Thursday, November 14, 2013

REVIEW: The Divine Husband

The Divine Husband
By Francisco Goldman

Genre: Historical Fiction, Literature
Year published: 2005
Pages: 500

Date read: 29 September 2012

Summary: One of the most talented and award-winning writers of his generation, Francisco Goldman's third novel, The Divine Husband, appeared to wide and rapturous acclaim.  Beginning with a single, possibly scandalous love poem by Jose Marti, Cuba's greatest revolutionary-poet-hero with an infamous secret love life, The Divine Husband is the story of Maria de las Nieves Moran, a former nun forced out of her convent by a revolution in a Central American capital.  While making her way in this metropolis nicknamed "The Little Paris," she enrolls in a writing class taught by Jose Marti, under whose spell Maria de las Nieves and her classmates quickly fall.  Soon after, Maria de las Nieves flees her home for New York, where Marti has also relocated - a crucial interval that shaped Marti's consciousness.  Nearly a century later, an elderly woman in Massachusetts hires a college student to investigate her claim that she is the illegitimate offspring of Marti and Maria de las Nieves.  Mixing a lovingly re-created historical past with often hilarious, ironic and moving conjecture that brings to life an unforgettable heroine and her remarkable collection of friends, nemeses and rival suitors, The Divine Husband is a magnificent American novel.

My thoughts:

It really upsets me looking at the reviews that people have put on Amazon and Goodreads for this.  So many people just did not get the story and it saddens me all that they missed.  I will warn you, though, that the first couple of chapters can be a bit off-putting because, for me, it was hard to get into at first.  I can't give up on a book.  It is impossible.  I merely take a break, putting it on my bedside table so that I can pick it up again in a few days or weeks and begin again.  I am so glad that I did it with this one.

I truly believe that books speak to you, a lot of times in ways that the author least expected, and this was one of those books.  There are so many things that were written in this book that made me think, really think, about life in general and specific events that have happened over my lifetime.

The story follows a young woman from a convent when she is really young, through her adult life, showing her relationship with God, her best friend, the man that she falls in love with that she can not have and, later in life, her young daughter.  

A beautifully written book that will remain one of my favorites and one that I will definitely be picking up again to read in the future.

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