The Accidental Santera is a good read, and a good starting place to find out what it feels like to be in this religion. It’s a “woman’s story” in the sense it focuses on personal issues like marriage, motherhood, and relationship to family, but I think both male and female readers will enjoy the novel. It feels authentic and real, and it’s written with a lot of honesty. It’s a pleasant read, something you can enjoy both for the light it sheds on the religion and for the personal story it tells. — Eñi Achó Iyá, AboutSanteria.com blog
Click here to read the complete review.
“The Accidental Santera thoroughly engrossed me, from beginning to end. It was fascinating to learn about such a taboo religion from the eyes of a logical, modern female. (Ok, and I had a bit of twisted interest in the whole animal sacrifice thing. What the heck’s that all about?) It was cool to read about her journey from beginning to end, and I will say that I eventually ended up admiring Gabrielle’s connectivity with her new-found religion. I envy her in having something strong and spiritual to believe in. I also liked the way the religion honored the feminine aspect of the divine. The story was kept moving by not only Gabrielle’s inner turmoil, but as well as the fact that each of the supporting characters were interesting in their own right.”–Chelsea McDonald, CRACKING SPINES blog (9/20/11)
In Irete Lazo’s highly regarded first novel, The Accidental Santera, Lazo takes us on an endearing spiritual journey as Latina scientist Gabrielle Segovia, Ph.D discovers her culture and her calling.
The fictional story–laced with tension, laughter and beauty–follows Gabrielle, a Puerto Rican-Mexican career driven scientist…[who] learns that it is time to reconnect to her Puerto Rican roots and become the santera she was always meant to be. –Extra News (Chicago, 3/19/09)
La Bloga reviewer Michael Sedano takes Irete Lazo to task for the use of a pseudonym. Click here to read the review and my response. Jan. 20, 2009
Where science and faith intersect is the sweet spot for Irete Lazo’s first novel…Filled with the mystical, spiritual and ritual, the novel also broaches the question of how science and faith can co-exist.
“The Accidental Santera” is an evocative and sensitively written novel that captures the essence of a religion shrouded in mystery. It’s Lazo’s thinly veiled personal testament to a newly acquired faith that may not be understood by the public but that brings spiritual comfort to those who follow its creed.
“…readers who want to an up close and personal view of Santeria will see what a rich support it is for family life, and what comfort — and responsibility — may be found there.”
A terrifically entertaining read–filled with mysticism, spirituality, and womanist charm. Enticing and highly recommended.
– Jewell Parker-Rhodes, author of Voodoo Dreams and Yellow Moon
From Publisher’s Weekly 8/25/08
In this debut novel, a field biologist, unsatisfied in her career and unhappy in her marriage after suffering three miscarriages, discovers Santería (the Yoruba religion brought by African slaves to the Caribbean where it mixed with Catholicism). Gabrielle Segovia lets loose while attending a conference in New Orleans and has a “reading” at Madam Laveau’s House of Voodoo, where the spirit tells her that she doesn’t need a doctor, the babies will come when she finds her spiritual path. Back home, Gabrielle reluctantly agrees to see a fertility specialist, but despite learning that she does have physical problems, she refuses further medical care and turns to Santería to fulfill her wish to conceive. She travels to Miami and to her Santería-practicing Puerto Rican cousins, and soon Gabrielle is ditching work and planning her “ocha,” her initiation into Santería. The author, writing under a pseudonym, is knowledgeable about her subject; she’s a former scientist and a practicing santera, and does an entertaining job of contrasting science with religious beliefs. All ends happily in this lighthearted first novel that puts a contemporary Latin face on a fascinating and ancient religion. (Oct.)
The poignant story of one woman’s journey into the fascinating world of Santeria. Irete Lazo fearlessly describes the power and emotion of spiritual rituals and sheds humane insight on an often misunderstood religion. This heartfelt debut rings boldly, candidly true.
Cristina García, author of A Handbook to Luck