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By Esmeralda Santiago

As a tender lady starting to be up in Spain, Ana Larragoity Cubillas is powerfully interested in Puerto Rico by means of the diaries of an ancestor who traveled there with Ponce de Leon. And in good-looking dual brothers Ramon and Inocente—both in love with Ana—she reveals how to get there. Marrying Ramon on the age of eighteen, she travels around the ocean to Hacienda los Gemelos, a distant sugar plantation the brothers have inherited. yet quickly the Civil warfare erupts within the usa, and Ana unearths her livelihood, and maybe even her lifestyles, threatened via the very humans on whose backs her wealth has been outfitted: the hacienda’s slaves, whose richly drawn tales spread along her personal during this epic novel of affection, discovery and adventure.  

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Ana knew, however, that whether or not she fulfilled the expectations of her equals, her family names and ancestry held an important place in Spain’s vertical society. To people like the Argosos, wealthier but lower down the slope, her pedigree made her more attractive than the coiffed, accomplished, fan-flickering señoritas paraded before every bachelor with more money but less dazzling lineage. She also noticed that don Eugenio encouraged Ramón’s attentions toward her. She and Elena congratulated each other that their plan might work.

They’d confounded Elena for years. She lived in the school most of the time because Leonor thought it was inappropriate to have a beautiful young woman among so many soldiers. Whenever Elena came home for vacation, Ramón and Inocente took pains to groom and dress alike. Señoritas at social events had trouble distinguishing one from the other, but the brothers wanted to know whether one who lived with them would, too. They were sure that Elena couldn’t tell them apart. Even their mother frequently confused Ramón with Inocente and vice versa.

Sharks attacked them when rafts broke up as they paddled, searching for another island where they could rebuild their vegetable plots and their communities. They fled into the mountains, where they were chased and captured by hounds. They died of humiliation after hot irons branded their foreheads. They died in such numbers that their language began to die, too, and the names of their ancestors and most of their gods were silenced from tongues. The borinqueño culture, traditions, and history were chronicled by the conquerors who called them savages, who misinterpreted their customs and rituals, who told them that if they didn’t renounce their own gods, they would live in flames in the next life.

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