FAITH IN CARLOS GOMEZ: A Memoir of Salsa, Sex, and Salvation

Horsewoman and freelance writer Dunn unexpectedly loses herself in salsa, where she finds personal insight and a whole new community.

Horsewoman and freelance writer Dunn unexpectedly loses herself in salsa, where she finds personal insight and a whole new community.

After nearly losing her leg in a horseback riding accident some years ago, Dunn was able to get back on the horse, but she didn’t figure on doing much more dancing in her life. But after she’s (willingly, happily) seduced by her irresistible Latino blacksmith—he shoes her horse—she finds herself in desperate need of dancing lessons. Contrary to her expectations, she’s almost immediately disillusioned with the blacksmith, but finds that the dancing has invaded her thoughts; she’s begun to hear salsa beats as she walks down the street. Her teacher, too, has become strangely attractive to her after taking her out to a salsa club and showing her his amazing moves on the dance floor. Dunn can’t understand the turn her life is taking, but she’s suddenly in total thrall to the Latin dancing world. She takes private lessons, seeks out gifted instructors and goes out to dance clubs every night, despite her bum leg and nagging lack of rhythm. She even begins wearing skirts, something she’d never imagined doing again after her accident. With a salty southern charm, Dunn is like the Brett Butler of the L.A. salsa scene, charming and seducing the reader into wondering whether maybe it’s time to sign up for salsa lessons at the local studio. As Dunn runs through her romantic misadventures and her stormy relationship with her mother, herself a dancer, she points to her many missteps, but the overall impression is of a woman who is finding her way, learning to trust herself and other people. Drama, humor and the heat of the salsa scene infuse the work.

A salty, sexy story with a deeply likable heroine who’s dancing as fast as she can.