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Reviewed by Christian Sia for Readers' Favorite
Matamoros by James Kahn is a rollicking Civil War adventure with strong hints of romance, set in the Rio Grande in 1863. It is a turbulent period with war going on. With the Confederate ports all blocked by the Union, Matamoros remained the only access to the outside world, a foreign port where a lot of smuggling went on and where all types of characters appeared: runaway slaves, cotton smugglers, spies, and rascals. It is here that Clay runs his gambling business, partnered with Allie, an ex-con artist. With the whirlwinds of change and their differences in political inclinations, can the romance between Clay and Allie survive?
Matamoros by James Kahn is a historical novel that captures a social situation, transporting readers back in time to explore a city where all sorts of people come and go and where all kinds of shady businesses take place. The reader gets a vivid glimpse of what this city looks like in times of war, with danger always close by. The author does a wonderful job of capturing the different elements of the setting, exploring the historical and social aspects. The prose is beautiful and highly descriptive, and readers will enjoy the social commentaries that punctuate the narrative. The characters are sophisticated, and I particularly loved the way Clay and Allie are developed. The characters have different layers of personality and I enjoyed how they survive the stress and dangers of Matamoros. This is an awesome read, fast-paced and filled with action. The author paints exciting images of a town flourishing in times of war and makes readers feel as though they were part of it.