Life changes drastically for Lyana Lagos and her family on Carnival Day - February 27, 1952 - when her father, Luis, a prominent lawyer, along with other dissidents, plan the assassination of Dominican Republic dictator Rafael Trujillo. When their plan is discovered, Luis Lagos rushes to his home just in time to rescue his wife and two children from Trujillo's militia. Speeding away from their home as gunshots permeate their family car, they flee to Haiti. With the help of a good friend, the Lagos family travels to New York City and moves into a tiny apartment in Hell's Kitchen, a neighborhood riddled with gang violence.
Upon their arrival in the Big Apple, Lyana's father takes a job as a lowly dishwasher while the family tries to adapt to their new lives. Lyana eloquently narrates how her father quickly moves up the ranks in the restaurant business, and how she grows up and embraces the tempations of the Beat Generation, carefree hippie movement, Vietnam War, and the Women's Liberation Movement. But the influences of these dynamic times threaten to rip apart the Lagos family fabric.
Throughout their American journey, the Lagos family experiences alienation, not only as people living in a new country, but also within the confines of their own clan. Lyana helps her brother keep his darkest secret from their parents and stands by him when it is finally exposed. Through it all - the unrealistic and antiquated family expectations and unanticipated loss of a great love - Lyana defies all the odds and remains true to herself.
Yocasta Fareri, born in the Dominican Republic, is an internationally known interior designer and freelance writer. She grew up in the United States and Canada and now resides in Switzerland.