Conquistadora

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Overview

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 Leon. And in handsome twin brothers Ramon and Inocente—both in love with Ana—she finds a way to get there. Marrying Ramon at the age of eighteen, she travels across the ocean to Hacienda los Gemelos, a remote sugar plantation the brothers have inherited. But soon the Civil War erupts in the United States, and Ana finds her livelihood, and perhaps ...

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Conquistadora

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Overview

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 Leon. And in handsome twin brothers Ramon and Inocente—both in love with Ana—she finds a way to get there. Marrying Ramon at the age of eighteen, she travels across the ocean to Hacienda los Gemelos, a remote sugar plantation the brothers have inherited. But soon the Civil War erupts in the United States, and 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 in this epic novel of love, discovery and adventure.  

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

In her word of mouth bestselling memoir When I Was Puerto Rican, Esmeralda Santiago wrote about growing up in two different worlds; one in rural Puerto Rico, the other in New York City. In her historical novel, Conquistadora, she writes about a character's difficult transition between two equally different realms. Even as a young girl in southwest Spain, Ana Cubillas was enthralled with the idea of Puerto Rico, which she knew mainly through the diaries of a 16th century ancestors. To achieve her dream, Ana marries a young suitor, but in this Gone With The Wind-like saga, her heart belongs mostly to her hacienda, which undergoes major changes with the advent of the American Civil War on the mainland. Early reviews call this "a sensual, riveting tale" and "thrilling history."

Gaiutra Bahadur
The book's strength is its Rubik's Cube portrait of Ana, an unconventional, ambitious woman whose attitudes toward children, slaves and lovers perplex and engross…Ana is emotionally intelligent enough to imagine how slaves might feel, to understand their longing for freedom, yet ruthless enough to use and punish them in order to flourish herself. Neither white witch nor angel, she is convincing despite her contradictions—indeed, because of them.
—The New York Times
Eugenia Zukerman
The novel's setup could have spun into a bodice ripper or a potboiler. Instead, once Ana lands in the lush and perilous island that is mid-19th-century Puerto Rico, the tempo and the virtuosic writing accelerate…Santiago's storytelling is thrilling, and her descriptions of the island and its multinational denizens are luminous. Her characters' complexities emerge and collide while the plot twists like tropical vines…Santiago's Ana is a woman with a lust for life and the drive of a conquistador. She may be flawed, but she's also fabulous, and Conquistadora is a triumph.
—The Washington Post
From the Publisher
“An enthralling family saga interlaced with meticulously researched details of how the Caribbean economy of the day sustained itself through slave labor. . . . Steely Ana—think Scarlett O’Hara with jet black hair—won’t let hurricanes, cholera or even outright revolution keep her from turning a profit raising [sugar] cane. Santiago uses her larger-than-life character to illuminate a pivotal moment in the history of the Western hemisphere. . . . Four stars."
—Sue Corbett, People

“Gloriosa Ana María de los Ángeles Larragoity Cubillas Nieves de Donostia—Ana for short—is slight for a Spanish aristocrat, and unfashionably dark-skinned. In convent school in the 1830s, having eccentrically buried her not-so-pretty nose in the journal of a conquistador, she decides to become one, after a fashion, herself. . . . A decades-long story about marriage, slavery, and calculated choices—Ana makes an unspoken, unnatural pact with her young husband and his twin brother—Conquistadora is a splendid expedition into colonial history complete with enrapturing suspense to the very end.”
—Celia McGee, O the Oprah Magazine 

“Remarkable . . . [An] unpredictable and soaring story [by] an author in full command . . . Santiago encapsules an island’s history in the splendid tapestry of Ana’s boldly imagined life [and] joins a stellar line-up of Latin American authors who have brought to literary life the maverick women of Spanish colonial times, most notably Isabel Allende and Laura Esquivel . . . Santiago has crafted this elegantly written story from a bountiful imagination that blossomed from conversations with her parents, who grew up in and near sugar plantations; and dogged research into the most intricate details of aristocracy in Seville and colonial life in Cuba, Puerto Rico and New York. . . . Historical lessons abound, but pathos and authenticity keep one glued to the tale. . . . The indomitable Ana has been compared by early reviewers to Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind. [She is] the flawed but ultimately admirable woman through which Santiago narrates the complex story of a nation’s beginnings. In Santiago’s hands, Ana is a woman to remember and Puerto Rico a country to cherish.”
—Fabiola Santiago, The Miami Herald 
 
