Alvarado immerses the reader into revolutionary Costa Rica, as Bertelina becomes involved in the revolution, filled with the promise of equality for women. Alvarado depicts with persuasive power the struggle of the country’s women in the 1930s. He highlights how women had little choice about furthering their educations or even voting while deftly exposing the paradox of Bertelina’s quest for equality resulting in her rape and forced marriage to Oscar, who continued to abuse her throughout their marriage.
As Alvarado fast-forwards to present-day California, he capably exposes the tragic circumstances of Bertelina’s life as she fails to understand the impact of her dementia, while also being faced with the difficult diagnosis of terminal cancer. The culmination of the novel, which is its true apex, occurs when the author brings his story full circle, as the woman who spent a good portion of her life working to make her circumstances better for her and her children discovers fulfillment in her final moments, while surrounded by her caring children who symbolize one of her greatest achievements.
Takeaway: A striking historical novel of women and the Costa Rican revolution.
Great for fans of: Gabriela Garcia's Of Women and Salt, Deb Olin Unferth’s Revolution: The Year I Fell in Love and Went to Join the War.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A