The Mango Bride
Author: Marivi Soliven
Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: NAL Trade (April 30, 2013)
Two women, two cultures, and the fight to find a new life in America, despite the secrets of the past…
Banished by her wealthy Filipino family in Manila, Amparo Guerrero travels to Oakland, California, to forge a new life. Although her mother labels her life in exile a diminished one, Amparo believes her struggles are a small price to pay for freedom.
Like Amparo, Beverly Obejas—an impoverished Filipina waitress—forsakes Manila and comes to Oakland as a mail-order bride in search of a better life. Yet even in the land of plenty, Beverly fails to find the happiness and prosperity she envisioned.
As Amparo works to build the immigrant’s dream, she becomes entangled in the chaos of Beverly’s immigrant nightmare. Their unexpected collision forces them both to make terrible choices and confront a life-changing secret, but through it all they hold fast to family, in all its enduring and surprising transformations.
I love novels that delve into other country's lifestyles and cultural ideals, it's a way to see the world on a tight budget. This novel is highly descriptive regarding the ideals, taboos, food and lifestyle of the Philippines. It does a fine job of showing the difference - for the characters - of where they have come from as opposed to where they are now, and what the struggles are to live in a strange new world so far away from what they know and love.
The novel has several characters in it that all weave in and out of each other's lives, all from the Manila area at one point in their lives, and all now living in the Bay Area of California for various reasons - most of them in an effort to escape something back home.
The timeline pops back and forth from present to the 1970's, in an effort to bring the history and secrets out. The book is chock full of adultery, immigration issues, abortion, abuse and the search for a better life. The characters are alive and hold on to a certain grace, regardless of their circumstances.
A good novel, keeps you engrossed the entire way through.