I got this paperback from the ongoing book sale in Wadleigh Memorial Library in Milford NH.
"Although it is true that I have been considered lunatic on many occasions in the last five hundred years, it must be stated, at the very beginning of this sad and extraordinary tale, that I have been most grievously misunderstood. The elixir of life was drunk in all innocence and my dog had nothing to do with it.
"Let me explain."
It's an offbeat romance with a twist: the protagonist is a young Spaniard who joins the conquistadors in Mexico to try to impress his lady love, but while he's there he falls in love - with the country, with a beautiful woman, and most of all with the strange and exotic cacao... He learns to concoct delicious beverages and sauces using the cocoa beans, and when he finds that he's somehow become immortal (!), along with Pedro (the miniature greyhound that his Spanish lover sent with him), he makes his way through subsequent centuries in different parts of the world. He discovers many new and different ways to use cocoa, and achieves fame even as he despairs of ever finding love again... [The reader may have guessed early on how this is going to turn out - I know I did, and I'm not always the best at guessing these things - but our hero took his own sweet time about it. To give him credit, the whole situation was pretty bizarre!]
I enjoyed the story very much, for the detailed sense of place in the early chapters, and the dreamlike, somehow-decades-have-vanished way in which Diego discovers his new condition. The descriptions of the various chocolate-based concoctions are all delectable, and many of the setups are amusing - misunderstandings occur, people have to be convinced that he's not consorting with demons, there are questions of whether something so tasty can be anything but sinful, etc. I also had fun with the game of guessing which historical personage our hero has just encountered, from a fellow prisoner in the Bastille to a chocolate entrepreneur from Pennsylvania. Even the more angst-y situations had good payoffs - though I sniffled a bit at Pedro the greyhound's climactic moment. Good dog, Pedro...
Unusual and entertaining!
Released 4 mos ago (2/10/2018 UTC) at Main Street (see release notes for details) in Nashua, New Hampshire USA
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
I plan to leave this book on a bench or window ledge on Main Street during this afternoon's "Chocolate Stroll" event. Hope the finder enjoys the book!
[See other recent releases in NH here.]
*** Released for the 2018 Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes release challenge, for the embedded "disc" in the title. ***
*** Released for the 2018 Valentine release challenge. ***
*** Released for the 2018 Asian Zodiac Year of the Dog release challenge, for the greyhound on the cover. ***