The Puerto Rico I Know and Love

The fall 2014 launch of my historical novel, A Decent Woman, is right around the corner! With the book launch in mind, I am excited to share  blog posts on topics that relate to my main characters, the midwife Ana Belén and young socialite Serafina Martinez, and of course, the setting of the story-the colonial city of Ponce on the island of Puerto Rico.

I am excited to introduce you to the Puerto Rico I know and love, and share some of the reasons Puerto Rico is called la isla del encanto, meaning the island of enchantment.

A Decent Woman was birthed by family stories, old yarns and local lore told to me since I was a young girl. I interviewed my maternal grandmother, my mother, and my aunt (all born in Ponce) who, for hours, patiently retold the stories over family meals. I spoke with healers, a curandero (folk healer), a psychic in Puerto Rico and a medium in the Dominican Republic who helped me to better understand the fascinating and sometimes, difficult lives of healers, mystics and those who communicate with spirits in the spirit world. My protagonist, the Afro-Cuban midwife Ana Belén, grew up a slave in Cuba with the Yoruba traditions of her ancestors, so I paid good attention.

Topics include:

the history of Puerto Rico 1899-1925

The history of Ponce and Barrio Playa de Ponce

midwifery practices at the turn of the century

healing practices and superstitions

women’s issues at the turn of the century

the sometimes blurred lines between spiritism, religion, and the Lukumí religion (also known as Santería) on the island

slavery in the sugar trade in the Caribbean

typical foods, flora and fauna of Puerto Rico

music and dance from the Barrios of San Antón and Bélgica in Ponce

Hurricanes San Ciriaco and San Felipe II

I hope you will join me on this journey and enjoy discovering the Puerto Rico I know and love.

Thank you for your visit!

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