Lost in the Spanish Quarter by Heddi Goodrich

Heddi gets a letter from Pietro, her first love, years after leaving Naples and this marks her journey back in time. Back to her days studying, traveling, her friends and life in Naples and more so the dreams and future they’d dreamt of while in love.

In Pietro’s letter, he admits he was wrong, afraid and not brave enough to choose life with her.

For where the publisher states that “In this poignant, atmospheric coming of age tale of first love—of a place, of a person—languages and cultures collide while dreams soar and crash in spectacular ways”, it was surprising to note that most readers and reviewers did not finish reading it. Most found the pace too slow and others stated that the book did not make such an impression on them for them to continue reading it.

I read it to the very end.

I love the prose. There is a way in which the author brings to life the streets and terrain in this book that as a Writer, I’m envious of such clarity. It’s not just the details, it’s the senses that she evoked in me with her descriptions.

The pace is slow, it’s not a page turner and anyone hoping to be swept off their feet will struggle to get past page 80.

The family dynamics in Pietro’s lineage, the expectations of his parents and his understanding and desire to be the good son, is also another strong theme that was clearly explored with the fact that Heddi was an outsider, an exchange student and was able to see the burden on Pietro.

Rating: 4 stars

Where you can buy the book: Amazon or if you’re in Kenya- Text Book Centre

About the author: Heddi Goodrich, originally from Washington, D.C., spent a decade growing up and wising up in Naples before moving to Auckland, New Zealand. Lost in the Spanish Quarter is her first novel, originally released in Italy as Perduti nei Quartieri Spagnoli (Giunti, 2019).

Come into the light

I have always yearned for a space of my own. A place where my thoughts and opinions are interwoven using the words that only I can express best.

The first thought was of setting up a podcast. I created one but couldn’t go beyond three minutes listening to my voice, so that failed because I did not fully commit to it.

I tried with Medium and posted three opinion pieces and got at least 30 claps for one, 11 likes for another and gave up because the grand stage of adoration was clearly not my spot.

So, when I was working late into the night this month, I said, why not. I am on the cusp of youth, because 34 is just months away from 35 and by legal standards, I would not be labelled as young anymore- so I got up the next morning and set up this blog.

Achieng’ is my middle name. It is a Luo name assigned to girls who are born when the sun is up in the sky.

So, I decided if I am going to step into my own, and finally set free these opinions into a world full of them, then I could as well do so in honor of who I am.