- Mass Market Paperback: 316 pages
- Publisher: One World/Ballantine (March 27, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0345494938
- ISBN-13: 978-0345494931
- Product Dimensions: 4.1 x 1 x 6.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,173,588 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Chocolate Sangria Mass Market Paperback – March 27, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Price-Thompson's first novel, Black Sugar, was a frank contemporary romance about two soldiers who become illicit lovers. This follow-up is just as bawdy, but the situations are more prosaic. Juanita, a 20-year-old green-eyed, light-skinned black woman, has grown up in the Brooklyn projects, rejected by other girls because of her Caucasian appearance. Her best friend, Socrates "Scooter" Morrison, was an outcast himself because of "his falsetto voice and his wiggling hips." Riding the bus one day, the two have a life-changing encounter with a pair of young Puerto Rican men, best friends Conan and Jorge. Conan is grieving the death of his twin brother while trying to keep volatile Jorge-the victim of abusive parents-under control. Conan and Juanita swoon over each other, but Juanita's insecurities and Jorge's jealousy threaten their romance. Meanwhile, Scooter is carrying on a steamy after-hours affair with his boss, a middle-aged Jewish family man. Scooter also becomes smitten with Jorge, who seems to reciprocate but is much more calculating than Scooter imagines. The book is overly long, as Price-Thompson belabors the emotional legacies of her characters' troubled pasts. Her gaudy prose has its charms as well as its limitations ("Flames of unfulfilled passion leaped up and licked at his loins. Moral weakness coursed through his veins"). Soap opera plotting and candid sex scenes make this an easy, breezy read, but the sophomore effort lacks some of the freshness and zip of Price-Thompson's debut.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Audible Audio Edition edition.
From Library Journal
Born out of wedlock to a privileged white teenager and the family's Haitian gardener, Juanita Lucas is given to the housekeeper to raise. Price-Thompson (Black Coffee) crafts a tale about love across the color line.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Audible Audio Edition edition.
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Top customer reviews
A chance encounter with two fine Puerto Rican men changes Juanita's and Scooter's lives in ways they could never have imagined. There is Conan, a hard-working man who wrestles with both his love for Juanita and his guilt over his brother's death, and Jorge, an unscrupulous bad-boy thug who has no problem using what he's got to get what he wants, until he comes dangerously close to getting scorched by his own flames.
Chocolate Sangria was a fast-paced novel. It was a real page turner. I found myself reading this book rather quickly because I wanted to find out what was going to happen next. Admittedly, the explicit sexual content was a bit much. It was more of a hinderance to the storyline. Had I not committed to reading the book as part of a book club selection, the graphic scenes would've been enough to stop me from reading any further. Some of the things Scooter did were degrading for both black men and homosexuals. At times it made me angry. However, the story itself was good, and overall it was an enjoyable read. I wasn't crazy about the ending because it didn't give me a real sense of closure or "happily ever after."
With Black Coffee still on my palate hungering for yet another flavor to color my literary tastes, Chocolate Sangria has been dropped on the table. Tracy Price-Thompson makes the so-called sophomore jinx more an oxymoron than anything else with her latest offering. Gosh, I haven't stopped raving about Black Coffee yet, but this new sampling is a force to be reckoned with! I read it in two days, passed it on, and have rapidly become spoiled after only two gems from this talent author's pen. This is an excellent read, with the author not afraid to tackle sensitive issues on race and sex. Chocolate Sangria opens with a prologue that whets the appetite for a much bigger dose of what's in store for those who want more!
It will demand attention from the beginning as she writes in a style that is quickly becoming her trademark: straightforward writing with metaphors flying, command of street vernacular lacking complications or subtleties, and vivid characters. Using Brooklyn as a battered but appropriate backdrop, it examines sensitive issues between two maligned ethnic groups where two lovers, and a set of friends get caught in an intangling culture and social divide forcing them to come to grips with understanding each other. When shared intimacies are allowed to spill over across racial margins, trials and tribulation are par for the course. This is what Juanita, Conan, Jorge, and Scooter faced.
Our main character, Juanita Lucas suffers from low self-esteem with a burning desire for answers that haven't been part of her knowing who she really is. The product of a white mother and a black father of Haitian decent, she knew she was different, but didn't have answers. To others she seems to be everything but black. This sets the stage to prove doubters wrong, while continuously proving to belong. Conan is the man who dared to love her. He, a hardworking conscientious brother has problems trying to deal with the untimely death of his twin brother. Jorge, the character everyone will hate, is a conniving thug who opportunistically finds ways to manipulate, until fate threatens to catch up. Scooter is sweetness beyond comparison as the author gives good analogies for us not to forget his part in this drama. Gay and confused, Scooter's sexual exploits with his boss in after-hour trysts give reason for sustained frustration over his sexuality. Hattie is the matronly hard-edged mother figure that raised Juanita, but has insecurities of her own.
I felt that the book could've said what it was supposed to say in a much shorter venue, but it supplied the needed fireworks to illustrate exactly what the author wanted to convey. A little too much emphasis was spent at times on the emotional ramification of her characters instabilities, but it didn't take away from the sheer excitement of the story. The cadence of it reads like a rapid, free-flowing piece easing toward a surprising climax. I feel that this is a story where sexuality, self-identity, the bonding of friendships, and the introspective importance of understanding racial intermingling is tantamount for unpredictable endings that are necessary to come of age. The main and sub characters of this book is an excellent way of showcasing divergent, if not similar lifestyles where black and Hispanic love can coexist. This book, and Tracy's knack for interjecting the 'hood prominently into the mix for good social references will ultimately set her apart from her contemporaries. There's something about those New York writers that keep putting something in the literary mix that says they're here to stay, Tracy Price-Thompson notwithstanding!