“An epic beach read . . . Santiago sets her new book in 19th-century Spain, where her young heroine, Ana Larragoity Cubillas, discovers the diaries of an ancestor who traveled with Ponce de Léon. Fascinated by tales of gold nuggets and caribe warriors, Ana makes her way to Puerto Rico with the help of handsome, devious twins—both of whom land up in her bed. Once there, Ana finds her passion running a sugar plantation where love, disease, and revolt threaten to destroy it all.”
—Kimberly Cutter, Marie Claire

“Santiago has created a ferociously seductive character. By day, headstrong Ana Cubillas is a well-heeled 19th-century Spanish teenager . . . By night, she dreams of emulating her conquistador ancestor and turning her back on ‘country, family and custom’ to make her fortune. . . . Read this absorbing, impeccably researched novel for its lusty history and for the way Santiago’s narrative constantly surprises—just as its protagonist does, confronting the gender limitations of her day.”
—Meredith Maran, More

“In 1844, a bride sails to Puerto Rico to help run her in-laws’ plantation. There, she battles heat, disease, and the cruelty of slavery—and comes out on top, defying convention at every turn.”
Good Housekeeping

“Santiago brings passion, color, and historical detail to this Puerto Rican Gone with the Wind, featuring a hard-as-nails heroine more devoted to her plantation than to any of the men in her life . . . Ana grows up the willful daughter of aristocratic parents during the waning years of Spain’s colonial era. [She is] a not-so-innocent convent girl who marries her best friend’s fiancé’s twin brother, then heads to Puerto Rico without her friend, but with both twins in tow. The young men intend to make their fortunes, but it is Ana who has the savvy and determination to persevere through hurricanes, slave revolts, cholera and any other challenge the island has to offer. . . Santiago makes Caribbean history come alive through characters as human as they are iconic. 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)

“Extraordinary . . . a historical novel set in 19th Puerto Rico, featuring a high-handed, strong-willed woman determined to escape her boring upper-class future in Spain. When twin brothers inherit a sugar plantation in Puerto Rico, Ana marries them (who can tell them apart?), and they embark on what for the brothers is a lark, but for Ana is serious business. From the start, she takes to the land and the work of processing cane in the Caribbean, keeping the slaves inherited with the property and adding to their number over the years. She becomes the very image of a conquering hero: implacable, outspoken, demanding. Her husbands languish and fade while Ana runs Hacienda los Gemelos without their help. The issues of social caste, slavery, and sex roles make this a fascinating read. 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.”
—Jen Baker, Booklist (starred review)

“What do you get when you drop the author of When I Was Puerto Rican into a steamy, sultry stew of 19th century island intrigue? You get Conquistadora, an imaginative re-imagining of things from a strong-willed woman’s point-of-view. You also get one helluva historical epic.”
—John Hood, NBC Miami Niteside
 
“A grand romantic adventure tale, complete with plenty of sex and violence [and] satisfying richness . . . Santiago doesn’t ignore the political and economic realities of Ana’s life. . . . The novel is loaded with details of life on a sugar plantation.”
—Margaret Quamme, The Columbus Dispatch

“The multitalented author of When I Was Puerto Rican offers a big, bold novel about life on a Caribbean sugar plantation in the mid-19th century. Ana Cubillas, the descendant of Latin American conquistadors, is unhappy with the confined life of a young woman in Spain. She marries Ramon Argoso and encourages him and his twin, Inocente, to take over their family’s plantation in Puerto Rico. So begins the saga of Ana’s determination to revive the plantation in the face of all obstacles, from hurricanes to cholera epidemics to slave revolts. Is Ana an admirable example of female endurance, or does her relentless ambition only bring tragedy to her family? Can we have any sympathy for someone whose success comes from the backbreaking slavery of others? These are the questions Santiago poses in this 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.”
—Leslie Patterson, Library Journal

