Completed Fic of the Week: 2/7-2/13

February 08, 2011

Cien Anos de Soledad by HappyInLove
Review by phoebes.promise

Rating: M
Genre: Romance/Hurt/Comfort
Characters: Edward/Bella

Summary: There is a Girl, there is a Boy. There is a Kid. There are feelings. That's about it, really. But what else is there?

Cien Anos de Soledad is a beautifully written journey of life. It is an Edward and Bella love story with a strong soul and a gracious heart. A poignant message of hope, recovery and love through the innocence of a precious orphan named Maya that weaves throughout this unique tale.

Our brave and determined heroine, Bella Swan, influenced by an idealistic view of the world traveled to Guatemala straight out of college to teach English in an orphanage. However, the violence and devastation of a civil war changes her life’s path dramatically. As the story opens, Bella has left the tortured land behind, and taken with her the innocence of life, a light amongst the brutality she witnessed.

I was twenty-three years old, a college graduate, former volunteer at an orphanage in Guatemala, and I had a backpack that held not just my only other change of clothes, but also the only other change of clothes for my little girl. My little girl. That was all I possessed.

Escaping the most dangerous of conditions, Bella settles into her flight home with her new daughter and forged documents of existence. By chance they are seated next to a distant, jaded young movie star, Edward Cullen, who as circumstances have it, just completed filming in Mexico.

For the first time, I looked at the kind stranger. He gave me a genuine smile before nodding and turning back to his stack of papers. He looked young, maybe around my age, with burnt pumpkin colored hair, forest green eyes, a strong jaw, and nose that could be perfect from the front, although from the side had a small crook in it. The Bella from before would have been blushing, stuttering, and gawking, but that was in the past. He got one second glance, and that was all.

I'd become a woman who had a kid, and had grow tired under a year of revolution, so much to a point that I didn't care about the gorgeous man beside me who offered the tiny girl in my lap his sweatshirt.

The two eventual lovers become tied in many ways, but most significantly by the bond of the child. They arrive at the intersection of their love from very different paths. They both suffer from past experiences that shaped their outlook on the present and the future. Both Edward and Bella grow tremendously through the work in heart and mind.

He had two blockbusters, millions in the bank, and homes in LA, Seattle, London, and NY, and here he was, holding my daughter, helping me move into a tiny townhouse about a block away from the school I'd be teaching senior English at.

Maya's hand's rooted in his hair to keep her balance, and I instantly thought of doing the same thing, of the night I pulled him so close, I didn't think I'd ever let go. But I promised myself to forget that. It was a dream and nothing more.

There is a well paced rise and fall in the love story that keeps the reader hopeful for their future. There are playful exchanges as well as passionate moments. It’s a believable exploration of two young adults desperately trying to find their way and recover from tragic moments of their yesterdays.

The structure in this storytelling is distinct. Readers enjoy alternating points of view throughout, with a surprise voice at the end. But most creatively we learn through Bella’s journal passages of the massacre, attacks and unrest she was witness to. Brief flashbacks are employed to texture the story, adding depth to the character’s motivations and actions.

"Day 365," Edward started to read. "I can't believe I've been here for a whole year. Already I can't remember what Twizzler’s taste like, or what Alice's favorite nail polish color is. Lately, the only color my nails are is dirt. I can't really picture going back either. How do you keep on living when you know that there are children under guns, or worse yet, how will I leave Maya? Every day she grows more and more my shadow. Jake said she's picking up my mannerisms, and he misses no chance to make fun of us together when we scowl at the same time, or smile similarly. When I look at her, I know that her mother is dead. No one would let a girl that sweet, precious, and amazing out of their sight unless it was necessary. A year has felt like forever, and I can't imagine another one ending.

Some very touching moments occur between Edward and Maya as a young girl in a new bond as told by Bella…

Sleeping on top of my made bed, Maya, wearing her giant sweatshirt, slept on Edward's chest. He had one arm on her back and the other behind his head, looking completely peaceful. Maya was still asleep, as was Edward, despite my shouting. They looked too perfect to wake up. I set the note on my nightstand and watched them.

With each breath from Edward, Maya would rise and fall slightly, but she didn't wake. I took a second to watch Edward. He looked peaceful, less ready to have a snappy comeback, no more sarcasm here. His hair, the messy bunch that flamed endlessly looked even more crumpled than usual. His features, the crooked nose, chiseled chin, relaxed cheeks, all looked less severe as he slept. For a second I felt something. But I pushed it away before noticing.

I crawled into bed beside them both gently, so as not to wake them. Maya felt me though, and turned to see me rest my head on the pillow. She slid off of Edward's chest slowly, trying not to wake him. He turned with her, his arm becoming her pillow. I smiled that his body, even in sleep, sensed her shift, and moved to protect her. Maya scooted near me, her eyes still tired.

And later, as mature father and daughter, as told by Maya…

"And who is your date tonight, Edward?" some reporter questioned my Dad as he had his arm around my waist.

"This is my daughter, Maya," he grinned and introduced me. "I asked her if she'd mind accompanying her old man to the Oscar's, and she told me she'd check her schedule. I was lucky enough to get the prettiest date here."

"He bribed mewith In-and-Out," I explained to the camera. The reporter laughed. I stood back as I watched my Dad work. He really was good at it, the whole being a 'movie star' thing. It suited him. He wasn't the guy who raised me, who let me eat apples in the grocery store while he shopped, or made faces with Mom yelled about something to make me laugh. Here, he was an actor, and it was amazing, to see that part of him.

This lovely, heartwarming piece concludes in a most unique fashion, a full circle of events. The close of Cien Anos de Soledad leaves the reader with peace and truth in the healing power of family and love.

Banner by JaimeArkin


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