Argentina: The Beautiful Land
by Donald L. Lawrence

"We must remember also that ‘nation building’ is forever, and rich traditions must always be protected and passed on from one generation to the next…"

Expatriates who fled from Western Europe to Argentina during World War II—and who also own many shares in their new country's mining industry—attempt to manipulate the Argentine beef business. One long-standing ranch family, the DeCavalieres, stands up to these foreign tycoons, risking their lives to protect the family and Argentina from outside control. With the same tenacious spirit, the next and sixth generation of DeCavalieres confronts neighboring ranchers tempted to follow the expats' greedy example. The seventh generation defeats a gang of insurance scammers. Amidst espionage, kidnapping, and showdowns, romances flourish, and the family prevails.

Historic moments in Argentine history, such as WWII, the Falkland Islands dispute with Great Britain, and hoof and mouth disease, are brought to life through one fictional family's dramatic tale. Morally astute characters, in respectable dialogue and straightforward prose, develop an inspiring story. The descriptions center on the action in pared-down settings. Active verbs outshine adjectives, setting a swift pace covering many years in one chapter. The ending balances out the panoramic start with more in-depth coverage of Michael, eldest of the seventh generation. He is the first family member to consider divorce and carries the climax, when the forces within the family, as well as from outside, threaten its equilibrium.

Ethical conflicts are explored in careful, professional conversation. Courtships also follow formal protocols. Attention to characters' words shows Argentine gentility. Politeness aside, tension and suspense drive the novel, as subversive plots are revealed and fixed. Both male and female characters win the day with their honesty and generosity of spirit. The relentless work of citizenship and familial duty is the central idea and the admirable takeaway of this author's second novel.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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