The Moonlit Vine
Santiago’s debut is a beautiful ode to Puerto Rican history, helmed by a curious protagonist seeking knowledge of her heritage. Named for the island’s Taíno people, whose lives and culture shaped what Puerto Rico is today, Taína Perez has always wanted to know more about the meaning behind her name. Unfortunately, her anxiety over several stressful family situations leaves her with little time to research her background. Though only 14, Taína has been tasked with taking care of her grandmother while her mother works long hours to keep the family afloat, and her brother, who recently got into serious trouble, is no longer home. It’s Abuela who jumpstarts Taína’s familial investigation by revealing the astonishing fact that Taína is a descendant of Anacaona, a Taíno poet, warrior, and tribal leader brutally killed by conquistadores in 1503. Readers will be fully invested in Taína’s story as she discovers that her family tree is deeply rooted in magic as well as the island’s painful colonial history. Santiago’s writing sparkles, even as it draws upon hard realities that Puerto Ricans can face in their everyday lives and sense of cultural identity. Filled with arresting prose and historical stories, this novel brings Puerto Rican history into the present, mixing in realistic themes to which most readers will relate. The Spanish edition (Claro de luna) publishes simultaneously.
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