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A Place in the World

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  47 ratings  ·  23 reviews
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 co ...more
Paperback, 342 pages
Published April 3rd 2013 by Publishing (first published March 16th 2013)
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really liked it Average rating 4.00  · 
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Apr 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, year-round
Sometimes I chance upon a book that normally wouldn't enter my collection. A chance entry into a bookstore, a writer's event, a signed just takes you down different paths. Would I enjoy this book about a woman finding her footing in the mountains of Colombia or would it be another signed book sitting on a shelf somewhere?

Well, I must say this was an enjoyable read. The sense of place is very strong here with a plantation full of coffee bean trees surrounded by rainforest and wildlife
Cinda MacKinnon
Jul 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
B. CASE, REVIEWER with “An Inquiring Mind” – gave A Place in the World a 5 Star Review. Here is an excerpt of the review:
“A Place in the World,” is a serene, affecting, and poignant novel by a gifted storyteller. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and devoured it completely in a single day. I rarely allow books to keep me up past my bedtime, but this gentle, meditative novel ramped up the tension toward the end and morphed into a genuine thriller, one that I could not turn away from…the author crea
Dec 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Wendy by: Goodreads Giveaways
"A Place in the World" which I won from Goodreads Giveaways is the story of a displaced American, Alicia (Collier) Carvallo, whose decisions in life are radically influenced by her early years globetrotting with her family across the world because of her father's work. After marrying Jorge Carvallo a man from a wealthy Colombian family she finds a sense of stability and purpose in the coffee finca (farm) where the young couple settles. What neither of the newlyweds expect is to have their relati ...more
Anuradha(Anu) Alahakoon
Oct 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is an interesting find. I liked the plot where the author successfully immerses us and draw our attention in to. What is most interesting for me is the setting among the Colombian cloud forests and the coffee plantations. Personally, what I want from a book is not just a story but an experience connecting to the characters and the surroundings.

Set amongst the coffee plantions in cloud forests in tropical Colomba, gives a fresh feeling. I can relate this experience to Sri Lanka where I
Rita Gardner
Oct 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
From the first pages of this luminous novel set in a cloud-forest coffee plantation in Colombia, it is clear the author has a deep understanding of the hauntingly beautiful yet alien territory in which the young American protagonist Alicia has found herself. Or rather, has lost herself. MacKinnon writes with a scientific eye that brings to life the rumbling geology and exuberant botany of the area, but also portrays the growing emotional conflicts of an expatriate woman who marries into a patria ...more
This novel set in Colombia in the 1970's was thoroughly enjoyable to read. I love stories that are about the inner and exterior of a person's life, and this one is interesting right at the start. The author has created a beautiful tapestry with colorful descriptions of the people and various environments in Colombia. It is thrilling to enter the cloud forest with a biologist you care about and whose illustrations and thoughts about the exotic flora and fauna are so deftly interwoven as her life ...more
Carolin Crabbe
Aug 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A Place in the World is an exciting tale of love, betrayal and retribution set in the wonderful tropical rainforests of Colombia’s majestic Andes. Having grown up there, as well as other countries of Latin America, the author brings to life the colors, textures and scents of this exotic land and one can almost feel they have been there too. She also touches upon some of the major difficulties this country faces in its development, from its centuries-long dependence on a major crop ___coffee___ a ...more
James King
Apr 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I have walked through the valleys and rice farms of Northern Thailand, along the canals and waterways that irrigate the land and through the forests windy paths. Along the way composing poems or capturing photos of amazing landscapes and the abundant wild flowers. And then suddenly I am transported from tropical Southeast Asia, for a few dollars only, to a place in the world I never imagined I would see. A magical experience full of romantic characters, exotic locations, magnificent scenery and ...more
Rina Brundu
May 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
by Rina Brundu. The geographical and cultural background of the award winning novel “A Place in the World” (2013) by Cinda Crabbe MacKinnon is a country where “The drug cartels exceeded the violence of the guerrillas and bandits. Cocaine ruled, and drug lord Pablo Escobar was feared throughout the country”; a country which “has been at war with both the Marxist guerrillas and left wing paramilitary for decades, but the violence since the 70’s escalated with the drug trade”; a country in which “I ...more
Sheryl Sorrentino
Feb 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
A Place in the World tells the story one woman’s life from the 1960s onward. I would really give it three-and-a-half stars.

First, the positives: The author creates a beautiful setting (she could write for Condé Nast!). She makes the reader feel like we’re on an adventure vacation in the Colombian Andes getting an authentic taste of life on a remote coffee finca located adjacent to the rain forest. While I think the book perhaps could have done with a tad less emphasis on botany, the narrative de
Rosie Amber
Oct 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A Place in the World is set in Colombia and begins in 1971. Alicia Carvallo is the 22 year old wife of Jorge. They live on a coffee finca which is like a farm or plantation. The moment I read the description of the finca being in a cloud forest I began falling in love with the beauties described. The flaura and fauna were so well written that you could almost hear the birds calling and feel the moisture on the leaves.

