Conquistadora: Book summary and reviews of Conquistadora by Esmeralda Santiago

Conquistadora

by Esmeralda Santiago

Conquistadora by Esmeralda Santiago X
Conquistadora by Esmeralda Santiago
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  • Published in USA  Jul 2011
    432 pages
    Genre: Historical Fiction

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Book Summary

An epic novel of love, discovery, and adventure by the author of the best-selling memoir When I Was Puerto Rican.

As a young girl growing up in Spain, Ana Larragoity Cubillas is powerfully drawn to Puerto Rico by the diaries of an ancestor who traveled there with Ponce de León. And in handsome twin brothers Ramón and Inocente—both in love with Ana—she finds a way to get there. She marries Ramón, and in 1844, just eighteen, she travels across the ocean to a remote sugar plantation the brothers have inherited on the island.

Ana faces unrelenting heat, disease and isolation, and the dangers of the untamed countryside even as she relishes the challenge of running Hacienda los Gemelos. But when the Civil War breaks out in the United States, Ana finds her livelihood, and perhaps even her life, threatened by the very people on whose backs her wealth has been built: the hacienda’s slaves, whose richly drawn stories unfold alongside her own. And when at last Ana falls for a man who may be her destiny—a once-forbidden love—she will sacrifice nearly everything to keep hold of the land that has become her true home.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

BookBrowse Says
(This review includes plot spoilers.... )
"I slogged through this book hoping that it would settle down and its characters would gain some 'meat,' but came to realize it was never going to happen. In truth they are just a fraction above those found in a Harlequin Romance. From the start, we have the unloved daughter, no replacement for the three lost sons, who is sent to a convent school where she spends many a night locked in the arms of her best friend and confident, sharing their thoughts and their bodies with each other. At the ripe old age of 18 she marries the older brother of said friend, because that is after all what a girl of the 1800's does. Of course said brother, identical twin of best friend's other brother is a clod in bed, a one two thank you mam, roll over and go to sleep sort of guy.

The newly weds, with twin brother in-tow, head off Bermuda Triangle way where they are determined through hard work, and the help of free slave labor to successfully run the family plantation.

There is redemption for Ana in the end when she finally experiences a male lover as tender as her childhood best friend was. I will stop here and with a groan add that the spicy, balmy Carribean setting just adds to the cliched story and characters; and let's not forget the rumblings of war in the distance. This part of the world has always had a romantic lure to it, its rich history overflowing with more than enough content for a good story-making. Unfortunately, stereotypical characters mar the telling." - BJ Hegedus

Others Say
"Starred Review. The richness of her imagination and the lushness of her language will serve saga enthusiasts well, and she provides readers a massive panorama of plantation life—plus all you could ever want to know and more about growing sugar cane." - Publishers Weekly

"Starred Review. It’s an outstanding story, full of pathos, tropical sensuality, and violence—but it also poses uncomfortable moral questions readers are forced to consider ... Storytelling genius ... Conquistadora is a book-group must." - Booklist

"[A] lively, well-researched historical novel. With drama, adventure, and even a bit of magical realism, Conquistadora may remind readers of Isabel Allende's novels of Latin America. Highly recommended." - Library Journal "Conquistadora is a splendid expedition into colonial history complete with enrapturing suspense to the very end." - O the Oprah Magazine

"An epic beach read." - Marie Claire

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