In 1959 Cuba, Natalia San Martín was nothing short of a princess: sheltered, pampered, and courted by her very own prince, a childhood friend turned lifelong love. All that changed on the fateful New Year's Eve when Fidel Castro and his followers seized control of the country, with tragic consequences for not only the island, but Natalia herself.
Five years later, in 1960s New York, she’s known as Natalie Martin—living a life that’s bleak, but thankfully anonymous. However, when the enigmatic Jack Roemer offers her a job writing the memoir of a starlet on the brink of self-destruction, she sees not only opportunity, but unexpected echoes of a fairytale long forgotten.
As she knows all too well, however, the prettiest façade can hide the ugliest of truths—and peeling back the layers of someone else’s past forces Natalie to confront her own.
"Beautiful, precise language is plentiful throughout Ferrer's latest. Her brilliant storytelling, with its vibrant description and dialogue, will touch the hearts of readers." —RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars
"Ferrer has created a story that’s breathtaking in its scope, and a heroine whose strength will leave readers in awe." —Publishers Weekly Starred Review
Political and cultural turmoil in the U.S. and Cuba at the dawn of the 1960s sets the stage for Ferrer's deeply introspective romance. Natalia San Martin is Cuban royalty until the reign of Fidel Castro begins. In the last few hours of her teen years, she loses everything she's ever known, including her husband. After fleeing to the U.S. with her family, Natalia (calling herself Natalie to hide her Cuban roots) pours herself into work in order to help her parents, brother, and grandmother. When the opportunity for a startling change presents itself in the form of inveterate white knight Jack Roemer, Natalia takes the first steps toward becoming truly alive, not simply existing. Loving attention to sensory detail enhances this lush portrayal of a joyful, painful, complicated life. Traumatic events and shameful taboos are explored and embraced with the same joy as other, triumphant aspects of the story. Though the novel certainly has romantic elements, they primarily support a deep, rich, and wholly accessible exploration of many kinds of love and loss. Ferrer (Both Sides Now) has created a story that's breathtaking in its scope, and a heroine whose strength will leave readers in awe.