Catherine Barnesshocked to discover her marriage isn't what she thought it wastravels to Guatemala for some soul searching. She takes along her rebellious fourteen-year-old son Isaac, intending to leave him with his tough-love aunt, while she paints pictures for a children's book. In the remote mountain village of Todos Santos she falls under the spell of a rugged landscape and its welcoming, tenacious Mayan inhabitants. Just as she starts to feel at home in earthy kitchens where women pat out tortillas and tell her the stories of their lives, she discovers that Isaac is missing. Kidnappers are on their way to collect ransom from her in Todos Santos.
Mother and son confront rumors of foreign baby-snatchers and devil-worshippers, and threats of unexpected violence, as they search for each other. In finding Isaac, Catherine discovers that she must also find herself. Drawing on a deep knowledge of and empathy for Guatemala, and compellingly written, Todos Santos is ultimately a story of love, motherhood, and the hard choices we make.
Black Lawrence Press, Paperback, July 2010, ISBN: 978-0982520406
"Clearman has a fluid, readable style...[her characters] reach some satisfying conclusions about themselves and their future, making this a worthwhile read."
"With a perceptive eye for detail and knowledge of the human heart, Deborah Clearman introduces us to characters who are both utterly unlike any we have encountered on the page before, and utterly believable."
Joyce Maynard, author of To Die For and At Home in the World
"Clearman's feel for the vivid weave of folklore and history in this exotic world made her story come alive for me, but its real terrain is the familiar, surprising human heart."
Lesley Dormen, author of The Best Place to Be
"Clearman paints a vivid picture of the gritty and graceful sights of Guatemala as well as of the human heart, while touching upon the universal instinct to protect our children from real and imagined threats."
Holly MacArthur, Managing Editor, Tin House