This is a story about Isabel and Quintin and the history of a nation (Puerto Rico), the history and secrets of a family which slowly get uncovered through the writings of Isabel.
Set at a time when feelings of growing nationalism and independence are rampant, we have a family on the one side trying to cling to their original Spanish roots, maintaining the purity of their ancestry and bloodlines (very important to the old families), no mixing with other races and mixed breeding and trying to also maintain their old way of life amidst big changes.
There are two distinct dialogues throughout the story - one told from Isabel's side and one from Quintin. Both see the same situation from different points of view - their interpretations of past events are contradictory to each other though both think their point of view is the correct one. Quintin does not like the actual setting out of facts as it happened as he feels it puts his ancestors and family in a poor light whereas Isabel is only concerned about facts and figures not about the effect it would have on people long dead.
The book gives you an insight into Puerto Rican history and how the nation came about. Very descriptively written the writer herself Puerto Rican brings out the beauty of this state very well. My first read of this author with its distinct tones of poetry in the language used but not flowery or over the top. Beautifully done.