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Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
Jaguar Paloma and the Caketown Bar is a work of fiction in the historical, magical realism and adventure sub-genres, and was penned by author Jess Wells. Set in the middle of the nineteenth century, this charming and inventive work centers on the titular Caketown, a shantytown where rogues, thieves and women down on their luck begin running a faux wedding business for wild rich people to attend a no-holds-barred party. At the heart of events is protagonist Jaguar Paloma, as intimidating and impressive as her name, and the beautiful Orietta Becerra, for whom trouble is as simple as revealing her face to anyone she meets.
Author Jess Wells has crafted a gorgeously unique work that places women at the forefront of adventure and weaves seamlessly realistic fantasy elements into the piece with flair and panache. In a novel with oodles of style, the development of the plot becomes more substantial and believable with every passing chapter, delivering an intricate web of dangerous behaviours and occurrences with some well-drawn villains who are as deeply developed (and ultimately just as enjoyable) as our heroes. The dialogue too was a big hit, showcasing the flavor of the historical time period whilst also moving the plot forward in a naturalistic way that negated the need for big chunks of clunky prose. Overall, I would certainly recommend Jaguar Paloma and the Caketown Bar to readers seeking authors with original ideas and the authoritative, confident narrative to back it up. An absolute treasure to read.