Loosely Translated by Simon Hugh Wheeler
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I am grossly behind in my review of this fun little story, for which, I am extremely apologetic. I was given a copy by the author for my honest opinion, and my honest opinion is that I thought it was great.
Maria and Mike are both authors. Mike is more successful (not by much, but he is), and has a handful of detective novels that do reasonably well. He lives alone and practically out of a bottle. Apparently, success, mild or otherwise, doesn't always lead to happiness. Maria, has never been successful at writing. She had people telling her to give her dreams up, but she just couldn't do it (trust me, I relate). As a last resort, Maria, who is Spanish, gets a job translating Mike's first Erik Hardmann book. She's appalled by how something so bad could be published AND worthy of being seen by other countries (Is this REALLY how you want to represent yourself to the foreign market? She practically asks). She takes artistic license and sales boom.
With the success of his first book in the Spanish market, Mike goes to Spain, and meets Maria, his book translator/signing translator, and sparks don't exactly fly. Maria is proper, polite, and would never ever swear, while Mike swills beer, uses crass language whenever he can, and has next to no manners.
Mirror opposites who don't get along, but work surprisingly well together, despite constant bickering.
After Mike and Maria met, I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. I kept waiting for him to find out that she changed his story. It didn't happen nearly as soon as I thought it should. In places, it seemed a little long, but for the most part I really enjoyed the story.
I do have one little pet peeve. There were about fifteen epilogues that I thought were unnecessary. I can see it from a filmmaker's POV, like the credits are rolling, here are the little things that have happened throughout the story, let's tie up all loose ends. I just thought it made it longer, and didn't add to the story at all (although, I did like Mike's gift to Maria's collector father. That was awesome!).
Overall, I enjoyed the story and characters. I liked how Mike became more polite, and Maria let loose and realized that she could be wrong once in awhile. I'm a big fan of character development, and these two most definitely had it. :-)
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