Our Lady of the Night

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Overview

The epic story of the complex, sensual, tragic, and remarkable life of a legendary Puerto Rican madam

Born into poverty and then abandoned by her mother, Isabel "La Negra" Luberza blossoms into a supremely sensual young woman. Obsessed with attaining aristocratic status—armed with incredible physical presence, indomitable ambition, and keen intelligence—she meets Fernando Fornarís, the man who will forever change her life. With a parcel of land given to her by her rich, white ...

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Our Lady of the Night

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Overview

The epic story of the complex, sensual, tragic, and remarkable life of a legendary Puerto Rican madam

Born into poverty and then abandoned by her mother, Isabel "La Negra" Luberza blossoms into a supremely sensual young woman. Obsessed with attaining aristocratic status—armed with incredible physical presence, indomitable ambition, and keen intelligence—she meets Fernando Fornarís, the man who will forever change her life. With a parcel of land given to her by her rich, white married lover, Isabel transforms herself into a hard-edged and merciless businesswoman—abandoning her own newborn son to become Puerto Rico's most feared and respected madam, a collector of society's secrets, a queen of the notorious brothel that emerges as the island's true political and economic heart.

Set against the rich backdrop of the Caribbean and the United States during the tumultuous years of World War II, Mayra Santos-Febres's Our Lady of the Night is a breathtaking novel of passion, power, and the devastating price of achieving everything one wishes for.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Set in the early- to mid-20th century, the latest from Santos-Febres (Sirena Selena) brings to life the story of Isabel “La Negra” Luberza Oppenheimer, Puerto Rico's most infamous madam and owner of Elizabeth's Dancing Place. The daughter of a migrant worker, Isabel is abandoned as a baby and raised by a kindly godmother until her early teenage years, when she is sent to work as a servant for a local aristocratic family. Later, she becomes entangled with prominent bachelor Fernando Fornarís, and things heat up: a pregnancy, her foray into selling black market booze and an expansion into becoming “not a madam, an emancipated woman” at a very steep cost. A complicated look into the notorious woman's struggle for a liberated and independent life, the book takes a boldly feminist stance that, thankfully, is not a woeful account of maternal guilt. The style can be heavy-handed, but Isabel remains, to her tragic end, a marvelously constructed character. (Aug.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061731303
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/11/2009
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Mayra Santos-Febres has won many prizes for her stories and was recently awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship and long-listed for the prestigious IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. She lives in Puerto Rico.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Not Up to Par

    Upon my first attempt at reading the novel, I stopped nearly after approximately 20 pages or so. The writing style took some time to become accustomed to as it frequently shifted back from the present to the past, at times, without warning. However, I continued to read it and found that in a way, the reader grows with the character. You are forced to feel a wide array of sentiments for all the characters although their actions may not have been the best in terms of morality. The setting is mainly in Puerto Rico and it was a bit upsetting to read Puerto Rican literature as the main character, Isabel, continued to make poor decisions. I would have much rather the main character be empowering with values and despite the fact that she might have been led astray, she would have returned to her optimistic views which included morals. I, as the reader, felt that Puerto Rican women as a whole were portrayed poorly. However, if anything, this novel diplays what occurs when you do not put your knowledge to good use as Isabel was a bright woman who did not utilize her intellectual ability well.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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