Dominicana is a story of finding growth, opportunity, and autonomy in a life you never asked for. Ana Cancion grows up surrounded by people she loves in the Dominican countryside with no desire to leave, but when a prominent local businessman twice her age wants to marry her and take her to New York, she doesn’t have much of a choice. As the first in her family to move to America, it’s on her to send money back to her parents and work to bring them over. But life in New York is tough, and the constant strain of the lonely days in their dingy apartment and the long miserable nights when her husband comes home almost drive her to the breaking point. But when he is called away back home, her days suddenly open up with possibility and she discovers the freedom and personhood to start to create her own life.
I tore through this book in about two days – the characters are so vibrant and realized that I totally understood everyone’s hopes, fears, and motivations, and it added tons of colour to the story. It was a pleasure to see Ana find her own strength and take control over her little world (plus the romance was pretty hot – always a bonus in my book). Angie Cruz does a great job of putting the reader fully in Ana’s world, so her confusions and missteps and triumphs are yours, too. I also appreciated that as she comes of age and overcomes her struggles in New York, her newfound sense of self also helps Ana to reevaluate her relationship with her mother – strained since childhood – with nuance and maturity.
Loved this book! A good distraction for quarantimes.