Hot Tamara
By Roberta Austin
Mar 1, 2005 - 5:56:00 PM

After a pregnancy scare and marriage proposal at a very embarrassing time from her long-term boyfriend, Tamara Contreras has an epiphany. She wants a different life from what her traditional Mexican-American parents expect. She decides to "follow her bliss" and pursue her dream of getting a Masters of Fine Art and having her own art gallery. 

Tamara moves to Los Angeles and goes to work for a struggling art gallery. There she becomes re-acquainted with Will Benavides who she knew from high school. He is currently a firefighter and dealing not only with his troubled past, but with well-meaning efforts to fix him up. Tamara had fantasies about Will in the old days, but can a teenage crush translate into an adult relationship between two people from such different backgrounds?
There are love scenes as hot as a jalepno pepper in this dazzling debut novel. Will is a wounded and troubled hero, but his past serves to make him compassionate and caring. Tamara is more than the typical chick-lit heroine. She has to deal with the feeling of being an outsider because she does not even speak Spanish, despite her Hispanic background. She also has to deal with difficult family dynamics, especially her conflicts with her mother. The situations in the novel ring true and will resonate with the reader, no matter what her ethnic background. It is enlightening for those of us who are not Latinas to get a glimpse into a different culture. 
Nadine, Tamara's abrasive boss, adds some comic relief to the plot and might make you appreciate your circumstances more. Senora Allende's character adds a tender touch to the story and will give hope that love that is not just for the young and glamourous.
The extras that Avon Trade has included at the back of HOT TAMARA are a real plus to learn more about the author, how she came to write this book and what she has coming up. I will be looking forward to Ms. Castillo's upcoming novel that will tell the tale of one of the minor characters from HOT TAMARA.

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