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Cruise Quarters - A Novel About Casinos and Cruise Ships Paperback – April 8, 2011
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About the Author
Growing up in a straight laced Southern family, I was always fascinated with casinos. In my twenties on a summer hiatus from teaching in North Carolina, I drove to California and became a dealer at Caesars in Lake Tahoe. My mother highly disapproved of my working in a casino, "a place so bad it has 'sin' in the middle." Eventually, I succumbed to pressure from the family and returned east to take a high-tech job in Boston. I also began working on my MFA in writing at Emerson. I wanted to write the first realistic novel about casino life from the perspective of an experienced table games dealer. I am always amazed that normal and sometimes quite intelligent players become absolutely clueless in the casino. They repeat superstitious nonsense and no amount of logic can change their position. On a whim I submitted an article to The Boston Tab, about trying to find a rent control apartment. To my amazement they published it and I even received my first piece of fan mail. Spurred on by that success, the next week, after a few glasses of wine at lunch, I called the editor of the Brighton Allston Journal and told him I should write a humor column. While in Boston I was offered the opportunity to join Princess Cruises as a croupier. Jumping at the chance, I spent the next five years circling the globe. Sometimes life exceeds your dreams. I was awed by the wonders of Venice, the fjords of Norway, and the Northern Lights in Leningrad but on the downside I also watched glaciers melt at an alarming rate in Alaska, snorkeled to coral reefs killed by pollution in the Caribbean, and witnessed the devastation as the Amazon burned. It was the best education I could ever have had. Taking advantage of every opportunity to be a tour guide, I soaked in as much history as I could. I returned from ships with a very special souvenir, my husband Ray. Besides being a handsome Glaswegian, he is my co-author. We also produced a movie on walking the 500-mile "Camino De Santiago," in Spain. The Desert Woman and the Desert Sun both featured stories about our walk. When we were researching the Camino we could never find a good practical guide on the terrain and the trail, the things a person would experience every day, although there was plenty on the architecture and history. So seeing a need we made a movie of our journey. It is a thrill to come home and find orders from such diverse countries as Japan and Denmark. The address for our movie is: www.caminovideo.com.
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Top Customer Reviews
The book is about what takes place behind-the-scenes as told by a lady croupier. If you think the guests are having fun, wait until you see what goes on with the crew members.
Actually, there's a lot more to the book than just fun and games. I learned what it's like to actually work on a cruise ship. It's so different than any other job that I can imagine. Even though it's a fascinating occupation, there's a tremendous amount of pressure that comes with the job as well. No wonder the crew likes to unwind whenever they can.
One of the things I liked best about the book was the descriptions of the exotic places the cruise ship visited. Most were off the beaten 'tourist' path. These are the discoveries that only someone who's been there many times would know about. They were described with such detail that I felt like I was right there with them. It's a wonderfully written book.
As I said, the lead character is a croupier in the ship's casino...so there's a lot of good advice and funny stories about the gambling side of cruise ships as well. From the front cover to the last page... I was hooked! If I could give it ten stars...I would!
Cara made her living as a casino dealer on this cruise ship and throughout the story I found myself at the gambling tables filling my head with more insight than I ever dreamed of. Numbers, gamblers and those that gamble. "A Gambler Knows to Celebrate A Win Tonight Because Tomorrow Might Be A Loss." Now I know what a Counter is and now I know a few `non-fail' proof systems.
"In Life As In Cards, Never Show Them You Are Nervous". "Next stop, Rio de Janeiro, the City of hot nights and beautiful women." I probably enjoyed the visits to other countries the best, but if I go to a casino, I'll be re-reading this book.
A romantic trip to beautiful places - highly recommended.
Well, it is a month later and I just finished this book. I wish I had finished it before I rated it and will do so from now on. If I had waited, I would have knocked it down to 2 stars. It seems like the author decided the story was over and just wrapped it up as fast as she could. The ending was contrived and had little to do with cruising. This was just one of those books that I didn't get.
But, the heart of this novel is the love story between Sarah and Paul, two card dealers who find one another after what most of us would believe to be a glamorous life of freedom and world travel. The reader quickly finds that the world of cruise ships and casinos is both insular and lonely especially for a single woman. The "Welsh Wonders" who can disappear like a wizard when an affair becomes inconvenient and Italian waiters, who never miss an opportunity to serve up more than a meal are easily replaced by a battery operated "husband" purchased in the red light district of a sea port city. For Paul, the danger of a six month stint in a newly capitalist Moscow casino brings him to question if relationships are based in mutual affection and respect or are they just an entree to exploitation?
As the cards are laid out on the table we see that love conquers not only cynicism and rough seas but for those of us who might bet on hope over reason it could pay off big in the end.