{Bookshelf} In the Time of Butterflies

by Leighann on May 25, 2011

In the Time of the Butterflies

by Julia Alvarez (audiobook)

Time of Butterflies Book

About the Book

“It is November 25, 1960, and three beautiful sisters have been found near their wrecked Jeep at the bottom of a 150-foot cliff on the north coast of the Dominican Republic. The official state newspaper reports their deaths as accidental. It does not mention that a fourth sister lives. Nor does it explain that the sisters were among the leading opponents of Gen. Rafael Leonidas Trujillo’s dictatorship. It doesn’t have to. Everybody knows of Las Mariposas—“The Butterflies.” In this extraordinary novel, the voices of all four sisters—Minerva, Patria, María Teresa, and the survivor, Dedé—speak across the decades to tell their own stories, from hair ribbons and secret crushes to gunrunning and prison torture, and to describe the everyday horrors of life under Trujillo’s rule. Through the art and magic of Julia Alvarez’s imagination, the martyred Butterflies live again in this novel of courage and love, and the human cost of political oppression.”

My Thoughts

As with several of the other books that I have listened to on audiobook, this is one that is fantastic to listen to. I am not a Spanish speaker and I would have surely mangled the names of the characters and places. A different woman narrates each character, bringing them to life.

Though the four main characters–Minerva, Patria, María Teresa, and Dedé–are real, Julia Alvarez uses some facts from their lives as a framework for a story of what their lives might have been like growing up in the oppressed Dominican Republic and the events that lead up to the death of three of the four sisters.

Alvarez leads on us a journey beginning in the girls’ youth as they each leave home to go to parochial school. It is at this school where some of the sisters first become political through meeting a schoolmate who’s family is murdered by Trujillo’s men. They see another schoolmate become a victim of Trujillo when she is wisked away to be one of his kept women.

As the years pass, the girls each gain an education, fall in love, marry, and have children at the same time being spied upon by Trujillo’s men who lurk in their gardens. Though not all of the sisters make a conscious effort of dissension, they can’t help but be dragged in, forced to fight for the rights of their husbands and children.

This is an engaging tale of four women who helped with the revolution in the Dominican Republic.

Purchase In the Time of Butterflies by Julia Alvarez from my affiliate Amazon.

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Links to bookstores are affiliate links and are provided so that you can find the books easily. I personally utilize the public library quite a bit, especially for audiobooks and fiction. Please read the disclosure statement regarding affiliate links. Book descriptions are taken directly from the book or from online sources.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Amy May 25, 2011 at 4:05 pm

Hunger Games Series (3 books)
Any book by Elizabeth Berg
The Alchemist – Paul Coehlo
Tallgrass – Sandra Dallas
Prayers for Sale – Sandra Dallas
The boy who fell out of the Sky – Ken Dornstein
Eat Pray Love – Elizabeth Gilbert
Water for Elephants – Sara Gruen
Mother of Pearl – Melinda Haynes
Any book by Barbara Kingsolver
The Mermaid chair and Secret Life of Bees – Sue Monk Kidd
Any Book by Anna Quindlen
Any Book by Alice Sebold
Jodi Picoult is okay – the books start sounding all the same 😉
Most books by Anne River Siddon

There! That ought to keep you well read 😉


2 Leighann May 25, 2011 at 4:37 pm

Ooh, thanks for all of the recommendations!

Love Barbara Kingsolver and just read Water for Elephants.


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