“The American South had Scarlett O’Hara as its Civil War antiheroine . . . In fiction, plantation mistresses have tended to be either unbridled despots or demure creatures who stay in the Great House . . . Santiago plays with, then capsizes, these caricatures in Conquistadora, set in mid-19th-century Puerto Rico. . . . But Santiago’s plantation mistress isn’t a shrew who derives sadistic pleasure from flogging her slaves. Nor is she their ministering angel . . . Ana is something much more elusive and contradictory. She delegates the flogging, but flinches when the slaves screams. [And she] is a feminist before her time. . . . The book’s strength is its Rubik’s Cube portrait of Ana, an unconventional, ambitious woman whose attitudes toward children, slaves and lovers perplex and engross. . . . Ana is emotionally intelligent enough to imagine how slaves might feel, to understand their longing for freedom, yet ruthless enough to use and punish them in order to flourish herself. Neither white witch nor angel, she is convincing despite her contradictions—indeed, because of them. . . . Conquistadora [is] a guided tour of the history of sugar and empire. Santiago takes us through events of the past as if they were rooms, navigating the cholera epidemic that ravaged Puerto Rico in the 1850s here, depicting the secret abolitionist societies active in San Juan there, and over all, divertingly evoking a place that was one of the last holdouts for slavery in the Americas.”
—Gaiutra Bahadur, The New York Times Book Review

Conquistadora is an expertly researched novel that fuses Antillean/Puerto Rican history and a spellbinding and action-packed storyline that will surprise and dazzle its readers. . . . A Pandora’s box of triumphs and tragedies unfolds and will keep you on the edge of your seat. . . . A crown jewel of Puerto Rican literature.”
—Charlie Vázquez, Being Latino

"If, as the proverb goes, history is written by the hunters, then Esmeralda Santiago has imagined history as written from the point of view of the lions. A remarkable story for its detail, imagination, meticulous research, and wisdom, this is history written by a lion at the height of her powers."
—Sandra Cisneros, author of The House on Mango Street

“An enthralling epic that not only illuminates the life of one extraordinary woman, but of the great sweep of Puerto Rican history. Rich with period details, unforgettable drama, and a riveting cast of characters, Conquistadora will seduce readers heart and soul.”
—Cristina García, author of Dreaming in Cuban

Conquistadora is a wonderful and richly drawn novel, with an unforgettable story that will not only enlighten readers about the fascinating history of Puerto Rico in the 19th century, but delight them with a narrative that is always deeply felt and entertaining. A grand achievement from one of our finest writers.”
—Oscar Hijuelos, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love and Beautiful Maria of My Soul

“Impressive . . . Conquistadora is a story of epic dimensions, one which demands to be taken seriously—and at the same time is just a tremendous amount of fun. Hats off to Esmeralda Santiago, for a delicious novel that instructs as easily as it pleases.” 
—Madison Smartt Bell, author of All Souls’ Rising

“A powerful new novel that is colorful, sexy, and shimmering with magical writing as lush as the tropical island on which it takes place. Alive with all their passions and flaws, here are characters so boldly imagined they feel real, and in a story so transporting you can almost smell the sugar cane . . . I fell in love with the grand adventure that is Conquistadora—so will you!”
 
—Terry McMillan, author of Getting to Happy and Waiting to Exhale

“Having launched her writing career with the well-regarded memoir When I Was Puerto Rican, Santiago goes for broke with this grand, sprawling novel, which starts out in 19th-century Spain. Ana Cubillas, enraptured by the diaries of an ancestor who explored Puerto Rico with Ponce de León, is now in love with the island and finds a way to get there. . . . She just wasn’t prepared for the heat, the wildlife—and the slave labor. Engrossing and polished, without the let’s-just-get-through-it writing than can mar sagas . . . Perfect for those who want fun but literate reading.”
—Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal

“I loved this novel from the first sentence, and wept with emotion by the end. Lush, steamy and passionate, Conquistadora paints a rich landscape of life in colonial Puerto Rico, and in bold strokes defines characters so full of life they leap from the page and into your heart. Esmeralda Santiago has given voice to a history that has eluded me. Here is a haunting, visceral epic that satisfies on every level and yet leaves you hungry for more. Bravo, Conquistadora!
—Daisy Martinez, host of Viva Daisy! and author of Daisy’s Holiday Cooking

From the Hardcover edition.

