Contrary to what many reviewers have said here, this book is neither trashy nor badly written. Nonetheless, I DESPISE the characters of Ana and Severo Fuentes. What a cold-hearted Witch (change W for B) that Ana was. She never loved her son, was perfectly OK not seeing him for so many years and even though she did not abuse her slaves or workers like Severo, she did not fully acknowledge them as human beings either. Rarely I read a book where I have no sympathy for the characters and this book is the exception. I felt ZERO sympathy for any of the characters, the only one I came close to liking was Miguel, but that sympathy vanished the minute he left for Europe and decided not to stand up for his beliefs and try and free the slaves in his mother's hacienda like he had initially planned.
I am from Puerto Rico and one thing that truly annoyed me about this writer was her portrayal of the JIBAROS. These were humble mountain dwelling people. She portrayed them as lazy people who had nothing better to do but drink and play cock fights. Thank you Esmeralda for further reinforcing the negative stereotypes of Puerto Ricans.
Ms. Santiago left Puerto Rico at a very early age, perhaps I'm wrong but I perceive she has a more "American" mentality than those of us who are Islanders. I am an islander and I see a huge difference between those raised in the States (especially NY) and those of us from the island. I would prefer to read a book about Puerto Rico from someone that was raised in the island and has a better understanding of our history. ”