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A Place In the World

Author: Cinda Crabbe MacKinnon

ISBN 978-0-98884-830-6 (softcover)

340 pages

Alicia, a young American expat, marries Colombian Jorge Carvallo and they settle on his family’s remote coffee finca (farm) in the Andes. Educated as a biologist, she revels in the surrounding cloud-forest. However, following an idyllic year, calamities strike one after another and their marriage begins to unravel. Jorge leaves as a volcanic eruption nearly destroys the coffee crop and the threat of guerrillas and drug-lords looms; but headstrong Alicia refuses to budge and stays to salvage the coffee.

A woman without a country in a man’s world, the initially naïve Alicia survives by her wit and determination. A passionate affair ensues with Peter, a rugged geologist. She also forms a tight friendship with Carmen, the barefoot woman who has worked for the Carvallo family most of her life. Despite being separated by class and nationality, these two single mothers forge a strong bond.

The intricate web of events climaxes when Alicia finds herself in a life-threatening situation, ultimately forcing her to come to terms with herself and the unconventional life she has adopted.

KIRKUS REVIEWS..the story of a young woman with no home and little connection to family..Alicia has lived all over the world,especially South America..she follows her Colombian boyfriend Jorge, to his country..becomes part of the Carvallo coffee farm and, after a series of calamities, ends up running it alone..In the midst of this familial and romantic drama are many compelling, detailed descriptions of the rainforest. Mackinnon brings to life the forest's flora and fauna, the wildlife, and the tribal people..meticulous detail and knowledge of the locale bring a unique richness to the novel..

"A Place in the World" is a serene, affecting, and poignant novel by a gifted storyteller. This gentle, meditative novel ramped up the tension toward the end and morphed into a genuine thriller. The author created a world that was wholly realistic and honest. In fact, everything about this novel pulsated with authenticity--the place, the characters, the animals, the community, the rebels, the indigenous tribesmen, and most of all, the everyday drama...the sign of a genuine five-star story. I recommend it highly.
- Barbara Case, Emeriti University Librarian, top Amazon reviewer


From the Back Cover

"Set down by fate on a remote coffee plantation in the mountains of Colombia, a young American discovers her deepest passions. The rainforest itself is the book's most detailed and compelling character, and it's this sense of place that holds Alicia most firmly ........where her love for the people around her slowly comes to fruition. Gentle, moving, and elegiac, A Place in the World tells the story of a young woman who transforms
an alien place into the home of her heart, and in the process transforms herself as well. "
Anastasia Hobbet, author of Pleasure of Believing and Small Kingdoms


 Cinda Crabbe MacKinnon grew up in Latin America. She began telling stories to her little brother when they were children in Bogota. Her experiences and love for the people, culture and natural setting of Colombia resulted in her novel, A Place in the World. A writer, university lecturer, and environmental scientist, she has an MS in geology and a longtime passion for botany. This background enabled her to weave details into her writing on tropical nature and geology, as well as Colombian society. Cinda has published articles in local newspapers and journals on environmental topics, as well as an award winning short story. She received the William Penn Mott Jr. Award for her environmental work on local creeks. In her spare time she volunteers for Guide Dogs for the Blind and the California Native Plant Society. She lives in northern California with her husband and their golden retriever.

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Customer Reviews

Based on 36 reviews
Good vibes! Review: I know the author and she makes a good tale out of many of her personal life experiences. For those who have the good fortune to have lived overseas, this book will make you remember fondly those experiences.

Mary Vaughn
Very interesting view of Columbia. Review: I love that she was able to being the spirit of the Columbia, people into her book. With some history of how, the drug lords were able to walk in and set up shop. So easy after volcano.

Lucy Beck
Challenges in this difficult but beautiful place are instrumental in the development of the story... Review: "A Place in the World" is a captivating story of the growth of a young idealistic woman, and the importance of place in her becoming a strong complicated woman. Cinda Mackinnon paints a vivid picture of the colors and smells, the climate and geography and the characters in this very compelling story. Challenges in this difficult but beautiful place are instrumental in the development of the story and it's main character.
I highly recommend this book!

Discovering the beauty of the cloud forest Review: This novel has an engaging story about family relationships, yet the wonder of this book is not the narrative, but the setting. Cinda MacKinnons, A Place in the World takes us to Columbia in the latter part of the last century (which feels like yesterday to me). The story follows a young American girl with a peripatetic childhood who marries a Columbian coffee farmer. It is the life on this remote coffee farm in the cloud forest that kept me turning the pages, as the weather, the volcanic ash, the market and the politics of the region during those volatile years played havoc with the crop. The intricate, natural beauty and the dangers of the cloud forest, the slow pace of modernisation and the cultural differences between the Columbian and the American outlook, make for absorbing reading.

Mary Ann Good
I really like the tone and pace of the book Review: I am nearly done reading this book and I am relishing it. I really like the tone and pace of the book. While it isnt exciting or fast-paced, it suits the material and fits my preference for all things nature-relatedI despise the jazzed-up nature shows on TV, preferring to see a slow-paced depiction of how things occur naturally. I see this in this storyit feels like a diary of real life, rather than a novel building to some crescendoa diary of a life I would love to experience, in the Colombian cloud forest! Thanks to the author for a lyrical story (oh, and its a joy just to handle and behold the beautiful cover!)

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