Ermey excels at integrating historical events into the story, with chilling depictions of the torture endured by Mirta, and she capably depicts the subservience of Argentinian women to their husbands during the 1970s. Her depiction of Argentina’s Dirty War and the corruption of government and church officials is revealing and devastating. Also engaging is her handling of the novel’s surprising connection: after Julia helps the DeSalvos escape Argentina to live in California, the couple agree to work for her as caretakers. Julia, who is pregnant, eventually asks them to adopt her unborn daughter, with the provision that they never disclose that she is the birth mother. Alberto and Mirta readily agree, naming the baby Francesca.
Yet it’s Ermey’s attention to the dynamics between her characters, especially between Mirta and Francesca, that will resonate most with readers, especially as Francesca becomes an adult, has an opportunity to connect with Julia, and begins to compare Mirta to Julia. Anyone who can relate to the intricacies of family bonds across generations and the love and sacrifices that children can discover their parents have made will appreciate this engaging, empathetic read.
Takeaway: A moving novel in which an Argentinian couple escapes tragic loss to start over in California.
Great for fans of: Daniel Loedel’s Hades, Argentina, Ellen Keith’s The Dutch Wife.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A