In 1932 El Salvador, Elena de Contreras and her husband Ernesto live the luxurious life of the very wealthy: regular trips to Europe and the United States, vast amounts of property, several gorgeous homes. In sharp contrast to their privileged existence, however, are the lives of the coffee workers they employ, who know only the hardships of back-breaking labor and low wages. Mercedes Prieto, a Pipil Indian, comes from such a background. After losing her son and husband in the aftermath of a violent uprising against rich plantation owners, she flees with her daughter Jacinta to work in the household of Elena de Contreras. Their arrival sets in motion a spellbinding story that takes three generations to unfold, as the two families become inexorably intertwined and their private turmoil mirrors the upheaval of the world around them.
This rich and bewitching story is a bittersweet portrait of the people in Santiago, a Mexican village by the sea. Chayo, the flower seller, and her husband Candelario, the salad maker, are finally blessed with the child they thought they would never have.<P><P> Their cause for happiness, however, triggers a chain of events that impact the lives of everyone in their world. <P> The hopes, triumphs, failures, and shortcomings of the novel's enchanting array of characters create a graceful picture of life that is both a universal portrait and an insider's look at life in Latin America.
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