"Would she ever be able to be near her again without wanting to tear her long hair in a fight for the unworthy man? She wondered if Conchita hated her, also."

Strength of character does not come naturally to a person. Rather, it is forged in the furnace of adversity and shaped by how an individual chooses to react to what he or she encounters there. In a novel set in a small Peruvian town sometime before the advent of modern conveniences, the author spins a heart-wrenching tale of infatuation, infidelity, remorse, and recovery that celebrates the tenacity of the human spirit.

Ishi is a fifteen-year-old who thinks the handsome young Spaniard, Amador Flores, is the only man she can ever love. Despite the refusal of her father to allow Amador to marry her and choosing not to believe the negative rumors about the one she desires, she elopes with him. That fateful decision creates ripples that profoundly affect the lives of her family and friends. Her traditionally minded father disinherits her, causing a rift between Ishi's parents and heartache for all three members of the family. Her childhood friend, Pablo, who loves her deeply, ends up instead being tricked into a marriage with a girl he dislikes now that he is not Ishi's intended. And her cousin, Conchita, whose affair with the womanizing Amador results in a birth out of wedlock, succumbs to a guilt that causes her to abandon family and home to become a nun in penance for her actions. Yet through it all Ishi remains strong, making the decision to not be crushed by the circumstances she has unwittingly brought upon herself by marrying Amador but to instead survive and thrive.

Marting's book powerfully shows how character and determination can overcome seemingly impossible odds. This, combined with a wealth of material illuminating Peruvian culture, makes her novel an interesting read.

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