|Jinx Schwartz (origin of Pic)|
I love reading books by Cruisers - about cruising... but even more so when it's Fiction, because then it can get REALLY wild! You can tell when a book is written by someone who KNOWS what they're talking about. I mean, when someone writes a book or makes a movie about sailing, and they really have no idea what it's like... it rings false in a most annoying way. This is not the case with this writer. She has cruised the Sea of Cortez for years and writes of it in such a way that I feel, after reading her books, that I've been there as well...
I found Hetta innocently enough, by downloading one, then another of the series FREE on Amazon.com. (Thanks Jinx). You know, sometimes authors will offer their books free for a limited time so that you can try them out... Well, I'm such a cheapskate that I don't usually BUY books... BUT!... for these, I've been compelled to make several exceptions. At the time of writing, there were no free books available but there was one really good deal to get you started! And ALL of these books are priced so reasonably, that even I have purchased several outright!
I had books one through four on my Kindle before I began reading them, luckily for me... Once I finished the first one, I was hot onto the second... and so on until I started the fourth. It was at that point that I put the halt on it. I didn't know there would be others, and I was so enamored with the main characters, Hetta and Jan, I couldn't stand the thought of finishing this book! I would miss them. I had to stretch it out... prolong the reading of this book so that I didn't have to say goodbye!
Why did I feel this way about these books? The characters were so real to me because in some ways, Jinx writes like I do... like she's (Hetta is) talking to the reader, sharing her real and innermost thoughts. That casual style is one I can identify with and it's not just that... The characters themselves are "people" with whom I can personally identify.
I'm from Texas (and I like to think that I can be sassy)! I totally get the "Texas mentality" that oozes from Hetta's pores and awakens my own Inner-Texan. It felt nice to bring that out and let it run. I hadn't realized that since leaving home, there hasn't been much opportunity for appreciation of my Texas self.
The more compelling reason for not wanting it to end, was the relationship between Hetta and Jan. They reminded me so much of my own relationship with my best friend Mimi. She passed away some three years ago and I have missed her so. This book allowed me to feel that connection once again in a way that I hadn't thought possible. Jan and Hetta are just so comfortable with one another. The goodnatured ribbing, with the underlying feeling of having a history and of being there for one another through thick and thin... was just so familiar, I couldn't let it end.
On a more broad level, and the reason that I can whole-heartedly recommend these books to my friends... are the descriptions of the Sea of Cortez, the weather, the Mexico-ness of it... all so very real and like I said, I feel like I've now been there.
The fact that the stories were written by a power boater... (out of respect I will refrain from using some of the more colorful names)...was not even off-putting! There are some similarities between power-boating and sailing which have me drawing parallels between my life and the day to day lives of the characters. The things that they must do to keep the boat going, along with trying to stay alive... added a level of reality that have me wondering HOW this could be fiction at all... until the stories unfold of course...
Then it's all zany plots and hyper-reality at its finest. Stories just close enough to what COULD happen, but a tiny bit over the line so that you aren't just reading about the ho-hum lives of others... I won't go into the stories as they are just too fun and complicated to even describe... you'll just have to read them for yourself. But after reading them myself, I can say that although the Sea of Cortez isn't on our Cruising Plate at any time in the near future... reading these books has made it feel like it could be.... even if HALF of this stuff is true!
If you are into reading books about boating, light hearted little-bit-of-danger-while-I'm-safe-in-my-own-cockpit kind of stuff... then you MUST have these books! I can, without reservation, say that my women readers will enjoy them, and I can even say that with Hetta's personality, many of my men readers will love the stories as well. They have an element of romance in that Hetta is looking for love and has found it in Jenks Jenkins... (They even end up together, married and cruising the Sea of Cortez in Schwartz's non-series book Troubled Sea), but the books are not love stories. These books quite simply have it ALL! Don't be a cheapskate like me... get them. Read them. ENJOY!
Now... I'm off to start that last book...