Book Review #5: The Lady and The Bandit by Adelina Rodriguez
Welcome to the latest Random Books and Coffee Review. Today I’ll be reviewing The Lady and the Bandit by Adelina Rodriguez. This is going to be a special review as I am a fan of the author’s artwork and this is her first novel. I’m looking forward to her next endeavor in the realms of literature, but until then her artwork will have to sate my hunger for her (sometimes twisted) comedy.
The tale is set in Spain during the 1800’s, where our female lead, Pepita Worthington, is forced to wed a rich, cringey old man thanks to her shrew of an aunt, a haunting yet hilarious figure sure to instill fits of laughter just as well as shivers crawling up one’s spine. Pepita herself wants a marriage based on love and devises ways to get out of the marriage during the journey to the chapel dressed in an abomination of a wedding dress. Thanks to a jinx brought on by religious things such as being in a church, Pepita flees the wedding, but ends up lost, injured, and in the path of a bandit that puts romance novel covers to shame. Said bandit, Rafael, has his own problems to deal with in the form of evading death at the hands of an old nemesis, The Mouthcutter. The pair must deal with raging passion for each other and conflicting personalities as well as mutual stubbornness while The Mouthcutter chases after them, as the to-be husband and aunt are willing to drag Pepita down the aisle at any cost.
The story is a hilarious satire of historic bodice-ripping tales but with an adorkable, feels-filled romance that readers will adore and ship like crazy. Several times I was out of breath from laughing so hard, unable to put the book down for very long. Outside forces conspire to bring the pair closer as well as create chaos in the lives of everyone involved, specifically a festival that sets off Pepita’s jinx. As a precaution, I should warn you that the book is filled with naughty scenes that should not be experienced in a public space for your emotional safety, lest you be plagued with confused stares once the scenes reveal themselves and your book or device is set ablaze as a result. I won’t spoil the ending, but karma is delivered in wonderful fashion by the last page.
The characters in this historical romp only partially adhere to the common tropes, the rest of their personality being more human and at times relatable. Our glorious “lady” Pepita is described as a “curvy beauty,” which is a plus in my book of positive character traits. She’s a stubborn gal, determined to avoid marriage and get back home to England at any cost, all while holding an adoration for dirty books and dreams of true love. Rafael, known as The Curly, probably due to his glorious hair, is a smuggler trying to survive one day at a time thanks to the resurrection of his thought-dead nemesis. His noble character is shown in his love for his sister and her family, who he wishes to protect at all costs, resulting in limited visits with them. His comrades are treated as brothers, his allies with respect, and his enemies as vermin. I won’t spoil the tortures of his past, but the brooding is earned, yet it doesn’t overpower his other virtues. Combined, the couple duel with words, their burning passion growing with each passing day, misunderstandings and awkwardness bringing up the fully feels and cries of “Kiss already!” from the reader. The other characters are wonderfully entertaining, from the comedic like the Three Franciscos (Paco, Cisco, and my personal favorite Francisco), the ruthless sadism of The Mouthcutter, the awkwardness of the ginger muffin that is the priest dealing with feuding churches, any of which are sure to be a favorite of any reader.
As with any book, there are things about this one that will limit readership. There are moments when modern language are used, but that is a part of the comedy, so historic fiction purist might not enjoy these moments. There’s a chance that there will be readers that won’t at first understand that this is a comedy as well as a satire, in which case they will be frustrated with certain events, dialogue, and the overall tone of the novel. As stated before, there are some steamy scenes, so certain readers might not appreciate the, ahem, details.
For me there was only one issue that I had while reading. Due to the book being translated from Spanish, there are a handful of typos. Those can be fixed in later versions, as the book is, as far as I know, self-published.
To conclude our review, this is a guaranteed recommended read for its amusing banter, adrenaline-fueled hijinks, heated romance, and side-killing comedy. Hopefully there can be an audiobook developed, and read by someone with an attractive Spanish accent. A specific phrase on page 303, at least of my paperback, needs to be on a shirt, or a mug, basically anything I can see or wear in my Book Cave. I’m certain that there will be no shortage of fun to be had by new readers, and no lack of interest for the next creation by this wonderful author.
Rating: 5 coffee cups out of 5
Recommended for: Anyone who needs a good laugh, historic romance lovers looking for some humor, devourers of hilarious satire, romance-addicts
Coffee Recommended for Reading: Dulce de leche flavored, a dark/medium roast, cinnamon flavoring or added in, a coffee with a flowery and/or fruity scent/flavor, something with hints of wine, rich, a little bold, whatever takes you to Spain
For anyone who wants to participate in choosing my next review, here’s a photo of some books I’ve recently acquired for my Book Cave (sorry about the surroundings), as well as some books I’ve had for a while and one in particular that I haven’t been able to finish due to…reasons. If you want to torture me, you can choose that book. Feedback and critiques are appreciated.