María Dueñas, La Templanza [Temperance], 2015, 544 p.
There was nothing that made Mauro Larrea think that the fortune he built up with years of tenacity and courage would collapse with one big setback. Suffocated by debts and uncertainty, he bets his last resources on a reckless move that opens before him the opportunity to resurface. Until the disruptive Soledad Montalvo, the wife of a wine trader from London, enters his life, wrapped in chiaroscuros to drag him to a future he never suspected. From the young Mexican republic to splendid colonial Havanna; from the West Indies to the Jerez of the second half of the 19th century, when the wine trade with England converted this Andalusian city into a cosmopolitan and legendary enclave. La Templanza visits all of these scenarios; a novel that talks about glories and defeats, silver mines, family intrigues, grapes, cellars and proud cities whose splendour faded with time. A history of courage in front of adversity and of a destiny changed for ever by the force of a passion. Only great stories awake great emotions.
After this description, you might understand why this blogger hasn’t read any of Dueñas’ two preceding novels (yet). This one has been on the list of best-selling books since its publication – which might have to do more with good marketing than with the book’s literary qualities.