In the vein of Isabel Allende and Gabriel Garcia Marquez, a mesmerizing debut set against the backdrop of the devastating violence of 1990’s Colombia about a sheltered young girl and a teenage maid who strike an unlikely friendship that threatens to undo them both
The Santiago family lives in a gated community in Bogotá, safe from the political upheaval terrorizing the country. Seven-year-old Chula and her older sister Cassandra enjoy carefree lives thanks to this protective bubble, but the threat of kidnappings, car bombs, and assassinations hover just outside the neighborhood walls, where the godlike drug lord Pablo Escobar continues to elude authorities and capture the attention of the nation.
When their mother hires Petrona, a live-in-maid from the city’s guerrilla-occupied slum, Chula makes it her mission to understand Petrona’s mysterious ways. But Petrona’s unusual behavior belies more than shyness. She is a young woman crumbling under the burden of providing for her family as the rip tide of first love pulls her in the opposite direction. As both girls’ families scramble to maintain stability amidst the rapidly escalating conflict, Petrona and Chula find themselves entangled in a web of secrecy that will force them both to choose between sacrifice and betrayal.
Inspired by the author’s own life, and told through the alternating perspectives of the willful Chula and the achingly hopeful Petrona, Fruit of the Drunken Tree contrasts two very different, but inextricable coming-of-age stories. In lush prose, Rojas Contreras sheds light on the impossible choices women are often forced to make in the face of violence and the unexpected connections that can blossom out of desperation. (From Goodreads)
Thank you Doubleday Books #Partner for the free copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
I rate this book a 4 out of 5 Stars.
This book, was beautiful, this book was heart wrenching. Witnessing the friendship of Chula and Petrona is something incredible to witness. The stark difference between both girls worlds, is enough to make you read on, to see how this friendship is going to blossom and move forward.
I have never read a book based in Columbia, nor have I read anything based on Pablo Escobar. I have ever seen a ton of documentaries, and that is not someone I’d have to answer to. Though I’ve never been to Columbia, after reading this book, and how vivid of a picture is painted of the area, I feel like I have been there. I found the writing to be very descriptive, and imaginative. So while it’s not a typical read for me, I still rather enjoyed this story.
This is a very powerful story, based on family, values, violence, money, power, politics, friendship, love, it’s everything really. Wrapped up into one evocative read.
This book is out July 31st. I will include helpful links below.