Texas and Mexico – so close geographically and so linked in history, culture and a shared love of the land and its environment. This is the world that Zoe Delambre takes us to in her novel Hot Agua. Sarita Salt, a recently divorced and wealthy gem trader is searching for her true place in the world and someone true to share it with. Torn between New York and her ranch just outside of San Antonio, Texas, she slowly comes to realise that the Texas hill country is in her blood and is where she feels most at home. When her childhood friend sets her up on a date with a Mexican man of mystery, Sarita and her friends are thrown into a world of turmoil and intrigue. The bond between this Texan blueblood and her aristocratic Spanish boyfriend Vincente highlights the shared pasts of Mexico and Texas whilst still showing the profound differences.
Hot Agua is, at its heart, a cozy romance between two rich and powerful people, but it has plenty of deception, intrigue and action to keep most thriller fans riveted and turning the page. I found the story to be easily read and the characters, although clearly living in a world only the rest of us could dream of, to be identifiable and easy to empathise with. The basic premise that love can and should conquer all differences, cultural and otherwise, runs through the book like a seam of gold runs through a cliff. Although some of the action seemed a little far-fetched at times, it was always compelling and certainly kept me reading when I should have been doing other things. As the first in what promises to be a series of Salt Team books, I think Zoe Delambre has made a great start with Hot Agua and I look forward to seeing the next book in this series.