Library Journal
Having launched her writing career with the well-regarded memoir When I Was Puerto Rican and her fiction career with America's Dream, Santiago goes for broke with this grand, sprawling novel, which starts out in 19th-century Spain. Ana Cubillas is enraptured by the diaries of an ancestor who explored Puerto Rico with Ponce de León. She therefore marries Ramón, who with his twin brother has inherited a sugar plantation in Puerto Rico, and convinces the brothers that their future lies in the plantation. She just wasn't prepared for the heat, the wildlife, and the slave labor. At first glance, this is engrossing and polished, without the let's-just-get-through-it writing than can mar sagas. With an eight-city tour and a reading group guide.
Library Journal
The multitalented author of When I Was Puerto Rican offers a big, bold novel about life on a Caribbean sugar plantation in the mid-19th century. Ana Cubillas, the descendant of Latin American conquistadors, is unhappy with the confined life of a young woman in Spain. She marries Ramon Argoso and encourages him and his twin, Inocente, to take over their family's plantation in Puerto Rico. So begins the saga of Ana's determination to revive the plantation in the face of all obstacles, from hurricanes to cholera epidemics to slave revolts. Is Ana an admirable example of female endurance, or does her relentless ambition only bring tragedy to her family? Can we have any sympathy for someone whose success comes from the backbreaking slavery of others? These are the questions Santiago poses in this lively, well-researched historical novel. VERDICT With drama, adventure, and even a bit of magical realism, Conquistadora may remind readers of Isabel Allende's novels of Latin America. Highly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, 1/31/11.]—Leslie Patterson, Rehoboth, MA
Kirkus Reviews

Or,Gone with el Viento: a Puerto Rican–set saga of forbidden love, slavery and humidity.

Gloriosa Ana María de los Ángeles Larragoity Cubillas Nieves de Donostia is a handful, breast-fed by gypsies and spoiled by a small army of dispensable servants. Still, the Spanish lass has her sights on independence and accomplishments won by herself, in the manner of her conquistador ancestor, Don Hernán, spinner of tales concerning gold, limpid rivers, "unusual fruits that dangled from climbing vines"and other such good things to be found on the distant island of Puerto Rico. But how to get to that "world beyond her balcony"from Spain? Well, it being the 19th century and all, Ana has to choose the right man to take her there. Check: There's the obliging Ramón, who just happens to have a handsome brother—and from that starting point, Santiago turns this romance into a bodice-ripper and chest-heaver that wastes no time in getting hot and heavy. Early on, we find Ana exploring "the new sensations in her body, but [she] envisioned God frowning whenever she brushed her fingers against her budding breasts to feel the pleasure at the touch, so even her thoughts were forbidden." Soon enough, we find her entertaining both brothersin flagrante, or, better, in a steamy plantation full of steamy slaves and their sullen overseers. What's a nice girl to do? Well, wait as the menfolk start to drop dead one by one, the tropics being a dangerous place, watch as Tara South gets chewed up by termites and fruit bats and harbor a few regrets about having "committed the sins of adultery and fornication without seeking penance." Ah, but then come the steely arms of another man and the passage of years, and lo, the jungle is conquered—at least until the sequel.

A pot-boiler—competent enough, with an exotic setting and characters, but nothing special within its genre.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307938954
  • Publisher: Books on Tape, Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/12/2011
  • Format: MP3
  • Edition description: Unabridged
  • Ships to U.S.and APO/FPO addresses only.

Meet the Author

Esmeralda Santiago

Esmeralda Santiago is the author of the memoirs When I Was Puerto Rican, Almost a Woman, which she adapted into a Peabody Award–winning film for PBS’s Masterpiece Theatre, and The Turkish Lover; the novel América’s Dream; and a children’s book, A Doll for Navidades. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and House & Garden, among other publications, and on NPR’s All Things Considered and Morning Edition. Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, she lives in New York.

www.esmeraldasantiago.com

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Read an Excerpt

"Her Small Person"

The horizon was smudged, like a bruise, but as the Antares approached land, a veiled green pyramid emerged from the haze. Ana grabbed Ramón's arm and bounced on her toes, unable to contain her excitement.

