When Malena Sevilla's tidy, carefully planned world collapses following her father’s mysterious suicide, she finds a lettersigned with an “A”that reveals that her mother, who she thought dead, is very much alive in San Isidro, a quaint town tucked in the Andes Mountains. Intent on meeting her, Malena arrives at Alameda Street and meets four sisters who couldn’t be more different from one another, but who share one thing in common: all of their names begin with an A.
To avoid a scandal, Malena assumes another woman’s identity and enters their home to discover the truth. Could her mother be Amanda, the iconoclastic widow who opens the first tango nightclub in a conservative town? Ana, the ideal housewife with a less-than-ideal past? Abigail, the sickly sister in love with a forbidden man? Or Alejandra, the artistic introvert scarred by her cousin’s murder? But living a lie will bring Malena additional problems, such as falling for the wrong man and loving a family she may lose when they learn of her deceit. Worse, her arrival threatens to expose long-buried secrets and a truth that may wreck her life forever.
Set in 1960s Ecuador, The Sisters of Alameda Street is a sweeping story of how one woman’s search for the truth of her identity forces a family to confront their own past.
|Product dimensions:||6.20(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.30(d)|
About the Author
Lorena Hughes was born and raised in Ecuador until moving to the United States at eighteen. Her first unpublished novel, The Black Letter , took first place in the 2011 Southwest Writers International Writing Contest (historical fiction category), and an honorable mention at the 2012 Soul-Making Keats Literary Competition. She lives in New Mexico.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Engaging and heartfelt
Great world-building on the author's part as I felt I was right there in the thick of the story. Reading this book took me away to another culture and time, and I learned a good deal as I read. I enjoyed reading it with its sharply drawn characters and well-crafted sentences. The story starts off with a simple enough concept. Malena, a young woman in Ecuador in 1962, sets out to find her biological mother--a woman she had believed long dead until she found a hidden letter in her late father's things. Malena has an address from the letter, but the only identifying information on her biological mother is that her name started with the letter A. But when she arrives at the address, she finds three sisters living there and all of their names start with A. Any one of them could be her mother. Soon Malena learns there was a 4th sister, also with a name beginning with A, but she has died--though the circumstances are hidden from the reader and from Malena at first. Soon after arriving, Malena takes advantage of a mistaken identity to move into the house with the three surviving sisters, and other family members. Soon she is sharing a room with a young woman who could be her half-sister, or a first cousin. Malena bonds quickly with the matriarch of the family, an older woman Malena accepts as being her biological grandmother. And from there, the book evolves into rich, multi-layered stories of the women and their men. Though it starts with a simple concept, "The Sisters of Alameda Street" is a complex story, but author Lorena Hughes composes it all with amazing smoothness. The story-telling in this book is very skilled and flows with a natural pacing, even as the plot lines become more and more complicated and interwoven. All in all, it's a delightful story. Though not a genre who-done-it mystery, it contains an element of suspense and an aura of mystery. The sisters are amazingly well-drawn characters, each quite different and each capable of supporting a story. Malena is equally intriguing as a character, and her sliding into a fake identity is written with enough skill to avoid any sense of the contrived. Hughes pulls it all off with grace--and a definite, though sly and often subtle, sense of humor. Lorena Hughes is talented, and I'll be on the look out for her next book.
A quaint little village in the Andean mountains of Ecuador, a fine organized home where everybody leads traditional lives ruled by moral and religion, and three unfulfilled women condemned to atone forever for past mistakes. Then, in comes the stranger, Malena Sevilla, who pretends to be the daughter of an old acquaintance of the family. The faked identity will help her sleuth around freely. She has come with a mission that will drag skeletons out of closets as the identity of Malena’s biological mother comes to light. I don’t know what enthralled me most about this book: the four sisters from the title (there is a fourth sister, long dead, but who also plays her part in this story) or the atypical setting. Lorena Hughes has managed to combine taut domestic drama with gothic suspense. She seems quite familiar with the geography and culture she describes. Although splashes of humor pop here and there, this is a moving story that shows us the dangers of growing up female in a patriarchal mid-twentieth century world. The Sisters of Alameda Street is not your usual romance novel. Don’t search for uplifting sentimentality in it. Although we get to know The Platas Sisters’ romantic secrets— as well as Malena’s growing feelings for her cousin/ sister’s fiancée—the book tells us that love is never easy for women bound by conventions. I am a character-oriented reader, and this novel did not disappoint me in that aspect. I confess that there were moments when I stopped caring about Malena, so wrapped up was I in the plights of her mother and aunts. I particularly loved Alejandra, the jewel designer, who dresses as a man to forget the burdens her sex has brought upon her, and Amanda, married to the wrong man, who finds in tango- dancing a way to sublimate her passions. I enjoyed this novel tremendously and recommend it wholeheartedly.
A family saga filled with strong, resilient women. Please note: I received an advanced reader's copy of this book from Edelweiss in exchange for an hones review. This did not influence the opinions of my review in any way. My grandmother came from Mexico to America as a child. While she spoke fluent English, one of her favorite pastimes was watching telenovenas (Spanish language soap operas). We weren't allowed to call Grandma or disturb her in any way when her favorite show was on. She was addicted! The Sisters Of Alameda, by Lorena Hughes shows why! This was a highly entertaining book of the improbably complex love lives of four sisters. With a cast of fascinating women, I was hooked as well. What I Liked: Characters: The main character, Malena, is determined to solve the mystery of who her mother is. She knows that her mother's first name starts with an "A", and that she is a member of the Platas family. The only problem is that there are four daughters, all with names that start with "A"! I thought Malena was kind of reckless, but she also had been lied to by everyone she loved, so I think she felt like she had nothing to lose. There are four sisters, Ana, Amanda, Alejandra, and Abigal. And, just like a soap opera, each character has their own tragic love life! While each has their own story, I think what they had in common was a desire for a great love. When each realizes they are with the wrong person, they try to change their situations. Plot: Each of the women in the story feel the need to conform to the norms of their times, which would mean finding a nice man, getting married, and having lots of babies. Some of them jump into relationships where they think they are going to be taken care of, only to find a reality where they are stuck. There are many twists and turns in this story, with lots of flashbacks to when the sisters were younger. I think the author did a great job of taking many different stories and molding them into a intriguing family saga. What I Was Mixed About: Missed Opportunity: I wish the author would have done more to explore why the sisters felt so obligated to follow a traditional path. Was it a strong sense of Catholic guilt, or was it due to living in a small town filled with narrow-minded people? I think I would have been more emotionally invested if I understood why the women felt so stuck. Confusing Plot: There are at least five different plot lines happening in this book. As much as I get that it was important to have all the sisters names start with "A", it was hard to keep each character straight (particularly at the beginning of the book). A family tree, or some other kind of visual, would have been great for a reference. What I Didn't Like: I think the idea that Malena could dupe an entire family into thinking that she was someone else (for weeks) was over the top. This is one of those times where I really struggled with the "suspension of disbelief" that one must employ when reading a book. Nevertheless, I found the resilience of the characters to be endearing. I thought this showed the chaos, and abundant love of a large family all living together. If you like family sagas, this story will carry you away.