Jaguar Paloma and the Caketown Bar
To Be Released September 1, 2021
In 1865 in the shanty town of Tartatenango, the Caketown Bar is owned by the extraordinary Jaguar Paloma, matriarch of a village of raucous miscreants, cast-off mothers, muleteers, and forgers. Amid drunken monks, a roaring trade in faked marriages just for fun, and the Romani, all balance on the knife-edge between legality and the illicit. Co-founder Orietta Becerra is breathtakingly beautiful and ambitious. But when she crosses the tracks and marries the town's mayor, her double life severs her friendship with Paloma and the town starts to pay the highest of prices. Adding to the chaos is a murderous forger, and a Civil War that claims men before their time.
Caketown – men want to destroy it. Women want to play in it. The township itself has to fight on all sides to survive.
Told in evocative magical realism, Jaguar Paloma and the Caketown Bar is a tale of wronged women who stand up to be counted.
"Jess Wells found the perfect mixture of mystery and intense action to draw readers in and make them stay until the end. Contemporary writers don't delve much into magical realism, so finding this novel was a pleasant surprise for me. Jess Wells fully explored this literary theme and exposed readers to the best of it. The pace of the story is fast, the descriptions are incredibly rich, and the plot is magical! Perhaps the most entertaining novel I have read this year." -- Rabia Tanveer for Readers' Favorite
"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. A novel with oodles of style, original ideas and the authoritative, confident narrative to back it up. An absolute treasure to read." – K.C. Finn, Readers' Favorite
"A story filled with unusual characters, and a wonderful ride for readers who enjoy carefree laughter, quirky situations and dialogues, and magical realism. Add the drama to these qualities and you have a rollicking ride in Jaguar Paloma and the Caketown Bar....the way Jess Wells describes the village gives it a soul of its own. This author takes readers to such a place and gives them the most enviable company of well-developed, likable, and fun-loving characters. It is a page-turner for fans of character-driven novels and stories that excel in humor and adventure. You won't be able to put this book down." – Divine Zape for Readers' Favorite
"I thoroughly enjoyed the vivid details throughout the whole book. The captivating characters played their parts well and kept my attention until the last page. This story has a lot of different issues going on, many twists and turns that take you on a different trail.. But in the end, Wells does a fabulous job of weaving everything together and creating an ending that will stay with me for a long while. I encourage you to check out this story and all of its wonderful people." – Joy Hannabass for Readers' Favorite
"Magical realism is a breathtaking genre and Jess Wells has a unique voice in creating this quirky shantytown, where strange qualities are grounded in the reality of the characters' emotions. The story is character-driven with a variety of voices explored, and it's through these voices that the magical elements are brought to life. Jaguar Paloma and the Caketown Bar is a magical realism treat that has an exploration of humanity, a celebration of differences, female empowerment, and a whimsical town, at the heart of a journey of loss, life, and love." – Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite