I married the first Nicaraguan I’d ever met. A year later, I gave birth to our Greekaraguan daughter. Four years after that, we had a double whammy of an excitig year: first, our son was born in April, 2015. Then, almost five years to the day after we got engaged, we welcomed another product of our union: my upcoming novel The Ladies of Managua, which was published in May, 2015 by St. Martin’s Press.
The book follows three generations of women, each with her own secret, as they explore their intense relationships to each other, and to their homeland, Nicaragua. Here’s the official description:
When Maria Vazquez returns to Nicaragua for her beloved grandfather’s funeral, she brings with her a mysterious package from her grandmother’s past—and a secret of her own. And she also carries the burden of her tense relationship with her mother Ninexin, once a storied revolutionary, now a tireless government employee. Between Maria and Ninexin lies a chasm created by the death of Maria’s father, who was killed during the revolution when Maria was an infant, leaving her to be raised by her grandmother Isabela as Ninexin worked to build the new Nicaragua. While Ninexin tries to reach her daughter, Maria wrestles with her expectations for her romance with an older man. In the meantime, Isabela, the mourning widow, is consumed by her memories of attending boarding school in 1950’s New Orleans, where she loved and lost almost sixty years ago. When the three women come together to bid farewell to the man who anchored their family, they are forced to confront their complicated, passionate relationships with each other and with their country—and to reveal the secrets that each of them has worked to conceal. Lushly evocative of Nicaragua, its tumultuous history, and vibrant present, The Ladies of Managua brings you into the lives of three strong and magnetic women, as they uncover the ramifications of the choices they made in their pasts and begin to understand the ways in which love can shape their futures.
I wrote the first draft of the book over the course of seven magical (and quasi-magical-realist) months during which Emilio, Amalía, and I lived in Granada, Nicaragua, while he completed a project for his work as a coffee trader. We had parrots and turtles in the yard, horse-and-carriages and religious parades in the streets, angels in the architecture, and that elusive but essential element required by so many writers: affordable, incredible child care. Inspired by the scenery (and the scandalous past of Emilio’s grandmother), I felt compelled to tell the stories of the three main characters, each speaking in her own voice. I also traveled the country in the course of my research, discovering for myself why it’s such an up-and-coming travel destination.
Long story short, I fell in love with the country as I had with the man. And I learned for myself one of the lessons the ladies of Managua discover: love doesn’t subtract, it multiplies.
For some images of Nicaragua (as well as a few other destinations described in the book, such as New York and New Orleans), watch this 3 minute video of Scenes from The Ladies of Managua.
Reviews for The Ladies of Managua
Advance Praise for The Ladies of Managua
“This novel is a work of fiction that is, at its core, very real, full of vivid descriptions of a place I know intimately: the archipelago of Solentiname. I recommend it highly.” —Ernesto Cardenal, nominee for the Nobel Prize in Literature