The Villa Marini

Gloria Montero, Author Ecco Press $23 (309p) ISBN 978-0-88001-577-6
Daily life on a sugarcane plantation, the pioneer experience in Australia and that country's history and politics come together in this impressive debut about Cuban immigrants in Australia at the turn of the century. Young Marini Grau and her father arrive on the coast of North Queensland carrying few possessions other than the fateful Guillarmina--a ship's figurehead carved in the likeness of Marini's beautiful, troubled mother. After her father dies in a farming accident, Marini takes over his small cane plantation and grows into a ruthless, determined businesswoman. Vivid descriptions of daily activities on the Grau plantation, the northern outback and the people who inhabit it provide insight into the social climate of the time. When Marini marries an Irishman and has a son, the tapestry's loose threads come satisfyingly together; the plantation thrives, people drift in and out of each other's lives, love builds and fades, world war intervenes and, ultimately, the curse that Marini's mother suffered returns to disrupt the family that Marini has made for herself. With beautiful imagery and a steady pace, Montero creates a slightly magical world, populated by haunted and haunting characters. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1997
Release date: 09/01/1997
Hardcover - 412 pages - 978-0-7089-3929-1
Paperback - 309 pages - 978-0-88001-609-4
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