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If I Bring You Roses Paperback – August 3, 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 351 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; Original edition (August 3, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446571539
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446571531
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,525,373 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"If I Bring You Roses is more than a love story powerfully and insightfully told. It is also a story about how class and ethnic discrimination impact relationships between men and women. The message is important; the writing is masterful...I highly recommend this book to readers interested in romance grounded in reality, in Latina culture, in civil and human rights for all people regardless of gender, race or ethnicity and to readers who are just interested in reading a really good, engrossing book."—Midwest Book Review

"A sensual and well-crafted story about courage and passion that brims with vivid descriptions and characters."—The Network Journal

"Marisel Vera is a gifted storyteller with an eye for the subtle motions of the human heart as it struggles with the disturbances of desire. This is a deeply felt and satisfying tale that brings attention to the courage required to sustain hope, love, and passion as a stranger in a new land. Vera understands her characters and brings them to us with lyric intensity, humor, and perfect pitch so that they live in us long after the last page is closed."—Award-winning author Jonis Agee

"If I Bring You Roses has everything you want in a novel-- flawed complicated characters, lush descriptions, breathtaking plot, and a fierce beating heart. With this brillant novel she at once excavates history, while weaving a story that is entirely new. With this amazing debut, Marisel Vera has burst onto the literary scene. I am eager to see what she writes next."—Tayari Jones, author of Silver Sparrow

About the Author

Marisel Vera lives near Chicago, Illinois with her husband and children. Two of her short stories won the Willow Review literary magazine's fiction prize in 2000 and 2003.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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See all 8 customer reviews
Beautiful story from a viewpoint that stays with reader long after finishing the book.
Claire Tighe
Felicidad and Aníbal are remarkable characters--sentient, profound, flawed, and completely sympathetic to the reader.
Lorrlo
She slaves in the panaderia and remains submissive, but she dreams of a prince who will love her and `rescue' her one day.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on August 2, 2011
Format: Paperback
Award-winning, first-time novelist Marisel Vera pens an honest, heart-felt, often sad tale of an idealistic, naïve Puerto Rican girl named Felicidad who goes to America to be with the man she loves.

The story, told from an author omniscient point of view, begins in the early 1940's in the Puerto Rican countryside and ends about ten years later in Chicago. It follows Felicidad's life from the time she's a young jíbara living in appalling poverty in the mountains to the time she gets married and moves to America.

Young Felicidad lives in a tiny shack with her parents and siblings. Her father works in the fields and can barely support them. At times, Felicidad must be happy with only one meal a day. Their living conditions are so deplorable, she must tie her locks in a bun so that flying roaches in the latrine will not make a nest in her hair. Her sister dies because they can't afford medical care. But worst of all, her mother is losing her mind. Unable to face the situation they're in, one day her mother climbs naked onto the roof. The priest, of course, says she's possessed by the devil.

Then Felicidad is sent to another town to live with her uncle and his wife, who own a panaderia. Though her uncle is kind and quiet most of the times, her aunt finds every opportunity to criticize Felicidad and treat her like a servant. Felicidad, naïve and good-natured, does her best to put up with her. She slaves in the panaderia and remains submissive, but she dreams of a prince who will love her and `rescue' her one day. Years pass and Felicidad doesn't hear a word from her family.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Erin on July 31, 2011
Format: Paperback
I wasn't sure what to expect when I started reading If I Bring You Roses. Having known Marisel Vera since I befriended her daughter about six or seven years ago, I knew that she loved Nabokov and Jane Austen. I also knew that family, her Puerto Rican heritage, and life in Chicago were (and are) very important to her. These qualities were evident in If I Bring You Roses. I never knew much about Puerto Rico but the book was so rich and resplendent with imagery and sensations from the land that I felt like I had been there myself. I could understand how much of a struggle it was for people like Felicidad, who were transplanted from P.R. to an unfamiliar place they knew only as "America," where everyone had steady jobs and plenty to eat. I often forgot who had written the book because I was so absorbed in Felicidad and Anibal's story. It has the draw and enjoyability of a romance novel and the curiosity and intelligence of historical fiction. I'll be recommending to everyone I know!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lorrlo on August 1, 2011
Format: Paperback
If I Bring You Roses is a stunning novel that transports the reader to another time and place in an unforgettable way. The author captures the tropical Puerto Rican campo as thoroughly and convincingly as she portrays wintery Chicago of the mid-1900s. Felicidad and Aníbal are remarkable characters--sentient, profound, flawed, and completely sympathetic to the reader. Beyond this, the novel provides a compellingly humanistic depiction of the immigrant experience in such a way that this illuminates the particular mid-century cultural moment, making it knowable, even relatable to the contemporary reader.

I picked up this novel planning to read only the opening pages. Hours later I was still deep in this fictional world and reluctant to surface from it. This is an irresistible read, one of the best books I have read in a long time. I will definitely be on the alert for more work from this impressive author.
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You will love the story of Felicidad and Anibal, because it is seductive without being overwrought, beautifully told without its author, Marisel Vera trying too hard to write beautifully and a page-turning love story about aspiration, the cruel realities of an immigrant's life but mostly about the betrayal of love and, if possible, any redemption from the failings of the human heart. I needed a love story to help me soften the hard edges of my spirit and in this book, I found compassion, fury, the language of Puerto Ricans in my ears that sounded so much like the Bronx that I felt transported into the world of those streets screaming, "Maricon!" or "Cono!" Like every woman, I have felt unwanted at some point. I have also felt overworked like Felicidad, and I have yearned innocently for a love that would help me recover from the breathless sea of that wanting, so reading this book reminded me again that it is possible, even after so much disappointment in love, to forgive and to move on and to deepen or expand that love. But it helped me, too, feel tenderness for the Felicidad I know still lives in me - a beautiful, wide-eyed but determined girlish soul who will not let life break her.
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More About the Author

Marisel Vera grew up in the barrio in Chicago's Humboldt Park neighborhood, where she was raised by Puerto Rican emigrant parents. One of six children, she was the first in her family to earn a college degree: a BA in Journalism from Northern Illinois University. She worked in public relations, writing and editing employee newspapers, newsletters, news releases and handling media relations. She studied writing with Paulette Roeske, Margaret Gibson, Jonis Agee, Rosellen Brown, and Cristina Garcia.

In February 2011, Vera's current project, a coming-of-age novel, THE LIBERATION OF CARMELA LOPEZ, was adapted into play form and directed by her daughter, Alyssa Vera Ramos. It premiered at Northwestern University's Musseter-Struble Theatre and enjoyed overwhelmingly positive response.

Vera won the Willow Review literary magazine's fiction prize for two of her short stories in 2000 and 2003. She wrote her novel, IF I BRING YOU ROSES, to discover her Puerto Rican heritage. She lives in suburban Chicago with her husband and two children.

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If I Bring You Roses
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