"Is that it?"

Ramón wove her left hand through his elbow, and brought her gloved fingers to his lips. "We'll soon be inside the harbor."

"You can make out San Felipe del Morro." Inocente pointed to a mustard-colored headland over the frothing surf.

"It's huge!"

"Impregnable," Inocente added. "Spanish military engineering at its best."

Other passengers pushed closer to the rail, craned their necks, adjusted their hats and bonnets to shade their eyes from the blinding sun. Crewmen hopped around the deck in a dance of sail lowering, rope loosening, latch securing, and the tying down of canvas-wrapped bundles. As the vessel glided through the protected passage into the broad harbor, Ana's breath quickened. This is it, she thought, Puerto Rico. A sense of déjà vu made her dizzy.

"Now I know what my ancestors must have felt," she said, "seeing land after weeks at sea. . . ."

"Let's hope we have the luck of those who became rich and not the luck of those eaten by the Caribs," muttered Inocente.

Ramón and Ana laughed. Some passengers standing nearby glanced at them nervously and gave them a bit more room. The brothers exchanged an amused look over Ana's head. She put her other arm through Inocente's so that they were linked to each other through her. She sighed happily as the walled city came into view.

"At last," she said softly. "We're here at last."

She closed her eyes and mentally etched the date into memory: Wednesday, October 16, 1844.

It was early morning, and the harbor was thick with two- and three-masted schooners, barges, sloops, and fishing boats vying for lanes, most of them flying the red-and-gold Spanish flag. San Juan rose from the waterfront behind the thick walls that protected it from invasions and enemy attacks from the Atlantic Ocean. Wide swatches of green peppered the hill, gardens, or pastures--Ana couldn't tell--but closely packed buildings intersected by roads and alleys defined most of the land. Several towers topped by crucifixes were scattered across the citadel, their bells echoing over the water. To Ana, San Juan looked like Cádiz, the city they'd left three thousand miles behind in Spain.

She freed her arms from Ramón and Inocente and turned to where verdant hills stretched east to west, the vegetation nearly unbroken by man-made structures. Low white clouds formed over the green, blackening the land below. She turned again to the light and sunny city. As the schooner approached the dock, passengers oohed and aahed at the painted houses, the balconies adorned with flowers and foliage on the upper stories. On the fl at roofs, women's skirts and fringed shawls fl uttered in the breeze in a panoply of color and movement. Some of them waved, and passengers returned their greetings. Other women dressed in black stood as immobile as the sentry boxes over the rock walls of the fort. They were too far from shore for Ana to distinguish features, but so many women in mourning over the gay city palled her humor. She threaded her arms again through Ramón's, then Inocente's, arm and pulled them closer, focusing their attention on the movement on the wharf,...

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Reading Group Guide

1. Santiago’s epigraph is an excerpt from “Adam” by William Carlos Williams: “Underneath the whisperings/of tropic nights/there is a darker whispering/that death invents especially/for northern men/whom the tropics/ have come to hold.” Why do you think she chose this passage?

2. How familiar were you with the history Santiago provides in the opening section of the novel—El Encuentro/The Encounter: November 19, 1493?

3. Santiago’s first book was the best-selling memoir When I Was Puerto Rican, which told an entirely different sort of history: that of her own journey from Puerto Rico to the United States. Yet Conquistadora also makes the personal historical. How do fact and fiction play off each other in this story? How is reading historical fiction different from reading a nonfiction historical account of a time period?

4. As the book begins, how do you feel about Ana? Is she a likable character? What one word would you use to describe her?

5. What draws Ana to Puerto Rico? What opportunities exist for her there—as a woman of a certain class, a señorita de buena familia—that weren’t available in Spain? What about Severo? What brings him to Puerto Rico, and what is he able to accomplish there that might have been impossible in Spain?

