Sweeping, raw, and honest, I Called Myself Cassandra spans decades and continents. It’s a life story that captures the beauty and pain of love and relationships. Lourdes had recently returned home to the Philippines after studying abroad in the United States. Attending school, she meets a young man named Robin. Though she senses their relationship may grow into something special, she has little idea that this single connection will shape her life and her future. Robin is destined to become her husband, but their journey before and after marriage will not be an easy one.
The first test comes when Lourdes relocates to Australia to attend nursing school. Robin stays home in the Philippines and stays busy with his own pursuit of becoming a doctor. Time and space divide them and although Lourdes strays briefly in her relationship, she eventually finds her way back to Robin. This is the beginning of the story for this young couple. Told from Lourdes’ perspective, readers will empathize with her love for Robin and her hopes for the future. She makes readers feel her elation as their lives progress as well as her extreme anger and anguish when infidelity threatens to take away her husband and tear apart their family. I found this kind of cheating and selfishness to be uncomfortable to read, but Baron understands sharing this type of story requires direct honesty and she refuses to pull back.
The story is long and at times I felt the author could have moved more quickly over some of her episodes. Some of the scenes were a bit repetitive and without a single event or conflict to deeply engage the reader. On a more positive note, Lourdes’ relationship with her mentally disabled son is a bright point in the book, although only touched on briefly. She does a grand effort capturing the entire emotional journey of a single relationship; reminding us even though a family may look perfect on the outside, the story behind closed doors may be far from perfect. She highlighted her emotional roller coaster of choosing to love a single person for her entire life and the consequences when that person betrayed her. Finally, she masterfully describes what it is like for a woman to explore her own sexuality at a time when everything else seems to be falling apart.
Angsty and gritty, I Called Myself Cassandra is the portrayal of a difficult relationship. I found it honest and unique in style developing the characters is not such an entirely likable description. What begins as a coming of age romance morphs into so much more as Lourdes Duque Baron explores love and marriage through the phases of a woman’s life. It is the perfect book to escape your own life for hours while reading what challenges others to have to deal with in vastly diverse situations, yet with a commonality of human emotions.
Title: I Called Myself Cassandra
Author: Lourdes Duque Baron
Publisher: Toplink Publishing
Reviewed by: Gillian Pemberton
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TITLE: I Called Myself Cassandra
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