The finca is known as Las Nubes, there is no mains electric, no piped water, no
Mamta Madhavan
Nov 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
A Place in the World by Cinda Crabbe MacKinnon is set against the backdrop of Colombia. Alicia, a young American, marries into a wealthy Colombian coffee growing family. A biologist, she is transported into her husband Jorge's world where she lives on a coffee finca. As they learn more about coffee growing, Alicia is fascinated by the world around her. They slowly fall into a steady pattern in their lives, but a lot of other upheavals cause a dent in their relationship. Jorge leaves Alicia with ...more
Jessie Stevens
Nov 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
I sat down to write this review, ready to say that nothing huge and dramatic happens in this book.

I was about to tell you that this is a lovely little book, set in dramatic Colombia, amongst the beauty of rain forests on a coffee farm, where a woman leads her life the best she can, as she finds her own place in the world.

But then I remembered the volcano.

It’s hard to claim a volcano isn’t huge and dramatic – it’s a volcano.

So I did some more thinking. How had my faulty memory managed to marginal
Apr 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A really enjoyable read

“A place in the world” is the story of a young American woman who, having lived her life in many different countries, settled down in Colombia after her marriage to a young Colombian coffee grower. Alicia falls in love with the 'finca' and decides to live there even if it means certain sacrifices.

The novel introduced me to a part of the world and a kind of life about which I knew very little. It is a sensitive description of cultural differences and adaptation to a totally
Hilary Green
Mar 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
This novel has an engaging story about family relationships, yet the wonder of this book is not the narrative, but the setting. Cinda MacKinnon’s, 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, ...more
Pamela Stadden
Dec 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
A Place in the World by Cinda Crabbe MacKinnon outlines a woman’s growth in Columbia. It’s a feminist text really, but not in the bra burning sense. Alicia, the main character, searches for identity. Rejected by family and to some degree society, Alicia marries early and builds a humble existence at her husband’s home, close to the tropical forest that she loves. Her constant journeys into this forbidden area can be viewed as metaphoric. The ending, too, is rich with metaphor.

MacKinnon attempts
J.T. Twissel
Jul 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: finished
A Place in the World, Cinda MacKinnon’s breath-taking debut novel, is the perfect read for a hot dry day. You can almost hear monkeys calling to each other through the cloud forests, smell the bougainvillea, and feel the moist wind on your cheeks. The writing is simply luscious. Alicia Cavallos is a young mother whose passionate love for her adopted home (a coffee plantation high in the Andes) sustains her through her husband’s desertion and her growing attraction to a rugged, young man who stum ...more
May 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
Nature lovers will enjoy this book for its evocative descriptions of the rain forest as well as its insightful multicultural story line. Ms. MacKinnon describes the flora and fauna of the jungle in layman's term so that one can easily imagine the scenery in all its vibracy and diversity. She speaks of the diversity of the human experience as well by accurately replicating different speaking patterns and cadences in her characters' voices. She delves in the complexities and nuances of language an ...more
Sep 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
Through 'A Place in the World', I found a real sense of Latin America during the last couple of decades of the twentieth century. Volcanic eruptions, bandits, narcos, wild animals and, above all, the continual danger of getting lost in the rainforest. 'A Place in the World' is a very realistic story about a young American woman, a naturalist and environmentalist, making a life for herself in remote Columbia. No hype, no thrills. This novel doesn't need them.

For a longer review, visit Copperfiel
Cherie Magnus
Jan 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this unique story very much, however I would have liked it even more if it had been a memoir, knowing that the happenings and relationships were real. I'm sure the novel is based on true events, but we don't know to what extent people and occurrences were fact or fiction. Nevertheless the story of an American girl running a coffee farm in deep Colombia was unusual and interesting, even when the botanical details overtook the plot. ...more
Diane Stavrum
Jun 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
wonderful story. is the author Alicia?
Oct 24, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: nature-adventure
If someone pitched this book to me, if I saw a storyboard of the plot, if I got a description of the characters and the relationships between them, I’d say, “Hell ya, I want to read this book!”

But the execution took away all my excitement. My biggest issue was the nagging feeling that the banter was inauthentic. It was worst when children were quoted or science subjects were discussed.

I love reading books that incorporate descriptions of plants and animals, and get down dirty with the science,
Elizabeth Krall
Jan 06, 2014 rated it liked it
This novel tells a story about a young American woman finding herself, and her “place in the world”. The setting of Colombia in the years leading to drug problems was interesting and informative. The author certainly brought the coffee plantation and surrounding cloud forest to life.
Unfortunately, I found it TOO informative. There are so many asides about life and customs in Colombia, descriptions of plants and animals, that they detract from the story. With all due respect to the author, if I t
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Caroline Anastasia Mccaskill
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Diane McCarrick
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Dani Civil
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Cecilia Dunbar Hernandez
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Cinda Crabbe MacKinnon grew up in Latin America. She began telling stories to her little brother when they were children in Bogotá. Her experiences and love for the people, culture and natural setting resulted in her Award winning novel, A Place in the World. A writer, former university lecturer, and environmental scientist, she has an MS in geology and a longtime passion for botany. This backgrou ...more

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