6. How does Ana’s attitude toward slavery, and her own slaves, change over the course of the novel? How does she change in general and why?

7. Discuss Ana’s relationship with Elena. What draws these women together—and what drives them apart? How do their motivations for getting married differ?

8. Why do you think Ana agrees to sleep with both Ramón and Inocente? Does she have a choice in the matter?

9. On page 73, Ana considers a phrase: “We are all a bit of a poet, a bit of a musician, a bit mad, she agreed. But she thought that Severo Fuentes, who could quote Cervantes with uncanny precision, was perhaps the maddest of them all.” Do you agree with Ana about Severo? Why or why not? How are “madness” and a sense of mission linked for Severo, and for Ana?

10. Why does Los Gemelos become so important to Ana? Why won’t she leave—and why would she be willing to go so far as to trade her son for the plantation? Did you understand her motivation for this? Why or why not?

11. Why does Ana refer to her slaves as “nuestra gente” (“our people”)?

12. Discuss the characters of Conciencia and Meri and their relationships with Ana. How does Conciencia function as a conscience for Ana? Why does Ana feel that she must save Meri from her burns? And why do you think Ana is able to act maternally toward her slaves in some ways, but is unable to be a mother to her own son?

13. Why does Severo want Ana as his wife, although it is Consuelo who makes him happy? Do you think he can love these two women at once?

14. What is the significance of the house Severo builds for Ana? Why does he name it El Destino?

15. On page 319, Santiago tells us that, three generations later, Miguel’s paintings would wind up stored in a warehouse and forgotten. How do you think this connects to the larger story of Puerto Rican history, and Ana’s endeavors at Hacienda los Gemelos?

16. Discuss Miguel’s fate. What do you think he would have said to Ana, had he had the chance?

17. As the novel ends, the American Civil War has already begun to change life in Puerto Rico—perhaps especially for the hacienda’s slaves, who are inspired by “el libertador Abrámlincon.” How is the history of slavery in Puerto Rico similar to, or different from, the history of slavery in America? What surprised you most about Santiago’s depiction of the slaves’ daily lives? 

18. How does Conquistadora compare to other postcolonial literature you’ve read—stories that take place in Africa, Asia, and the Americas?

19. Does Ana earn the designation conquistadora? If she were alive today, what do you think she would do for a living?

20. What do you think lies ahead for Ana and Severo? What about Segundo, who will inherit their land and the hacienda? And the slaves at the hacienda?

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 162 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(57)

4 Star

(40)

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(33)

2 Star

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1 Star

(12)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 162 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 23, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Well written and very insightful,

    In Spain, Ana Cubillas dreams of living in Puerto Rico after reading the diaries of her sixteenth century ancestor who accompanied de Leon in the New World. Ana finds a means to cross the Atlantic when she meets twins Ramón and Inocente who inherit jointly a sugar plantation in Puerto Rico. The brothers fall in love with her, but she marries Ramon in 1844. Soon afterward, she persuades the siblings the good life is at their Hacienda Los Gemelos plantation.

    However, the island is not the tropical paradise of her dreams. As the American ideological divide heats up and threatens to boil into the Caribbean, she finds the oppressive heat unbearable and the feral land just outside the hacienda dangerously unwelcoming. Finally Ana is disturbed by the slave labor employed on her Hacienda. Still a romantic at heart, she sacrifices everything for her first and only love Hacienda Los Gemelos.

    The underlying theme of this super mainstream story is similar to Esmeralda Santiago's autobiography When I Was Puerto Rican, which focused on having a foot on the island and one in NYC; this enjoyable tale likewise has a foot in real Puerto Rico and whimsically in Ana's romanticized Puerto Rico. Well written and very insightful, readers will relish this engaging mid ninetieth century look at Puerto Rico (and initially Spain).

    Harriet Klausner

    16 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2011

    I really enjoyed this

    It is a longer story, a plus as far as I'm concerned, (400+/- book pages: 2.5 nook pages per book page.) that is very well thought out. It is not suspensful, as clear foreshadowing allows you to forecast upcoming events, but it is entertaining.

    I kept thinking that I would love to see this as a movie.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 27, 2011

    Left me wanting more...

