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Vigil: A Novel (Wsp Readers Club) Paperback – July 21, 2009


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Product Details

  • Series: Wsp Readers Club
  • Paperback: 404 pages
  • Publisher: Washington Square Press; Original edition (July 21, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416549528
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416549529
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,855,280 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Samartin's disappointing latest (after Tarnished Beauty) queasily alternates between past and present, as Ana, tending to her dying lover, reflects on the events that have brought her to this point. Samartin is at her best dealing with Ana's harsh childhood in war-torn El Salvador. But the story loses strength after a sympathetic nun arranges for Ana's entry to the U.S. Once in California, Ana attends school and, upon graduation, enters a convent. But before taking her vows, she works as a nanny for the wealthy Trellis family, and the temporary job becomes permanent as Ana becomes increasingly involved in the Trellis family. However, the characters are so thin that it's difficult to care about Ana or the Trellises, and the domestic dramas and descriptions of Ana's household duties that make up the bulk of the book are less than exciting, while the plot twist at the end is predictable and hokey. Samartin's writing, while sometimes fine, is often clotted with clumsy metaphors (a piano reminds Ana of an eagle on the wing soaring through the sky). The novel's derivative premise is its most distinguishing feature. (July)
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Review

"Vigil is a moving novel about the resilience of the human spirit and the triumphant power of love and forgiveness. Ana's story takes the reader into grim poverty and war in gripping reality, yet Samartin simultaneously manages to illuminate the beauty of family and connection, and the driving light that propels Ana into adulthood. Beautifully told, Vigil is a book for my keeper shelf." -- Karen White, author of The Lost Hours and The Memory of Water

"Written with evocative grace and poetic beauty, Ana's story captured my heart on the first page and did not let go until long after the last heart-mending words. A story of losing one's homeland and beginning again, Samartin's storytelling is infused with tender insight into the wounded places of the human soul." -- Patti Callahan Henry, National Bestselling author of Between the Tides

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By BrianB VINE VOICE on October 25, 2009
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is a story that kept me reading, a cast of characters that made me care, and a plot line that was engrossing. Some of the characters were too good to be believed, and some were too bad, but I could overlook the flaws for the story, which had a good heart. I read it quickly and easily, over the course of several days. The main character, Ana, lets you into her inner thoughts, from her childhood traumas in El Salvador, to her adult struggles in California. You can't help but end up rooting for her.

Some of the description seems straight out of a Harlequin romance, (Mr. Trellis was very tall, with chestnut hair, extremely handsome but troubled). Nevertheless, this is a good read overall, and I recommend it to those looking for a good, uncomplicated story that will entertain you for a while
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By tmtrvlr on October 31, 2009
Format: Paperback
Vigil is an interesting and beautifully written novel. Although you may think this would be a disheartening story, it was not. Yes, there is sadness, but is also a story about happiness, friendship, and family. Each character is carefully developed with Ana as the one moral constant in the family. Eventually she is influenced by the immorality of the family members and conflict occurs.

The story was captivating as Ana reflects back on her life starting as a child in El Salvador hiding from soldiers. As she tends to her dying love, she reflects on her memories of her mother and childhood friends to her life as a postulant. I enjoyed Vigil for its rich descriptions and interesting characters. It was a romantic novel without being a typical "Romance" novel.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
As I read "Vigil," I had two nagging thoughts in the back of my mind; 1) "The Sound of Music"? and 2) the perfect characters. Novelist Cecilia Samartin builds her characters up from the most earnest archetypes, or naive stereotypes depending on your take. Their joys and struggles can't be mistaken for curveballs and their traits can be telegraphed without a wire. Then again, when you settle down to read a "heart-wrenching story of sacrifice and devotion," you are probably not concerned with innovation.

Young orphaned Ana, with the help of missionary Sister Josepha, manages to escape war-torn El Salvador and end up in an American convent. She is ready to take her vows to become a nun when she is abruptly appointed a nanny position for an affluent family. Ana conveniently becomes "Nana" in the Trellis household and does her best to fit into her new job with this strangely disconnected family. While taking care of one child with another one on the way, Ana can't understand this rich family's dysfunction but becomes close to them all the same. Feelings grow, warts emerge, and lots of other things happen that would probably be identified as a `spoiler' in a review.

But as I stated earlier, these characters are perfect. Adam Trellis, the father, is the perfect balance of stern paternity and warmth. Mother Lillian Trellis is perfectly materialistic but contains a healthy pinch of regret to even her out. Darwin Trellis and Benson are perfectly avuncular (childless, yet nurturing). As for the two children, Teddy is the typically confident boy while his little sister Jessie lacks self-esteem yet appears to be more perceptive than her big brother. Sister Josepha is the perfectly understanding mother figure to Ana. And Ana herself is perfectly perfect.
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Format: Paperback
I have to admit that this novel took awhile to grow on me. But it did. What began as a slow start for me quickly evolved into a somewhat obsessive attempt to read more!

And although the story did not grab me immediatley, Cecilia Samartin's writing certainly did. There is a certain poetic grace to her style that I found enchanting. The story reads easily and beautifully, slowly drawing the reader in and holding on tight!

I found Ana's story just captivating. The novel begins with the death of her lover and then flashes back to the events leading up to that moment. Her life takes many twists and turns, from her life in El Salavador to a convent in America. She eventually finds herself a nanny for a very dysfunctional and wealthy family. I wondered if Ana would be able to teach them her own life lessons or if they would drag her into their own lives of wealth and dysfunction. These relationships are what really brought the story home for me.

I am so happy that I stuck with this book, because it was definitely worth the time.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
After losing her family members in a brutal massacre in an El Salvador village, Ana is sent to live in an orphanage run by nuns and priests. Forging a connection with one of the nuns, Sister Josepha, she decides that her future lies in returning to the U.S. and becoming a nun herself. When local guards attack the orphanage, Ana escapes with Sister Josepha and the two enter the United States.

Following the path she established for herself, Ana graduates from high school and prepares for her role as a novitiate. Before taking her temporary vows, she is offered an opportunity to work as a nanny for a rich family, which she accepts. But life with the Trellis family affects Ana in ways she never expected...

"Vigil" was a pleasure to read and reminiscent of The Sound of Music. Samartin expertly weaves the past with the present, and Ana, who narrates the past, is surprisingly unbiased in describing her own life. "Vigil" is a story of survival, forgiveness, family and love, and one of my favorite books this year.
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