Last July, I hosted a stop for a Book Blast promoting the release of Conquered. Due to my crazy-busy personal schedule, I was able to read it only now. But I’d like to share my thoughts with you because this is an amazing book.
Please welcome back Paula Quinene’s Conquered.
by Paula Quinene
GENRE: Erotic Historical Romance
Conquered is a passionate love story, as much about its main characters, Guam native Jesi Taimanglo and American GI Johan Landers, as it is about author Paula Quinene’s passion for Guam itself. As her characters try to find a place for themselves amid the war, Jesi’s relatives, and the Chamorro traditions, Quinene charts a path through a seldom told story: Guam’s place in WWII. An original idea written with an original voice that invites readers in to the exotic world of the Pacific, complete with coconut trees, banana doughnuts, dolphins swimming in the ocean, and moonlight on Pago Bay, Conquered also recounts the brutal horrors of the Japanese occupation on Guam, a US territory largely forgotten back in the States. In addition to learning about a singular and little-known culture that has played a part in the world wars of the Pacific, readers will undoubtedly crave the recipe for banana doughnuts.
—Stacey Donovan, Writer, Editor, and Author of Dive
5***** Enchanting journey to WWII Guam
I don’t write spoilers in my reviews because I don’t like reading them so I’ll be vague about some scenes in the story. Please bear with me, okay?
Paula Quinene did an amazing job with this book and, in my opinion, the huge list of materials she has used as sources is an eloquent example of why that is. Her obviously thorough research into the subjects and narrative skills bring a time period and a place alive for the reader. As you turn the pages, you feel as if you were watching the scenes unfold rather than reading. Her enthralling descriptions of Guam make the reader feel surrounded by its luscious beauty. Kudos!
Moreover, an engaging storyline that you won’t wish to put down, which is brimming with terrifying war scenes, family values, and Chamorro traditions. By the way, stories like the tataomo’na ones sounded so great to me because they illustrated how the Chamorro’s spiritual traditions got woven with Catholic beliefs. Personally, I found it fascinating because it’s very similar to what has happened in Brazil, where I grew up. Although Brazil’s officially a Catholic country, a lot of the native peoples’ spiritual beliefs, as well as those brought by African slaves, have been assimilated but the Christians resulting in many colorful customs.
As for the characters, both the main and the supporting ones are realistic and endearing. O loved Mames’s advising and how it cheered Jesi on giving her self-assurance. Awesome job there, Paula! Another example of the books quality, is the characters’ growth. Johan, for instance, starts off as a broken man borderline on suicidal, having joined the army after losing his will to live. Through his experiences in Conquered, Johan ends up as a man committed to making Jesi feel safe and loved. One of the loveliest scenes is when Mrs. T teaches Johan to cook Jesi’s favorite food.
By the way, can I just say that Johan is the sweetest guy ever? The surprise he orchestrated involving tons of lanterns and flowers such as orchids, hibiscuses, plumerias, and wildflowers plus the tag he gave Jesi for her birthday are only two examples of how awesome he is. I fell for him immediately and it just got stronger as I read the book.
Jesi is a strong young girl whose horrific experience during the Japanese occupation of her beloved Guam toughens her up without breaking her. Even though she witnesses as well as lives traumatic situations at a very young age, Jesi comes out of them as sweet as before the war. In my opinion, her religious and family values might be at the core of that because she never abandons them. They keep her sane at the same time as they guide her actions.
Finally, my specialty: the love scenes. As an avid reader of romances and a writer of erotic short-stories and novels, I feel quite comfortable discussing the topic. I enjoyed Johan and Jesi’s lovemaking a lot. It was sweet and an intrinsic part of the storyline. My guess is the book is under the erotic romance category due to the frequency of their love scenes because as far as the description and the quality of them, I’d say they’re light and lovely rather than kinky or over-the-top steamy as it’s the case in most erotic stories nowadays.
I recommend this book for fans of WWII stories, romantic stories, gorgeous places, and good food. You’ll find it all in Conquered.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Paula Quinene was born and raised on Guam. She graduated from the University of Oregon in 1997 with a bachelor’s of science in Exercise & Movement Science, hoping to return to the island as an anatomy teacher. A resident of North Carolina since 2000, Paula’s homesickness – or “mahalangness” – has motivated Paula to write A Taste of Guam, Remember Guam, both cookbooks, and her first novel, Conquered. Paula’s home on the web is www.paulaq.com.
Book’s blog: http://guamromancenovel.blogspot.com/