    Conquistadora would be great for book club discussions, particularly for people who know and appreciate Puerto Rico and its history. It's a quick and interesting read.

    The only negative for me was the sexual content, which sensationalized the characters but took away from the important history being conveyed.

    Nevertheless, I look forward to Esmeralda Santiago's sequel to this historical novel.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2011

    Great read!

    Ana was a true Conquistadora...at all cost. I loved her unforgiven agenda, ambition, tenecity. I found myself routing for her and greatly disliking her in-laws and the society/culture that defined them. But by the end of the book I found my emotions turned upside down, as Ana's selfishness took over her life and mine as I could not turn the pages fast enough. Santiago played with those emotions just like Ana contolled the lives at Hacienda los Gemelos. Many of the cultural idiosycracies described in the book about men, women, and their environment are still visible in 2011 Puerto Rico. A true work of art!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 25, 2011

    Wonderful

    I loved this book. The strength of women against a harsh environment and the success of an individual. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves historical fiction.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 1, 2012

    Page-turning

    In some ways predictable, but nonetheless enjoyable, this is a sweeping "emigrating to the new world" saga of a woman pursuing her dream (sometimes for, some times in spite of her loved ones... reminiscent of Scarlett O'Hara)

    While I wouldn't qualify this as an icon of literature, and the author made some odd choices, it was still a very enjoyable escapist novel, that swept me up in the story and characters, and kept me lost in its world until the last page, which left me scope to imagine how the story might continue... Especially as I read much of it overlooking the same warm Caribbean waters and similar fields of sugar cane in which the bulk of the novel is set.

    Well worth a read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 2, 2012

    I couldn't put this one down

    I really, really enjoyed this book. I did not expect to like it as much as I did. On my Nook, this was 415 pages and I enjoyed each page. The writing was really good and the story was very interesting. Each character was so interesting. There was much to admire in the book's characters but also much to depise. This would be a perfect book club book becaue after finishing reading it I can just imagine the differences in opinions that readers would have about each of the characters. Besides being a great story this book touched so many issues such as social class, slavery, the role of a woman, infidelity, etc. I highly recommend this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 12, 2012

    Exceeds expectations...

    This novel, although different from cannon latino-lit, embodies struggle, the spirit of perseverence, a question of identity, feminism, and magical realism. It is compared to Gone With The Wind... but is quite different. As in much of her work, the author is amazingly descriptive of the natural beauty an hardship of la isla. The protagonist is, much like Scarlet, meant to be both admired and dispised. The comentary on Puerto Rican slavery and other politics of the time-period is well-done. Many of the characters are interesting, but I admire her use of language more than anything. I would deffinately recomend reading this, I certianly plan on reading it in Spanish soon myself.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2012

    I enjoyed this Powerful

    Could not put this book down

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2012

    I have a Love/Hate Relationship with the Book

    Very well-written, exciting page-turner. I have a love/hate relationship with almost every character. Santiago does a great job demostrating the good and evil within each of the characters, allowing you to admire them for certain attributes and despise them for others.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2012

    Conquistadora me conquisto

    Intersting story which brings you through the development of the lovely isla del encanto

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2011

    No

    In spanish

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 19, 2011

    Highly recommended

    I chose this book based on reviews I saw here as well as a recent magazine book review. I very much enjoyed learning about the culture and history of Puerto Rico as well as well as following the trials, tragedies and triumphs of a young girl into her womanhood, making unpopular choices and following her dream. I look forward to reading other books, especially a sequel to this book, by this author.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 14, 2011

    Very good read!

    I really enjoyed this book. As a Puerto Rican women it made me embrace more my culture and my ancestry. A must read for every Puertorican daughter. It made me want to know more about my family tree. Called my 90 year old grandmother, and talked about her life experiences , while growing up the island of Puerto Rico. This was priceless ! Wish there were more book choices available in the Nook from Esmeralda Santiago and Isabel Allende.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2014

    Highly recommended.

    Highly recommended.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 23, 2012

    Enjoyed

    A good read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2012

    WORSt Book ever

    Gffggxf%-/ hcvghtkxyctbr

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 8, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 11, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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