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It is November 25, 1960, and three beautiful sisters have been found near their wrecked Jeep at the bottom of a 150-foot cliff on the north coast of the Dominican Republic. The official state newspaper reports their deaths as accidental. It does not mention that a fourth sister lives. Nor does it explain that the sisters were among the leading opponents of Gen. Rafael Leonidas Trujillo’s dictatorship. It doesn’t have to. Everybody knows of Las Mariposas—“The Butterflies.”

In this extraordinary novel, the voices of all four sisters—Minerva, Patria, María Teresa, and the survivor, Dedé—speak across the decades to tell their own stories, from hair ribbons and secret crushes to gunrunning and prison torture, and to describe the everyday horrors of life under Trujillo’s rule. Through the art and magic of Julia Alvarez’s imagination, the martyred Butterflies live again in this novel of courage and love, and the human cost of political oppression. 

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    Hermanas Mirabal

    This story very near and dear to my heart. The story of 3 women in the Dominican Republic, sent to be murdered by tyrant Rafael Leonidas Trujillo, in a time of repression and revolution in my home country. These 3 brave women, with children, families and careers, followed their ideals to make their voice count. The day of their murder, November 25, has been proclaimed the International Day for the elimination of Violence towards women. Julia, being Dominican descent, does an amazing job at capturing the cultural references of the Dominican Republic in the 1960's. Even though you know their fate, you still feel hopeful and know that the butterflies are still alive in all our hearts.


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