Book Review

Review: Velvet was the Night by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Silvia Moreno-Garcia can do no wrong in my eyes. And I’m so glad that her books are being published more widely. Every time I pick up one of her books, it’s a different genre, a different style. But the essence of what makes her writing great is the relationships that characters have with each other – their growth, their relationship and the imaginative setting.

Title: Velvet Was The Night
Author: Silvia Moren-Garcia
Pages: 289
Publisher: Quercus, Jo Fletcher Books
Publication Date: 17th August 2021
Ownership: ARC provided by the publisher

Rating: 4 stars

However, having said that I love her writing, this book was slightly less of an automatic “wow” for me. It may have been that this story is a more historical setting, rather than one with fantasy/magic/gothic subplots, which is really what works better for me. Instead we are in 1970s Mexico City, a time when communist sympathisers were being hunted down, when American rock and roll was the illicit king and a world of gangs and criminals can be found enforcing their law.

It certainly ticks the noir boxes – shadowy figures pulling strings, a secretary who just wants to read her romance comics swept up in a chase across the city, and something indelible drawing two people together from two very different walks of life.

Maite is a very unassuming, somewhat dowdy protagonist, who is drawn into a web of urban guerilla warfare, when all she wants to do is find her neighbour so she can stop looking after her cat. El Elvis has been caught up in anti-communist gangs for years, but they’ve moved on from antagonising students to full-blown shootings apparently endorsed by the government. He’s not paid to question, but he knows what doesn’t feel right.

The setting is well-researched, historically interesting and exciting. In particular what I loved was the music – the songs referred to throughout the story, and the role they played in pulling the characters together. And then there was a Spotify playlist right at the end of the book! I love having a playlist to listen to whilst I read, or digest the book, but can we please please start putting these at the beginning so I can listen AND read??

This book didn’t grip me quite as well as her others, but I loved it all the same.

I received an ARC of this book from the publishers in exchange for an honest review.

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