004 (2004)
Hardcover

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* *   Reviewed by Rashmi Srinivas

Lucy Olivera, a no-nonsense narcotics officer, is about to get married to her dream man - Ruben, a fellow officer. But the traditional and unfailing Olivera curse of failed first marriages looms like the sword of Damocles over Lucy, wrecking her peace of mind and sucking all enthusiasm out of wedding preparations. In these anxious times, Lucy's friends Cristina, Mercedes and Annette, are there to help her.

Each feeling that the others are doing so much better than themselves, they come to the wedding determined to forget the unpleasant realities of their lives. But when a panicked Lucy makes a run for it after the wedding, her friends tag along. While trying to solve her insecurities, their own chaotic secrets come tumbling out. A magazine article inspires them to go looking for a reclusive healer in the mountains of New Mexico in search of solutions to all their problems. Along the way, they not only re-discover their friendship but also their inner strengths.

This novel portrays women's friendships realistically and poignantly, the range spanning jealousy, understanding, and love. The friends' quest has shades of Dorothy in search of the legendary Wizard of Oz. The question of whether the women will find their innermost wishes fulfilled, or be doomed to disappointment, drives the story. The individual problems that these women face are handled with humor and panache, and while the solutions aren't always tidy, they're nevertheless inspiring.

The flavor of Unsettling is overwhelmingly Latino, with all the corresponding spiciness. Overall, this is one of those tales that leaves readers feeling satisfied, happy and richer for having read the book.

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